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New National Ski Patrol Exhibit Open
Thursday, 09 July 2015 06:11

National Ski Patrol: Safety and Service, 1938-1988


event poster for Trail Sweep-page-001The Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum Celebrates the History of the National Ski Patrol!

The National Ski Patrol is the world’s largest non-urban rescue organization.Founded in 1938, the National Ski Patrol’s motto, “Service and Safety” describes the mission of its 26,000 dedicated members, over 90% of which are volunteers. Providing alpine and Nordic mountain rescue for over 75 years, the NSP does not charge for its services. Beyond mountain rescue, the NSP also provides training in avalanche awareness, mountain travel, and emergency care. Its award winning Outdoor Emergency Care text and training program is sets the industry standard for non-urban rescue and emergency care.

The NSP has ten divisions, covering the US, portions of Asia and Europe.The NSP structure has also been modeled in other countries, including Canada and Australia.  Beyond its impact on snow safety, the NSP has the distinction of being the only civilian organization to be responsible for recruiting for the US armed forces. The NSP’s founder Charles Minot “Minnie” Dole was instrumental in convincing the US military of the need to create a mountain warfare arm and based upon his efforts the famous 10th Mountain division was created. One of the most highly decorated divisions of World War II; the 10th Mountain Division is recognized as one of the key contributors to the fall of German alpine defenses in Italy and their subsequent defeat. Candidates for the 10th Mountain Division were required to have a letter of recommendation from the NSP approving them as mountain capable.

Originally having its national offices in New York City, which later moved to Denver, the NSP has over 75 years of rich history and its members are an integral part of the warp and weft of the grand tapestry of American ski history. While there have been several museum quality exhibits celebrating the history of the NSP over the years, to date there have been no permanent exhibits. The Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum, with support from the Eastern Division of the National Ski Patrol, seeks to remedy this situation by creating a permanent NSP exhibit in Stowe, Vermont. While many locations can make claim to a portion of NSP history, only Stowe may make the claim as the birthplace of the NSP. In March of 1938, Dole and a select group of Patrollers from Vermont and Massachusetts provided emergency care support for the national races on Mount Mansfield. This well organized operation attracted the attention the event organizing body and resulted in their requesting Dole to head up a national organization to provide mountain rescue services to skiers. The result was the creation of the National Ski Patrol. The Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum, sitting in the shadow of Mount Mansfield in the center of Stowe village, is the perfect setting for this exhibit.  Recognition of the NSP and its contribution to US snow sports history is long overdue and a permanent exhibit will allow the public to learn and share its wonderful and important history.