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President of Canadian ski patrol Newfoundland and Labrador Zone visits Smokey Mountain

Jonathon Rivière, Jim Dobbin and Matt Garvin prepare for on snow training
Jonathon Rivière, Jim Dobbin and Matt Garvin prepare for on snow training - Photo by Mike Power

LAB WEST - All the ski hills in Newfoundland and Labrador are now part of the Newfoundland and Labrador zone of the Canadian ski Patrol. In previous years Smokey Mountain was part of the Atlantic zone, but the realignment took place this year.

NL zone President Matthew Garvin recently spent a weekend at Smokey Mountain. “It’s great to visit Smokey and meet with the patrollers, to meet with the operators, and to get a clear picture of the operation”, Garvin told the Aurora. “Every hill is different, so here for example we may have to assess where rescue toboggans are best placed”, he explained.

Garvin’s visit was sponsored by Smokey Mountain ski club. Club President, Toby Leon. Leon told the Aurora

“ it’s beneficial to the club to have a strong relationship with the Ski Patrol, we have to know each other’s needs and work with each other “ . Discussion with Garvin included talks of a MOU, between Smokey and the ski Patrol.

Jim Dobbin of Labrador City is Patrol leader for the ski patrol in Labrador West. He too was pleased to see Garvin visit and meet with patrollers. Dobbin told the Aurora “  Garvin was quick to point out to me that Smokey management and the local ski patrol showed great support for each other “ , as well Dobbin explained that Garvin’s visit will allow him to see how serious the local patrol is about training , and how strong the local patrols commitment is to the CSP NL zone.

Speaking of training, part of Garvin’s visit included some of that. Ten of the Patrollers completed on snow training and were certified. Some for the first time and others as part of the ongoing training requirements. Patrollers must pass a first aid course, which has very high standards, then they must pass an on snow test to perform things like sled rescue.

Garvin told the Aurora, “There is a national standard that all patrollers, regardless of the size of the hill, must meet”. Ten of the patrollers at Smokey received their on snow certification during Garvin’s visit. They are: Jonathan Rivière, Stefan Angelate, Jim Dobbin, Bev Flynn, Trudy Andrews, Rob Parrill, Jean-Nicholas Dorat, Joanie Leblanc Thibodeau, Brian Bagnell and Genevieve La Voie.

During his weekend Garvin also met with the family of Nelson Valcourt, who passed away last year. Valcourt was an avid patroller and his family asked for donations in lieu of flowers to go to the ski patrol. The money raised went to buying new jackets for the local patrol. Garvin presented the family members with a plaque of appreciation for their kind gesture.

Patrollers are volunteers and anyone interested can get details of becoming a patroller by contacting any member of the ski patrol or by dropping by the hut at Smokey Mountain.

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