Ski Patrols and other alpine rescue organisations are able to share their experiences and knowledge through FIPS. Since the formation in 1979, new members have progressively joined. The most recent national country members are Finland and Russia.
You can click on the logo to go to the patrol website.
FIPS’ Current members
Australia. The Australian Ski Patrol Association (ASPA) is the Australian ski safety body made up of some 14 Ski Patrols representing a total membership of 550 patrollers. Member patrols are situated at all major resorts within the three States having alpine areas, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
Ski patrolling had developed and been in existence for over 20 years when the ASPA was formed in 1972 to co-ordinate rescue activities. The inaugural President, George Freuden helped to develop ASPA as a federal forum for sharing information and setting the standards for first aid theory and practice and acceptable practical procedures.
Patrols are made up of full-time and volunteer patrollers and include both alpine and cross country disciplines. They are led by patrol captains and managed on a regional basis under the control of either private resort area management.
ASPA’s funding sources are patrol subscriptions, Commonwealth Government grants and commercial sponsorship. ASPA was a founding inaugural member of FIPS.
Canada. The Canadian Ski Patrol-CSP strives to be the premier safety and first aid organization serving outdoor sports and recreation in Canada. The CSP promotes safety and injury prevention and provides the highest possible standards of education, certification and delivery in first aid and rescue services to the snow industry. It was registered in Canada as a charity founded in 1941 by Doctor Douglas Firth. It has more than 5000 volunteer members currently servicing over 220 ski areas across Canada. The Blue leaf and yellow cross logo is recognized coast-to-coast as a symbol of ski and snowboard safety, as well as professional-grade first aid services.
Operationally it is organized along geographic lines into 9 Divisions comprised of 65 localized Zones and managed by a seven member Board of Directors as elected by the Zones Presidents annually. Operational support is provided by a National Office staff of three and a volunteer management team; who produce, update and maintain all training manuals, materials and collateral teaching aids.
CSP certifies instructors and conducts first aid and safety training courses for all members, including recertification of all members on an annual basis. It is Federally accredited to provide first aid training across all of Canada and is self-funded through membership fees paid by individual members, local fundraising efforts and donations. Canada was a founding inaugural member of FIPS.
Chile. Chile Ski Patrol is an organization of over 140 volunteers active throughout Chile. They are tasked to assist the skiing, boarding and mountain climbing public, and make safer the mountains and mountain recreation.
Once you join a ski patrol, the initial training takes more than two months including a first aid course with the Chilean Red Cross, complemented by a set of theoretical and practical workshops on topics such as emergency procedures, rescue, transport, handling of sleds, radio and skiing.
Ski Patrol is present in 10 ski resort areas across Chile, and is always working to promote safety and the prevention of accidents.
At the same time each year, each member regardless of age, must attend a pre-season grading to refresh their skills and begin a new year of service with the latest rescue procedures.
Finland. Finland has recently joined FIPS. It has 38 ski resorts and if you intend to ski or snowboard off piste in Finland, you must check conditions locally before doing so. Always check the Avalanche Risk Level and carry appropriate avalanche safety equipment at all times.
Skiing in Finland is predominantly in Lapland, the area situated directly above the Arctic Circle. If you want to ski in breathtaking, peaceful scenery surrounded by ice-sculpted forests and frozen lakes, coupled with uncrowded pistes and resorts, Finland offers you a very refreshing alternative.
The Finnish Ski Area Association (SHKY) is the umbrella organization of Finnish ski resorts with the following main tasks:
- furthering the interests of ski resort industry
- training its members – research activities
- industry’s public relations and joint marketing
- consumer guidance on lift and slope security
France. With 1,700 members, Association nationale des pisteurs secouristes-ANPS represents 90 % of the French ski patrollers (all professionals).
Being recognized for the training of first degree patrollers and a continuous relation with pUblic authorities are guarantees of a high professional level. Second and third degree patrollers are trained at the Ecole Nationale de Ski et d’Alpinisme in Chamonix, another sign of high quality.
The ANPS national representation stems from excellent relations with area management and other professional partners with whom it actively participates in negotiations over the evolution of rescue and first aid and of the profession.
