GAMBIER — While former Vermont skiing and snowboarding club instructor Charles Marsden of Gambier recently received his emergency ski patrol certification, the location as to where he will be on ski patrol may be a bit surprising to some.
“I will begin doing that here in Ohio,” said Marsden, who spent 23 years instructing middle- and high school students who belonged to a ski and snowboard club in a Bennington, Vermont.
Those who become emergency ski patrol certified attach themselves to a skiing mountain, or area, where they commit themselves to volunteer in helping save the lives of those injured when they are called upon. Marsden became certified by passing a three-month class held every Tuesday at Snow Trails in Mansfield. The exams were both written and practical, with the practical involved in assessing “injured actors” and attending to their medical needs.
Marsden has committed himself this winter to emergency ski patrol duty at Snow Trails, offering that he would be equally adept at aiding fallen skiers and snowboarders using either of those two modes to slide down the slopes on a rescue mission if called upon. His schedule involves one day of weekly duty and every other Wednesday. During the week, he teaches health and physical education at Marburn Academy in New Albany. He takes youths on experiential learning and recreating trips through a Voyager Program three times a year.
Marsden, 48, was asked how good one must be at skiing and/or snowboarding to be emergency ski patrol-certified.
“Ski patrol requires us to perform at a certain high level just to be on the team, so to speak,” said Marsden, whose wife, Janet, is vice president of communication at Kenyon College. Some of the mountains ski patrol members have to traverse are ones with steep elevations.
Additionally, ski patrol members must be skilled in emergency medical response training. Required training and certification falls between emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and emergency responders. Ski patrol members, who wear jackets with a white cross symbol, carry backpacks with medical supplies while out on patrol. Some of the medical supplies include soft splints and masks to help those with breathing difficulty. Although ski patrol members don’t carry medicine for, as one example, an asthma attack, they would be able to help someone with an EpiPen administer treatment.
Marsden was recently named to the Village of Gambier’s Planning and Zoning Commission by village councilmembers. He gave them a brief description of his emergency ski patrol certification and received their congratulations. He offered that one of the best things about being emergency ski patrol-certified is that the first responder knowledge and skills its members learn are techniques that can be used to assist others year-round during an emergency situation.