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January 2015

Letter to the Editor

NSP Responds to "Rescue Me."
Written by Scott Marland | 0 comment
> Rescue Me: Part I
> Rescue Me: Part II

I would like to thank Skip King for his in-depth two-part article on the National Ski Patrol. His profile outlined some of the challenges our organization has gone through as it has evolved in response to trends in the ski industry. While NSP is not perfect, I believe that we are effectively meeting these challenges and becoming a stronger organization.

As a six-year member of the board of directors, including one as chair, I can say with confidence that NSP is headed in the right direction, and that its relationships with its industry partners are stronger than ever.

In the past year, the board has united to address and solve previous legacy issues so that it can move forward with a long-term strategic plan. King urged NSP to look outside the organization for solutions; we had already begun to do so, as the hiring of John McMahon in 2013 attests. Several individuals from outside the industry who have experience in strategic planning have been invited to the board’s January 2015 meeting to help us learn how to develop strategies for long-term success.

The board itself has been proactive in working to solve long-term issues by looking at new strategies for governance and ways to improve the organization. King's article states that "NSP would be wise to slate board candidates who are skilled in addressing specific organizational needs, rather than who possess the most impressive ski patrolling bona fides." In fact, that is exactly what NSP's Nominations Committee does each year by developing, at the board's direction, a "List of Needs," which outlines skills and credentials that the board believes candidates should have to best serve the organization.

As a member of the Nominations Committee, I have worked with people that have extensive experience in finance, accounting, law, engineering, project management, education, nonprofit management, and law enforcement. That diversity reflects an incredible talent pool that NSP can draw from to fill key leadership positions.

NSP also recognizes that the industry is constantly evolving. More and more resorts are becoming four season destinations, and NSP has responded to these changes. Many patrollers have offered their services to resorts on resort bike patrols, or assist at water recreation events. Others provide medical support at summer events such as marathons and adventure races.

Further, NSP continues to develop its education efforts to match the industry’s needs. One example: NSP is launching a revised Mountain Host Program, which includes a new Outdoor First Care component. This program came about because resorts realized that having more people on the hill in a guest services capacity, who can also provide basic first aid if needed until a patroller gets there, betters guest relations. The four Colorado-based Vail resorts have recently moved to adopt this program.

I agree that, as Mr. King wrote, change is complicated, and never simple. But I also believe that NSP is doing the right things to ensure that Minnie's "beautiful idea," a vision that has attracted people for 75 years because of his entrepreneurial spirit, will still be successful long after I've left patrolling.

--Scott Marland
National Ski Patrol Board Member