The spring break season here usually runs through the month of March. It was an extremely busy time and I put some extra hours in at the ski school. I noticed that even with the large influx of tourists, on a powder day it was never really that busy. A lot of the time, people on spring break are not looking for big storms or fresh tracks so it left the hill relatively calm during some great conditions. When I was working I also landed some more advanced classes which allowed me and my class to explore better terrain and enjoy all the fresh snow. There is nothing better then getting paid to get first tracks!
Once April hit things at ski school and just Breckenridge in general calmed down. No lift lines even on the weekends, parking no longer an issue, and everyone was much more relaxed.
I decided to take the plunge and try out. The first step was simply to be invited to the try outs. You had to apply with a skills resume and background. Ski Patrol then weeded it down to fifty or so men and women. I made it through the first round, which was pretty exciting.
The second round was "on the hill evaluations" with the head Patrols. They broke us into groups of ten or so with three Patrols to evaluate. We all wore numbered jerseys and the Patrol keep their clipboards close to their chest.
The day consisted of moguls for 8 hours straight, no warm up runs, right to the black diamonds. The Patrols would ski to the bottom of the run, we would then ski down one at a time while they took notes on our every move. It was definitely a very high pressure situation, not only are you skiing in front of the Patrol, you are also skiing in front of some of the best skiers in the area.
people trying out were doing the Ski Patrol "circuit", hitting 5 or more mountains for the same positions to up their odds. Others had been trying out for years, while some had flown in from all corners of the country.
As the day ended, my legs feeling like Jell-O, we had a quick meeting. The head Patrols stated there are only 10-12 spots available for next year. They would contact us that evening to let us know if we made it to the next round.
A few hours later I got the call that I didn't make it. I was definitely disappointed but at the same time I was not surprised. I only started skiing this year, and with the caliber of my competition, I saw it coming before the phone ever rang. I plan on trying out again next year and complete some medical training at the local community college. Hats off to the guys and gals that made it!