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United States Ski Patrol-Asia out to increase its staffing

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — The ski patrol that watches over U.S. military outings and other winter events for foreigners in South Korea is recruiting new members on the eve of this year’s snow season, according to its spokesman.

For the next few weeks, the United States Ski Patrol-Asia will seek people to train in outdoor emergency care to bolster its current staff of 17 members.

“We’d like to have as many members as we can,” said Col. Wayne Clark, chief of staff for 18th Medical Command and the patrol’s spokesman.

The patrol is a volunteer group that accompanies organized ski trips for the U.S. Forces Korea community and other international groups. At popular ski resorts in South Korea, the patrol also helps local ski patrols with language and first aid, Clark said.

Joining means a commitment of money and time in the winter months, Clark said last week. But the rewards come from helping people, enjoying the snowy weather and getting discounts at area ski resorts, he said.

“There’s a lot of camaraderie,” he said. “And it’s valuable training for your personal and professional life.”

The patrol is affiliated with the National Ski Patrol System, a network of trained and certified patrols in the States. If a person is certified to patrol in Korea, transferring that certification to a resort or area in other places, including America and Germany, will take minimal training, Clark said.

Membership requires a commitment of time on most weekends, investment in individual first-aid equipment and willingness to go out in any weather. Foreign-language skills also are a plus, as the patrol often helps other international skiers on the slopes.

Those interested must be at least 18, must be strong skiers and must own ski equipment and clothing. The training period lasts an entire season, with classroom work starting in October and field training through February.

The cost for the first year is $130, which includes training materials. Once a patroller is certified, yearly membership fees are nominal, Clark said.

The group will have an open house at 6 p.m. Oct. 18 at the U.S. Embassy Club next to Starbucks on South Post, Yongsan Garrison. For more information, call 011-9101-4060 or e-mail the patrol at rokuslok@yahoo.com.


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