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Pacific edition, Wednesday, April 25, 2007

SEOUL — The time for hitting the slopes might be over, but members of the U.S. Ski Patrol-Asia are already thinking about next season.

And they’re looking for skiers — not the lost or injured ones they usually focus on, but community-minded people to help them keep South Korea a safe place to ski for the U.S. forces community.

Anyone interested in the joining USSP-A should visit its Web site, learn basic first aid before next season and get their ski equipment ready.

“The key is to have the dedication to serve as a volunteer to the community,” said patrol spokesman Wayne Clark, a colonel with the 18th Medical Command. “Secondly, excellent ski skills are preferred, but we do work on that throughout the season.”

The patrol trains candidates on outdoor emergency care so no prerequisites are required.

Certification training will begin in October and last through December and candidates must pass a written exam.

A $175 fee covers the training, exams, initial membership fees and books, Clark said.

Membership has its benefits, said Clark, including the gratification of “serving the community, knowing that you are possibly saving a life to treating a minor injury or just making the ski day fun for others.”

Members also get discounts at the resorts, generally similar to what a group rate would be, Clark said.

The group has 18 members and provides first aid and emergency care and rescue services to foreign skiers in South Korea. They also help augment and provide English-speaking services to the Korean Ski Association’s professional ski patrols and provide safety and first aid education.

This past season the group provided support to three ski resorts, supported and ran the alpine race for the Better Opportunities for Single and Unaccompanied Soldiers Winter Games and supported numerous school ski trips, USFK events and church groups, said Clark.

For more details, call Clark at DSN 737-8564 or e-mail him at Wayne.Clark@amedd.army.mil. The Web address for USSP-A is http://usskipatrol.netfirms.com.

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