Local ski patrollers earn regional recognition


Three 49 Degrees North patrollers have been singled out and awarded for excellence by first the Inland Empire (IE) Region, and the Pacific Northwest (PNW) Division of the National Ski Patrol.

In April 2016, Ben Eminger of Chewelah was awarded Outstanding Young Adult Patroller from the 49 Degrees North Ski Patrol. At the same time, Dave Deveau of Chewelah was given Outstanding Alpine Patroller, and Marianne Becker of Mead was handed Outstanding Auxilliary Patroller. Unknown to them, their nominations were forwarded for region consideration. IE Region chose to recognize them in their categories and sent their nominations to Division. After review, the PNW Division also selected them as Outstanding Young Adult Patroller, Outstanding Alpine Patroller, and Outstanding OEC Instructor. They received both the Region and Division plaques during a ceremony at the 49 patrol’s skills refresher October 8, and were completely surprised. None of the three 49 patrollers had known before the meeting that they were going to receive these awards.

The Inland Empire Region of the National Ski Patrol is comprised of 10 patrols, including Lookout, Mt. Spokane, Silver Mountain and Mission Ridge. The Pacific Northwest Division is made up of nearly 50 patrols in five regions, and includes all of Washington State, Oregon and Northern Idaho. Many patrols submitted patrollers for consideration. Only one patroller was selected in each of eight categories. The 49 patrollers won three of the eight major awards.

Ben, 19, is currently attending Community College full time in Spokane. Even with his student responsibilities, he managed to patrol 52 days last year, which is more than half of the days 49 was open.

“Ben’s work ethic and character set him apart,” said Ski Patrol Director Gary Deaver. “He was constantly seeking out work projects, raising tower pads, fixing signs, running toboggans, etc…keeping busy to learn more about what makes a ski area and its people tick.”

Off the hill, Ben also helped teach 10 first aid classes for the new class of patrol candidates.

Dave Deveau, also from Chewelah, received Region and Division awards for Outstanding Alpine Patroller. Dave, when not working as Chewelah’s Fire Chief, has spent a lot of time making sure skiers and snowboarders are safe at 49. Last year he patrolled over 60 days, and was actively leading as Hill Captain every other week-end. Dave was recognized for his dedication and leadership, but also his positive attitude and desire and commitment to continue to improve his own skill level, which in turn inspired other patrollers to improve theirs. Dave, with his lengthy career as a professional EMS provider, has brought ideas and innovations that have improved training and direct care on the mountain.

“Dave brings his “A” game to the Mountain every day he is up,” said Deaver. “We and the skiing public are both very well served by Dave’s contributions,” he said.

Marianne Becker of Mead earned Region and Division awards for Outstanding OEC (Outdoor Emergency Care) Instructor. Marianne was nominated due to her excellent first aid and instruction skills, which have been invaluable teaching last year’s patroller candidate class. In addition to completing additional training to become an OEC Instructor, Marianne is also a Senior Patroller, AHA CPR Instructor, and OEC Instructor Trainer. Marianne spent more than 60 hours last year teaching new candidates before the hill even opened. She spent an additional three weekends at other ski areas assisting patrollers within the region improve their OEC skills.

“Training a new Ski Patroller to deal with all the various tasks that we undertake is never easy,” Deaver said. “Marianne has had a huge impact on our Patrol’s readiness to meet the needs of the skiing public,” he said.

When not volunteering for the patrol, Marianne works as the Team Leader of the Radiology Department at Holy Family Imaging Center.