Mountain Blog

Who are those guys and gals in the Maroon Coats?

Nancy Story - Wednesday, January 25, 2017


The late Hugh Stout was one of Crystal's first Mountain Hosts

Jim Kidd is a member of this year's Crystal Mountain National Ski Patrol Mountain Host program.

For  years, Crystal Mountain had a volunteer brigade of uniformed Mountain Hosts, skiers armed with ready smiles who answered questions, dispensed directions, helped with lift line congestion and in general, kept a friendly eye out for everything going on outside.

Two years ago, that program was resurrected and upgraded under the jurisdiction of the National Ski Patrol (NSP). Implemented by the patrol as a tool to promote slope safety while maximizing a guest’s positive skiing and riding experience, Crystal Mountain’s NSP-sponsored Mountain Host program is one of three in the state. Crystal’s 12 Mountain Hosts, all experienced skiers, act somewhat like apprentices to the resort’s patrol. They still answer questions, give directions, and lend a helping hand – but now, they’re a Safety Patrol as well. They’re required to complete the NSP’s Outdoor First Care course, learn the techniques for chairlift evacuation, and earn their professional rescuer CPR certification.   “Our hosts plays an important role”, noted Joe Bolduc, Crystal’s Risk/ Safety Manager and a National Ski Patrol veteran.  “Not only do they assist the ski patrol when needed, but they also represent the resort, and often set the tone for the guest experience.” Bolduc cites crowd control, lift loading and unloading assistance, and identification of any slope hazards as some of the crew’s primary responsibilities. Clad in maroon-colored ski jackets sporting a “Crystal Mountain National Ski Patrol Mountain Host” badge, the hosts are on duty all week long during holiday periods, and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the season.

Longtime Crystal Mountain skiers Jim and Linda Kidd are on the slopes as hosts this season, armed with years of skiing knowledge and experience. Linda learned to ski at Crystal when she was seven years old – and now, with 50 ski seasons under her belt, she’s enjoying the Mountain Host role.   “We’re required to work ten shifts per season,” she noted, “with a typical shift running from 10am-4pm”. For the Kidds, a shift can include anything from assisting with injuries, repairing fences and signs, helping guests with equipment, suggesting which slopes match up with skier ability levels, and directing traffic.  The satisfaction they derive from assisting guests on the slopes is matched by the couple’s own enthusiasm for passing along their passion for snowsports.  The Kidds and the rest of the maroon coat crew are our National Ski Patrol’s ambassadors for snow, promoting safety and customer service out on the hills.    

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