What it Takes


So? What does it take to become a Ski Patroller?

Check out what the National Ski Patrol has to say about becoming a patroller. Click Here!

Click here to download an application to become a Patroller

Please mail your applications to

Mount Kato
Attn: Ski Patrol
20461 Hwy. 66
Mankato, MN 56001

Some Common Questions Answered...

Thanks for your interest. We are always looking for new patrollers. The following is a list of common questions asked about becoming a member of the National Ski Patrol.

Is the OEC (Outdoor Emergency Care) class free for individuals that will be working at Mount Kato or is it out of their own pocket?

Our patrol is 100% volunteer. There are a few paid patrollers which Mount Kato hires as they need them, usually a couple each year. The OEC course itself is paid out of the candidates pocket.

What is the cost to take the course?

The course has a few fees and then there are also some fees for becoming a patroller. There is a course registration fee, which gets you into the course, that is about $60. The next is the book fee, at present the book runs about $75. After that is all said and done there are the National Ski Patrol dues of about $70 and that cost is paid annually. However, if you work our ski swap that cost is paid for the candidate/patroller after a set number of hours have been worked. It works out to your benefit, trust me on that one. If/when you pass the OEC course, you will need to purchase a patrol coat, which is around $200.

Is there a limit as to how many people you take on your “force” of ski patrollers?

I guess you could call us a "force". We are all volunteers so most of us prefer to call it.... well I'm not sure what you could call us except... dedicated to safety and the well being of the customer of Mount Kato. At present we have about 18 patrollers on our staff. The candidate class we have this year is yet to be determined. We encourage all who are willing to help out to take the classes and we will work with those people to make sure the skiing skills and medical skills are proficient. We do prefer the candidates to be of at least an intermediate level of skiing or snowboarding ability. At the time we are accepting all applications to become patrollers. If the on-hill skills of a candidate are not proficient enough to pass the on-hill skiing/snowboarding and transportation portion of the course the the candidate would be eligible as an Auxilliary Patroller, meaning that the patroller is only allowed to treat people in the aid room or on the hill, but is not allowed to transport a patient to the aid room. The medical skills portion of becoming a ski patroller is very similar to that of the First Responder, but a more directed to the extreme outdoor elements. We have many patrollers who are also EMT's. They have found it very educational to take our course in Outdoor Emergency Care as it relates better to more trauma based emergencies. Those some individuals have also commented that the testing they went through to become a patroller was very similar and at times harder that the national board exam for becoming an EMT-B. But, we have never had a candidate who has attended all of the class sessions and done all of the required reading and homework who has not passed our testing with flying colors.

If one does get accepted to "work" at Mount Kato as Ski Patrol is there set shifts that a person has to work or is it a fairly flexible schedule to work around your own individual schedule?

In order to become a patroller at Mount Kato you must first fill out an application, very easy and not too uncommon, and pass a background check. After that the candidate will need to take the Outdoor Emergency Care course and pass the required exams, there is a written and practical exam at the end of the class period time. Upon passing the testing the candidate will schedule them selves for shifts throughout the ski season. the Mount Kato Ski Patrol requires a minimum of 22.5 hours per month of volunteer service. The 22.5 hours must be fulfilled in scheduled shifts. The candidate is also allowed to visit Mount Kato at any other time to ski or snowboard (as long as Mount Kato is open, of course). The only requirement is that the candidate sign-in to the office and carry a radio while skiing. All patrollers (candidates and regular) are given two options of benefit for the season, they may choose between a family pass or an individual pass, which includes one comp pass for each scheduled shift. The comp passes are to be used by anyone who is joining you any time you are patrolling. The family pass is only valid as the patroller is at the hill as well. The schedule itself is pretty flexible. There are set shifts each evening and weekend, some weekday-day shifts are allowed with permission from management. The shifts are as follows:

Monday: 5:30-9:00
Tuesday: 5:30-9:00
Thursday: 5:30-9:00
Friday: 5:30-10:00
Saturday:9:30-5:00 & 4:00-10:00
Sunday: 9:30-5:00 & 4:00-9:00

OEC class duration?

The Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) course consists of about 10 weeks of classes. The classes meet 2 nights a week for about 2 hours. During that time the entire text of the OEC manual is reviewed and studied. Also, hands-on practice of splinting, backboarding, and other critical skills are practiced in various scenarios. The classes start in late September and are usually held on Monday and Thursday evenings from 7-9. The testing day is usually reserved for the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Please watch our calendar on our website for exact dates, times, and topics.

On-hill class duration?

The Outdoor Emergency Transportation (OET) courses are held at Mount Kato usually starting in early January. These classes are about 2-3 hours long, and are held weekly for roughly 6-7 weeks or until the instructors feel that all topics and skill are adequate enough to safely test a candidate. Special sessions have been explored for those candidates who are not able to attend the weekend sessions. These classes are always finished prior to the end of the ski season and ensure that the passing candidate receives the title of Alpine Patroller for the next ski season. Please watch our calendar on our website for exact dates, times, and topics. Successful candidates are able to traverse the ski hill with a toboggan and a minimum of 200 pound patient.

Preferred sequence?

Some patrollers in the past have decided to take the OET portion first and then the OEC portion the following fall. This is allowed, if the candidate decided to take the courses in this order the free skiing/snowboarding is not offered. The reason being, the candidate can not perform any emergency care for patients and is not covered by any liability policies in place.

Some Specifics

To become a patroller there is an initial application process, including a criminal background check.

The first half is the medical portion of becoming a patroller, an 80+ hour course in Outdoor Emergency Care. The course covers many things, including treatment of shock, bleeding control, Professional CPR and AED administration, management of broken bones, management of head and spinal cord injuries, and much more. Click the "Calendar" link above and navigate to the months of September, October, and November to see a complete outline of the courses.

The second half is an on-the-hill skills assessment. The instructors in this portion of the course look at the candidates overall skiing/snowboarding proficiency. You do not need to be an expert! It helps, but it's not mandatory. You do need to feel comfortable on a pair of skis and able to traverse difficult terrain while wearing a backpack or while handling a toboggan with a patient. All of these skills are taught through many weeks of on-the-hill, hands-on training.

Feel free to stop out at Mount Kato at any time they are open and speak to any one of the patrollers on duty. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have.


2023 Ski Swap dates are set:

October 6th & 7th
Friday, October 6, 8:00AM – 8:00PM

Saturday, October 7, 8:00AM - 4:00PM
All times subject to change.

Sell your items at our swap: 



Equipment Check-In Hours

Thursday, October 5, 12:00PM (noon) – 8:00PM
Friday, October 6, 8:00AM – 8:00PM'ish

Equipment Check-Out Hours

The preferred times are as follows:
Saturday, October 7, 1:00PM – 5:00PM
Monday, October 9, 5:00PM – 8:00PM


Interested in Becoming a Patroller?

See "What it Takes" or check out what the National Ski Patrol has to say about becoming a patroller.

Click here to download an application to become a Patroller

Please mail your applications to Mount Kato Ski Patrol • 20461 Hwy 66 • Mankato, MN 56001