From School to the Slopes

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From School to the Slopes

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A junior at Coginchaug is embarking on a tough journey to challenge his skills and knowledge at becoming a ski patroller. Bryce Lipka is in the midst of taking the Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) class, required by all ski patrols in the USA, in order to become a patroller. 

Bryce wants to be a ski patroller because he “likes helping people” and “thought it would be a fun side job.” Bryce also plans on going into the medical field after high school. 

The Outdoor Emergency Care class is a college-level course that involves 34 chapters of quizzes and tests. There is also a hands-on portion of the class, in which the ski patrol candidates work with one another to help practice patients with injuries or medical conditions. 

One of the hardest parts of the OEC class is the hands-on work. 

“Doing full body assessments can be tough because some areas can be uncomfortable,” Lipka said.

All of the patients and teachers are members of the ski patrol at Powder Ridge and other ski resorts. To pass the OEC class, Bryce must pass a 100-question final exam made up of questions from all of the prior tests and quizzes. After that he has to pass a four-section skills portion of the class, which could be splinting a broken arm or setting up an oxygen tank, and to conclude the OEC class, Bryce has to do two full scenarios. The scenarios include walking onto the scene of an accident and figuring out what is wrong with the patient by asking them questions, leading up to a conclusion of what hurts or what condition they have. For example, they might have an allergy and all you have to do is assist with giving them their epi-pen. 

 Bryce plans to complete the written and hands-on portions of the Outdoor Emergency Care class before the ski season starts in December. 

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