Volunteer Corner: Wes Schimmelpfennig | SierraSun.com

Volunteer Corner: Wes Schimmelpfennig

Amy Edgett/Sierra SunWes Schimmelpfennig

Tell me about your duties as a volunteer ski patrol member at Squaw Valley USA. I coordinate 85 volunteers with the professional staff.How long have you done this?About 11 years. I have been patrolling here for 45 years.Whats kept you involved?A love of skiing, being on the mountain, helping people.How do you help?We make sure the slope is safe for the skiing public, and assist injured skiers.What tools do you use to keep it safe?We have slow banners, signage, fences, bamboo and ropes.Are volunteers are part of avalanche control?We assist in doing ski checking traversing the slope in deposition zones to make sure its safe or slide it.Does the ski patrol provide information to the public about snow safety?We are hosting a Steep and Deep avalanche clinic Friday Jan. 18 at the Olympic Plaza Bar. Many veteran extreme skiers speak about their experience. Its good for the younger skiers to learn about the hazards of snow it can hurt you.Are skiers and boarders going to more extremes?Yes. They are tackling more difficult terrain, more backcountry and extreme slopes. The terrain has always been here; its being skied more than in days of old.Do you have a single most important safety tip?Ski within your abilities.Any words for hopeful volunteer patrollers?We are always looking for new people to come into patrol. Nowadays men who come in are a bit older, and women seem to be in their late 20s.What skills should volunteers bring to ski patrol?Good ski ability, on all terrain. An interest in serving people, not only the injured, willingness to put in a good days work making sure the slopes are safe. Fortunately, most of the resorts in this area have volunteer patrol programs. Visit nationalskipatrol.org.The Sierra Suns Amy Edgett interviewed Wes Schimmelpfennig for this weeks Volunteer Corner. Please send your suggestions to aedgett@sierrasun.com, subject Volunteer Corner. For volunteer opportunities in the North Tahoe Truckee area, visit http://www.handsontahoe.com

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