The mission of The Patrol Fun Inc. is to provide educational opportunities and financial assistance for our ski community and winter enthusiasts to further their snow safety awareness and wilderness first aid knowledge.
During the past few decades this region has seen a marked increase in backcountry winter recreation without a corresponding increase in educational offerings. In response to this need The Patrol Fund has started a Scholarship Program and created the Avalanche Education Program.
The The Patrol Fund Community Scholarship provides annual opportunities for four members of our community to attend wilderness medicine courses and snow safety courses. These scholarships are funded by t-shirt sales, corporate sponsorship, the annual patrol fundraiser, and donations from our community members.
Previous to the initiation of the Avalanche Education Program, attending certified or advanced avalanche education courses often required leaving the Flathead Valley, as there was not a consistent annual course in the region. In addition, these courses were often price prohibitive for many students.
The Patrol Fund Avalanche Safety programs answer a need in the Whitefish community by filling the void in educational opportunities available to local winter sports enthusiasts by providing high caliber courses with affordable price tags. During the 2013-2014 winter season we offered two Level 1 avalanche courses and one Level 2 avalanche course, as well as five community scholarships. This year we have the same offering, as well as a youth scholarship.
In partnership with the National Forest Service (USFS) and the Whitefish Mountain Resort, we are uniquely positioned to provide avalanche education programming to the Whitefish community. Our instructional staff consists of highly qualified individuals from our community. We are pleased to have top-notch instructors such as Ted Steiner, lead avalanche forecaster for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF); Erich Peitzsch, USGS Avalanche Specialist and American Avalanche Association (AAA) Certified; Adam Clark, forecaster for the Going-to-the-Sun Road Avalanche Program and professional ski patroller; Jenny Cloutier, ecology, outdoor medicine, and avalanche educator throughout northwest Montana and western Washington; Lloyd Morsett, Snow Safety Director at Whitefish Mountain Resort; Seth Carbonari, Fire Management Officer for the Spotted Bear Ranger District; and Lynne Wolfe, editor of The Avalanche Review. The courses offered follow AAA certified guidelines and provide participants with official certification.
The effect of high caliber educational courses on our community is far reaching. As students become more educated, they in turn share this knowledge with their fellow recreationists. This creates an overall safer winter community. As residents of Whitefish and recreationists in the surrounding forests, we believe an educated public is a safer public. Our programs enable our community to have important tools at their disposal to live and recreate safely.
The Patrol Fund annually supports a variety of organizations within our community including the DREAM program and ALERT air ambulance.