Ski patroller vs. General Manager
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of getting to know Kate Middleton, Big Sky local and ripping skier. Kate is 12 years old and she already knows what she wants to do for a living. She wants to be a ski patroller. When I had dinner with Kate and her dad Taylor Middleton, the GM at Big Sky, we played my favorite game: Ski Patrol vs. General Manager.
Kate patiently explained to her father all the ways in which ski patrolling was better than being a general manager. To Kate and me the advantages are obvious. But Taylor toyed the line for his job. So we played “the game” with him. He got to say one reason why he loved his job; then Kate and I got to respond with one reason that patrolling was better.
Of course Kate and I won. No matter how good the job of G.M. might seem, Taylor could never beat out our final response: “On patrol you get to save people’s lives.”
Even Taylor had to bow his head to that one.
Future Ski Patroller
Fortunately I had the chance to interview Kate. I wanted to know how a girl so young could be so jazzed about a mostly-male job. I see myself in Kate. I started patrolling when I was only a few years older than her. I also want to protect her a little–tell her which guys to steer clear of, which kinds of accidents to avoid, where to find the best powder and how to stay safe. But I have a feeling about Kate. She’s going to be fine. In fact, she will be better than fine. She rips, she knows what she wants, and she’s confident. She may share a name with a princess, but this Kate Middleton is a ripper chic; and the only kind of royalty she aligns with is of the Dirt Bag persuasion.
I admire this Kate Middleton, and you should too. Bravo Kate. Thanks for answering my questions. I especially like your answer to question #5 below. You kind of hit that nail on the head:
In her words
1) What interests you about ski patrolling?
Everything. I think everything a patroller does is amazing.
2) Do you have a role model in patrolling or something that first sparked your interest in the job?
I really want to train my puppy to be a ski patrol dog. Then my dad said Bob Dixon (the head ski patroller) wanted to ski with me.
3) Can you tell me more about the day you spent with Bob Dixon and the other patrollers? You mentioned that you dug a pit. Did you find anything interested in the snow that day? Were there any scary layers you found?
We dug a snow pit and the snow conditions were good. Then we went and threw a bomb witch was super scary, ran an accident and finally swept CJ (Calamity Jane)
4) What did you think when Bob threw a bomb on the slope? Where was that? Did the snow slide due to the bomb? Did the noise surprise you?
I was scared when he threw it. On Crons the snow slid a little, but not too much. I was also scared when I heard it go off.
5) What do you think about patrollers? Are they interesting? Heroic? Exciting? Smelly? Weird?
Patrollers are exciting and interesting. When they aren’t working, they are really crazy. But when they are working they are serious.
6) What interests you most about the job? What scares you? What do you think would be the best part of the job? What would be the hardest part?
I think the hardest part would be helping the people that are wounded. I think the scariest part would be skiing lots of hard stuff to see if it is safe so you can get it open. I think the best part of the job would be doing your job, making sure people are safe and helping them when they are hurt.
7) Do you have any advice for other girls that might want to be ski patrollers or ski area employees someday? Why choose ski patrolling instead of some other job?
Patrollers get money to ski and have fun and at the same time save people. I think that makes it the coolest job in Big Sky.
8) Can you tell me a little bit about yourself that you would like to share? For example, how long have you lived at Big Sky? Do you like living at a resort? What are the pluses and minuses of it?
I’m 12 years old. I go to Ophir School. I’ve lived in Big Sky all my life. I love living at a resort because you can ski every single weekend and on Fridays with my school. There are no minuses.
She’s right. There really are no minuses. Bravo Kate. High five!