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Between 15-20 young adults will be gathering at Pajarito Mountain Ski Area, but not for a day of recreation. Instead, these young people will be learning how to rescue skiers and snowboarders caught in an emergency situation.
Each year, said Bill Somers, director of the ski patrol at the ski area, the Rocky Mountain Division of the National Ski Patrol hosts a young adult jamboree and this year, the local ski area will be the location of the event.
The jamborees are for ski patrollers who are age 15-18. Saturday, they will focus on operations, accident scenarios and demonstrating and showing action skills.
Sunday, a lift evacuation will be acted out. It will not be all work, however; a pizza party will be held Saturday followed by a banquet Sunday. Also, Somers said they were able to get reduced fares to ski in Taos.
“So it’s just a good experience,” Somers said.
Three young adult patrollers from Los Alamos will participate in the jamboree.
Patrollers from elsewhere in the division, including Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas will participate, too.
Somers said the jamboree provides a valuable experience to the young patrollers, especially those from out-of-town because it gives them a different perspective, “so they get to see a different way of doing things.”
At Pajarito, the young adult patrollers need to be an intermediate or advance skier. They also need to be able to invest the time and interest into helping others, Somers said.
He added young adults need to pass the same test and meet the same qualifications as adults.
“What I’ve seen is the kids really respond to it,” Somers said.
In fact, several patrollers have gone on to be doctors, paramedics or entered into other emergency medical field careers.
They may come into the organization looking meek, Somers said, but by the end, the teenagers have confidence and are able to tell adults what to do.
They have experienced success within the division as well.
For instance, Somers said last year, one of the young patrollers was voted as Young Adult Patroller of the Year.
In total, there are currently 69 patrollers at Pajarito Mountain.
If interested in joining the patrol, contact Somers at 662-3081 or e-mail him at skipajarito.com.