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HELSTON: The Canadian Ski Patrol's legacy is something that's never leaving

Charlotte Helston is the Vernon reporter for InfoNews.
June 26, 2015 - 7:07 AM

It takes a certain kind of person to be a volunteer, and we’d be lost without them. From the search and rescuer who misses dinner with his family to help find a missing hiker, the listening ear on the other end of the crisis hotline, or the ski patroller who spends her weekend not knowing what kind of emergency she might be called to next — they are here for us, not for money, not for credit, but to help.

Freely giving their time to help those in need is the easy, no-brainer, no hesitation part. Being told they can’t help — that’s what they have trouble with. Because they do it out of love and not for profit, it must hit even harder than getting fired from your day job. That’s the situation dozens of men and women are in after Silver Star Mountain announced it was not renewing its contract with the Canadian Ski Patrol. A passionate member said it felt like ‘something precious to you being taken away.’

We don’t have the full details about why it happened, and we don’t yet know how Silver Star’s new service model will work out. But no matter what changes lie ahead, the Canadian Ski Patrol has left a legacy at Silver Star Mountain, and that’s something no one can dismiss.

For 16 years, volunteer patrollers watched over skiers and boarders, locals and visitors, adults and kids. They saved lives, and their comforting words made people in pain feel less afraid. We were lucky if we didn’t need them and lucky they were there when we did. Their presence alone, that red and white beacon of safety, brought comfort. And like most volunteer agencies, what they did, and why they did it, inspired many. 

It’s easy right now to focus on the loss of Canadian Ski Patrollers at Silver Star, but let’s not forget the many years we had them, and what their efforts stood for. All politics aside, those volunteers did our community a great service and Silver Star would not likely be where it is today without them.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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