As an official partner of the Olympic Games Organizing Committee, ANPS shows its constant desire to represent its members and to promote the French savoir faire in ski safety which is constantly improving in search of the highest quality.
Great Britain. The British Association of Ski Patrollers (BASP) was founded in the winter of 1987 to standardise training for Ski Patrollers who provide rescue and first aid services in British Ski areas. We have over 150 members of which over 20% are fully qualified as National Patrollers, and 42 are either Probationary or Trainee Patrollers, we also have 74 Associate members who support and are interested in the work which we do. Many of our Ski Patrollers are trained to EMT standard which includes the use of airway adjuncts and AEDs.
BASP also runs First Aid Training as the business side of the Association which in turn provides valuable work and income for Ski Patrollers out of the ski season. We have 28 trainers involved with this work, mainly on a part time basis. We train Ski Patrollers and Mountain Rescue team members up to Emergency Medical Technician standard – which are the skills necessary for this kind of work in the Scottish Mountains and the rest of the UK. Many outdoor users participate in the First Aid training we provide. The BASP First Aid Training courses and certificates have now become the Gold Standard of Outdoor First Aid qualifications and are recognised by all the National Sporting Bodies in the UK and are becoming more Internationally known.
Italy. The Federazione Italiana Sicurezza Piste Sci (FISPS) (Italian Ski Safety Federation) was formed in 1984. The idea of the founders – the representatives of local organizations of the time – was to be a federal agency that would serve the national function to promote the interests and demands of local organizations working in the field of safety and rescue on the ski slopes, especially for the purpose of recognition of voluntary activities.
In addition to serving as a reference point for the individual member organisations, the idea of founding the Federation was to have a center of training and operational organization of staff of the individual member associations. So it was that a Technical Federal Committee (« School ») was established in order to standardise the procedures and criteria for intervention for all volunteers working in the field of safety and rescue on the ski slopes. The Federation now consists of 10 local branches with a total of 700 volunteers (some are still in transition from the old local associations).
GISP (Gruppo Italiano Ski Patrollers) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 from a group of ski patrollers with national and international experience from 1974. The aim of GISP is to implement in Italian ski patroller teams and ski area management high quality levels for accident prevention and first aid as per international standards. GISP’s trained ski patrollers work as professionals or volunteers in Italian Alps and Apennines. Thanks to the collaboration with UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) Montenegro, the GISP’s organization and FIPS (Fédération Internationale des Patrouilles de Ski) standard were implemented in the formation program of Montenegro’s ski patrollers/mountain rescuers.
GISP Members are in contacts with FIPS from 1984 and often Ski patrollers from other FIPS Organizations were invited to GISP’s training activities.
Japan. The Ski Association of Japan (SAJ), Vice President: Satoshi Takahashi who is charge of Ski Patrols. SAJ has a number of affiliated members: 44 Prefectural Ski Associations, the Inter College Ski Association of Japan, the
Inter High School Ski Association of Japan, and the International Federation of Ski Patrols (FIPS).
The National Ski Association of Japan (SAJ) was founded in 1925.
1904 – Jisaburo Nomura (Aomori Prefecture) obtained two pairs of skies from Norway, and tried them.
1908 – ‘Hans Koller (Switzerland) was appointed to the preparatory course of the Hokkaido University and he brought with him a set of skis with two ski sticks. Using this pair of skis, a sample ski was made in Japan for the first time.
1925 – National Ski Association of Japan (SAJ) was established and the SAJ joined the Japan Athletic Association.
1926 – S.A.J. joined the Federation of International Skiing (F.I.S.).
1958 – The Department of Ski Patrol was established in SAJ.
1979 – The S.A.J. Ski patrol Department joined the International Federation of Ski Patrols (FIPS).
Japan was a founding inaugural member of FIPS.
New Zealand. In New Zealand, the association with FIPS has proved of great value in establishing training manuals and resource materials gathered internationally. The establishment of standards on an international basis has improved the management and performance of patrolling in New Zealand and earned it acceptance and respect.
