June 16, 2015 - 11:51 AM
VERNON - The volunteer agency that has been providing ski patrol service at Silver Star Mountain for the past 16 years will no longer be looking out for people on the hill.
The resort is transitioning to a new service model that will replace volunteers from the Canadian Ski Patrol by adding four full-time, paid ski patrollers to its staff. Silver Star operations director Brad Baker says the resort looked at a number of factors and didn’t take the decision lightly.
“We certainly appreciate all the volunteers that have played a role in getting Silver Star where it is over the last 16 years,” Baker says.
Baker says the move was an operational decision, one which will ensure service levels are maintained.
“From a business standpoint, it’s a strategic decision we needed to make. We’re growing and evolving, and our operations have to evolve with us,” Baker says.
Ski patrol is the mountain’s ‘mobile workforce’ Baker says, and is responsible for a number of tasks including event set up, maintenance, and more. With volunteers, ski patrol is ‘something else they do’ and scheduling was, at times, a challenge.
The winter 2015/2016 season will be the first time the new service model is put into practice, and Baker says patrons shouldn’t notice any big changes.
“We will not compromise service levels or level of care,” Baker says. “It’s a new system and needs to be tried out, but nothing would be dimiinished. We’ll maintain (service levels) or better it.”
Canadian Ski Patrol volunteers were not paid for their work, but received pass benefits for their service, Baker says.
“We’ve had lots of open dialogue between ourselves and Canadian Ski Patrol,” Baker says. “The volunteers are wonderful, past, present and future.”
He says the resort looks forward to a continued working relationship with them.
Canadian Ski Patrol could not be reached for comment by publishing time, but posted the following message on its Facebook page:
We are sorry to announce that Silver Star Mountain Resort will no longer have patrollers from the Canadian Ski Patrol.
We hope that in the future we will be able to continue a relationship with the resort as there is a rich history of care from CSP volunteers. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered for or helped us in any way during our time on the mountain and we look forward to continuing our work on many other mountains in the area.
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— This story was edited at 1:07 p.m. June 16, 2015 to change the photo.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015