The bright red jackets of the ski patrol at Bear Creek, bringing together the men, women, students, retirees, business owners, professionals and other volunteers interested in ski safety on the Macungie mountain in Pennsylvania.
Only 15 of the 135 patrollers at Bear Creek are paid, meaning close to 90 percent are volunteers who enjoy the chance to ski while helping others by typically working one, four-hour weeknight shift and a seven-hour shift every other weekend.
Patrollers are responsible for ensuring skiers and snowboarders are not recklessly skiing or riding and endangering others. Should an accident occur, they are the first to respond and take preliminary medical measures before transporting the patient down the hill for further medical help, often using a toboggan.
Sanctioned by the National Ski Patrol, patrollers must pass a written test and outdoor emergency care program, where they demonstrate sufficient skills in real-life scenarios. It adds up to more than 120 hours of training, plus refreshers on the subject each fall.
From cuts and bruises to broken bones and spinal injuries, patrollers deal with it all. The resort will typically experience about 10 injuries per day.