Questions & Answers


The following is a list of commonly asked questions about the Nordic Patrol that come up each year.

If I become a member, how much time is required?

What is the schedule for the Nordic Patrol season?

How good of a skier do I need to be?

What type of equipment do I need to patrol?

What are the lodging accommodations like?

What are the benefits for volunteering at Mammoth basin?

Why Patrol?

Q: How much time is required of Nordic Patrol members?

A: The Mammoth Nordic Backcountry Ski Patrol requires a commitment of ten Nordic Ski Patrol days per season. That’s usually about one weekend per month. [Back to Top]

Q: What is the schedule for the Nordic Patrol season?

A: The season usually starts around Thanksgiving (Nov. 25) and ends the middle of April. We ski both days of every weekend during this period, and sometimes the weekdays between Christmas and New Years. The Saturday patrol starts at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m. On Sunday we start at 8:00 a.m. and go to 2:30 p.m. [Back to Top]

Q: How good of a skier do I need to be?

A: It is not necessary to telemark but you should be able to stay on your skis on steep slopes and in the trees. Patrolling takes place in a mountainous backcountry environment, and you need to return from where you came from without assistance. Sometimes we need to break trails in heavy snow to uncover signs that mark the trails. Patrollers need to adjust to changing weather conditions. But you are not expected to function in situations that make you uncomfortable. [Back to Top]

Q: What type of equipment do I need to patrol?

A: The basic gear includes: backcountry or telemark skis, snow shoes, snowboard, boots, ski poles, a snow shovel, avalanche transceiver, first-aid supplies and a backpack. Other recommended equipment includes: climbing skins, map & compass, Global Positioning System (GPS), extra clothes, food, and an emergency shelter. [Back to Top]

Q: What are the lodging accommodations like?

A: The Forest Fire Service provides a barracks in the town of Mammoth that can comfortably sleep 8 patrollers. This barracks has 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, and a washer/dryer. It is furnished with furniture and the kitchen is stocked with cooking materials. All you need to bring is a sleeping bag, bath towel, and food for two breakfasts, two lunches, and a potluck dinner. [Back to Top]

Q: What are the benefits for volunteering at Mammoth basin?

A: Patrolling allows you to help out the U.S. Forest Service and meet & greet the winter recreationalist. You will also be able to sharpen your skills in a relatively safe environment, as well as to become familiar with the Inyo National Forest area and its trails. In return, the Forest Service provides worker’s compensation during our patrolling activities. Free lodging, and free entry into Tamarack cross country ski center when on duty. [Back to Top]

Q: Why Patrol?

A: Patrolling is a volunteer service that becomes a duty when you sign-up for a weekend. We expect you to make a serious commitment to ski the weekend you sign up for. Patrolling is an enjoyable experience, but we are not skiing independently or merely for our own pleasure. Our role is to assist the U.S. Forest Service where needed and to interact with the public. Volunteering is an enjoyable experience and a way to give something back to the community while enjoying the winter outdoors ourselves. [Back to Top]

If you still have questions and would like to know more about the Mammoth Nordic Backcountry Patrol, please visit our contact form HERE.