BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW
For 45 years, the Canadian Ski Patrol, Algonquin Zone, has protected the hills of northeastern Ontario with
diligence and pride and made them safer places for all skiers.
Ski patrolling began in 1958 on the Onaping Ski Hill.
Several skiers were out on the slopes one day when they came across an injured person on the trail. The people saw no ski patrol in site. One of them went and got a toboggan and supplies. Some of the group had first aid training, and they got the injured skier down the hill and to the hospital.
The group realized the need for an organized service so they took a Red Cross course and qualified to become the core of the first local ski patrol.
They soon expanded across northeastern Ontario and were helping all kinds of skiers.
To celebrate these individuals and their dedicated service, a reunion committee has organized the first Canadian Ski Patrol Reunion for the Algonquin Zone patrollers.
Committee members know the reunion will be a terrific chance for old friends to get together and relive old memories and share stories.
?I wanted the reunion because through the ski patrol I met my best friends,? said Karren Parrett, reunion committee member and former ski patroller for 13 years.
?To this day those people are my life-long friends.?
Fred Norris, another reunion committee member and former ski patroller for 20 years, is relishing the opportunity to see old pals.
?This will be a great chance to get together with friends and reminisce about old times.?
The adventures and stories of heroics by everyday people capable of doing extraordinary feats in the face of
pressure and danger will capture even the most dormant imagination.
Mario Favretto, another reunion committee member and former ski patroller for 15 years, once saved a life on the slopes.
On a cold winter day in 1978, after the last run of the day, Favretto was completing his final sweep of the hill.
Favretto was going down the hill when, suddenly, he heard a sickening crunch behind him.
?I found a skier had hit some trees pretty hard head first,? said Favretto. ?He was unconscious, flat on his back, and bleeding profusely from inside his mouth.?
Running on instinct, Favretto performed first aid and cleared the skier?s airway.
Within minutes, other members of the ski patrol arrived on the scene and helped get the man down the hill and off to a hospital.
?The guy suffered a severe concussion and a fractured jaw and cheekbone,? said Favretto. ?The doctors said I saved the guy?s life.?
Two years later, Favretto was honoured for his heroics with the John D. Harper Life Saving Award.
?It was good that I had saved a life, but bad the terrible accident happened. It bothered me for a while afterwards.?
Over the years, there has been about 1,000 members volunteering in the Algonquin Zone helping injured skiers and teaching the general public to ski smartly and safely.
The reunion will take place at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel from Oct. 17-18. There will be a dinner, dance and
plenty of memorabilia on hand for patrollers to enjoy.
Any ski patroller from the zone looking to attend can phone Fred Norris at 1-866-220-2936 or email [email protected]