Now a little History: The Association of Professional Patrollers, or APP, is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to the interests and advancement of individual Ski Patrollers. It offers a complete program of education and certification in nine subject areas. The Association is funded by its members and the officers serve voluntarily. We accept donations and contributions in the form of cash or other assets. This Association is qualified as a 501(c)(3) corporation as an IRS charitable organization for income tax purposes.
The organization has a long history, starting back to the 1960's. In 1967, a patrol leader from Heavenly Valley and his assistant discussed the idea of forming an organization which would both train and educate the full time professional patrollers of the western United States. In the 1969-70 ski season, a group of patrollers representing ski areas from all over California and Nevada met and decided on a name for their new organization: The Far West Professional Ski Patrol Association or FWPSPA.
In the 70's, California and Nevada patrollers held their first clinic and became registered in the State of California. But it was not until the spring of 1971 that the FWPSPA had its first successful clinic. The 57 attending patrollers' skiing and toboggan handling skills were tested, and a written test was given to evaluate additional patrol knowledge. A Handbook was created and the organization grew in membership and participating ski areas. There were also clinics given on first aid, weather, snow surveying, explosives and Monty Atwater provided an Avalauncher demonstration.
In the 1980'd and then the 1990's, the organization saw strong participation from well-established patrols throughout Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes and Southern California. The testing categories expanded as well as the Handbook. The first Mid-Winter Clinics are held along with an expansion into Oregon - the first Spring Clinic in Oregon was held at Mt. Ashland. Testing continued to be the focus and Clinics are held routinely from Colorado to Oregon. The National Ski Patrol (NSP) identified the FWPSPA as the certifying body in some of its Western Divisions, bringing a fresh new mix of candidates. The Patrol Olympics becomes a mainstay of the Spring Clinics. With the growth of the organization into more of the Eastern States, it was decided to rename the organization to the more appropriate "Association of Professional Patrollers" or APP - a new logo is created.
Since then, the APP has grown substantially, with an expanded and ever changing set of testing criteria and standards that reflect the significant changes that have evolved in the Ski Industry over the last several decades. In 2001, the APP celebrated its 30th anniversary with well over 200 hundred patrollers and FWPSPA/APP alumni in attendance at the Spring Clinic at Mammoth Mountain. In addition, the 500th Patroller is Certified!
The APP joins the 21st Century with promoting its programs through a website, joining Facebook, creating promotional videos and promoting the organization through a variety of social media. The Study Guide is expanded, revamped and available through an electronic download. Up to five Mid-Winter Clinics are conducted, as well as avalanche classes, avalanche rescue dog training and other educational forums. The APP was granted a Private Non Profit Status in 2007. At Squaw Vally USA in 2008, the APP celebrated its 40th anniversary, with Warren Miller and Royal Robbins speaking at evening events. The first Risk Management Forum was held, which has since become a popular Forum offered at the Spring Clinics.
The APP continues to pursue excellence and offer to patrollers the best in education and training available. Through this growth and prosperity, the APP looks forward to expanding its history in the years to come.