My patrol life began a long time ago. The first time I put on a Patrol jacket and fanny pack was in 1974 as a NSP Junior patroler at Sugarloaf Mtn in Maine. I lied and said I was 16 and my cousin, a pro hill captain sold me to the boss. I was just 14.
I’ve been banging around steep snowy places helping people out of jams and nasty spots for quite a while.
Deep snow, big dogs and my wife are important to me in reverse order. Being buried in dog holes is good stuff.
To me our union is very important. As an individual in the vast and generally wealthy ski industry I have always been one replaceable, relatively unimportant ant in an ever changing corporate world.
If I had a problem with a senior patroller, a supervisor or the Patrol Director I was on my own. I, like you, did the best I could to not raise the ire of any one above me. I did the best I could to get raises, positive recognition and promotion, but I always lived under the same conditions any other single entity deals with. Any little thing could spell the end of advancement, even the end of my employment. Thru luck and steady work I avoided the worst of it but the stress added up and I left the craft for a decade.
As a member of the Park City bargaining unit, I am part of a recognized group of professionals. We do a difficult and challenging job that we all love (or won’t last long in) and give our guests our very best every day. We will be recognized by our employer as a valued group, not easily replaced, not easily bullied and to be treated equally and fairly day by day.
To me “union” implies steadiness and a certain degree of consistency in the work place. It implies a culture of cooperation among the membership and a degree of respect from our employer. It also has brought a slowly but steadily raising standard of pay and benefits. When I began our starting pay was so low that even mid and upper level patrollers had to have two jobs, or a very good summer profession. When I began there was no such thing as an equipment allowance. This came into being in large part thru the efforts of organized groups such as our union.
– Lauri Sibulkin, Park City