The Tai Poutini Ski patrol seven month training programme has been running in New Zealand for the last 18 years. and supplies the New Zealand ski patrol industry with valued first year ski patrollers. Graduates also gain work overseas. Canada being the main country as it’s language and avalanche safety training pathway is the most closely aligned
The programme enjoys a close relationship with industry and employs current and senior patrollers to assist the main tutors. It is based in Wanaka and apart from the month long work placement period runs at Treble Cone ski area. Training and assessment focuses on all aspects of modern ski patrolling which include advanced first aid, avalanche safety management, rescue systems, hazard identification and management, snow blasting, skiing and snowboarding skills, rescue toboggans, ice axe and crampon skills and meteorology. The following certificates of completion can also be gained: Pre hospital Emergency Care (PHEC), NZMSC Avalanche hazard management Stage 1, Test Certificate as an Approved Handler for Snow Blasting (trainee status). New Zealand was a founding inaugural member of FIPS.
Norway. The Alpine Association (ALF) was created by a merger between the Norwegian Fjords Association and the Alpine Association, (a former Norwegian Ski Lifts Association). The ALF is the trade association for the ski industry in Norway, and for the individual resorts.
One of the key responsibilities for the ALF is the safety in everything to do with skiing; including alpine skiing, snowboarding or telemark skiing. It also has responsibility for safe transportation with surface lifts and chair lifts.
The association has a joint secretariat with the Norwegian Fjords Association to coordinate the marketing for winter destinations with a ski profile. The ALF is the center for winter tourism in the mountain regions of Norway. The ALF coordinates Ski Patrols in Norway.
Sweden. Swedish Lift Area’s Organization (SLAO) has from the beginning in 1978 arranged a three day program of specailsit education in First Aid in the Skis lope for all lift-employees. This course includes training in the alignment of angulated fractures and other difficult ski injuries.
Since 1980 SLAO has also arranged a longer course of two weeks duration to become a Ski Patroller. Up to now we have educated approximately 400 patrollers. The Ski-Patrollers are now organized, in cooperation with SLAO, into the Swedish Ski Patrollers Association.
The SLAO has also, in cooperation with medical and technical authorities, developed various rescue materials and techniiques, such as splints and toboggans. Together with the Folksam Insurance Groupe, SLAO has also assigned a special insurance for alpine skiers. The benefit from it is returned to nationwide ski-safety program.
United States of America. The National Ski Patrol (NSP) is the patrol governing body for the United States and some portions of Canada and Europe. The organisation was founded in 1938.
One of the few federally chartered not-for-profit organizations in the U.S., the NSP has since become the world’s largest winter rescue organisation. The NSP’s 26,500 paid and volunteer members serve on over 600 patrols.
The NSP is composed of 10 geographic divisions plus a single division for all paid patrollers. Members are recognised on the slopes by the red jackets they wear marked by a white cross on the chest and a larger one on the back, or by the older style of blue and rust coloured parkas with yellow crosses.
National Ski Patrol has an on-going education system which includes Outdoor Emergency Care refreshers, Ski Lift evacuations and OEC classes, and has grown into an authority on outdoor emergency care.
NSP was a founding member of FIPS, although ceased to be a member for some years until it rejoined in 2007.
Switzerland. The easiest way to become a ski patroller in Switzerland is by participating at one of the ski patrol courses provided by Seilbahnen Schweiz (SBS).
There are four different courses offered, which all build upon each others.
A junior patroller start off with the A-course ,which is emphasising on first aid, snow and equipment knowledge, use of rescue toboggans, helicopter rescue, radio communication, map reading, and the Swiss regulations for snow sport operations.
The next year, one can do the B-course, an avalanche phenomena / avalanche rescue course.
The third course offered is a snowblasting course, where you become an approved handler of hand charges. Later one can extend the approved handler certificate by doing courses for other methods of snow blasting.
After minimum four seasons as a ski patroller one can do the C-course, which is required in order to become a ski patrol director.
This course involves:
- Statistics (history)
- Safe and efficient avalanche control
- Snow and avalanche research
- Avalanche rescue
- Snow blastingOr
- Ski patrolling in general
- Mountain and glacier rescue
- Survival test
- Economics for a ski patrol operation
- Human resource management
- Sucessful leadership of a ski patrol team
- Regulations and responsibilities as a ski patrol director.
This post is also available in: Anglais