In the run up to this year’s Ski Patrol BBQ, I am celebrating the patrolers at Platty. First to get in the mood, I’m reposting this piece from last year on one of the mountain’s youngest patrollers, Zane Ashford, now all of 16. And what a cool name, no? And a beauty. And she can save your life.

Okay this week’s posts have one big message: Support your ski patrol. Platty’s is all-volunteer. They not only work for free, they pay for all their own supplies too. That includes: bandages, splints, sleds, oxygen…. So next time you see them pull someone down the hill on a sled and think but for the grace of god… make sure you also give to them. (Okay, even if you don’t think that might one day be you on the sled). And, one easy way to do it is coming up this weekend at the annual ski patrol BBQ dinner with live music and the raffle drawing. The prizes are good: everything from two pairs of Rossi skis – one men’s, one women’s with bindings and more. Last year we won something in the “and more” department. Note to whomever is doing the drawing, skis would be lovely…). The raffle is a bargain to boot. One ticket for a dollar and a book 6 for $5.

While you’re supporting the ski patrol today, think too about the ski patroller of the future. Zane Ashford, (15 last year when this was first published), is bubbly with blond hair and blue eyes – and good natured to boot. Also, a fully qualified member of the national ski patrol. We met when I rode the lift with her dad Bim, head of the Platty ski patrol. And like any doting dad he told me about young Zane becoming a patroller at 14. She started studying for it when she was 13… While she can’t actually work at Platty (too young), her story is inspiring.zane and bim

She grew up seeing her dad patrolling and has always wanted to be one herself. In fact it was partly her dad and partly getting pneumonia and being hospitalized for it when she was young. Ever since, she has wanted to become a doctor and help others. Being a patroller is part of this plan. When I asked her what the hardest part of it was, she didn’t say, skiing down steeps with a sled, or helping someone with a concussion puking up their guts, no, she said confidence. Surrounded by all the adults wanting to become patrollers, she didn’t think she knew what to do, but then found she did and that “98% of the time I was right, but I was shy.”

When I ask when she wants to study in college, she sweetly laughs that she doesn’t know. Not yet. Ah, youth. This is the moment where I’d say it’s wasted on them, but looking at Zane, she seems to be doing all the right things.