Far West Division National Ski Patrol

Far West Division Women's Program
By Trudy Nye, Women's Program Supervisor

I've been a member NSP at Heavenly Resort, CA since 1978. I'm a Senior, Tobaggon Instructor, Instructor Trainer and Heavenly Women's Clinic organizer for 19 years. For 5 years I was the Eastern Sierra region transportation adviser, and in 2015 I became the Far West Division Women's Program Supervisor. Starting last year, I have made a huge change in my ski patrol status. I am now alumni and no longer patrol, but I am still division women's program adviser, I am keeping my OET certification active, still help with sled clinics and love empowering women and enabling them to do more and be more. Please contact me with any questions and suggestions you may have, and how I can be of help.

Women's Program Update, 2020

I hate to say this but so far, the women's program is waiting and hoping, waiting for their programs at region and local levels and hoping clinics can still be run at ski areas this season. I want to encourage all of you to work with your region and local patrol to work on how we can still provide women's toboggan and ski clinics safely. Here are some thoughts and ideas and possible events and maybe rumors of events--

Women's Summit is possibly happening, but virtually. This event has always been a great cooperation between PSIA and NSP. Wheels are turning and ideas are being floated around especially regarding developing marketing ideas to get everyone excited to sign up.

Powderfall 2021 has been postponed and rescheduled for April 2022.

ESR region women's clinic (formerly the Heavenly women's clinic)--Amy Sprague has started working on logistics and covid rules to follow for our annual clinic to happen. Nothing definite but the conversation has started. Good job! There are hopes that there may be one more clinic in the region but these depend on a lot of things happening. Safety first of course!

It sounds like MLR has some plans and are working on them, possible ski and toboggan clinics, hopefully at least one women's clinic would be stellar!

In all regions, trying for a women's clinic is going to be challenging: snow amounts so far are lacking in some areas, covid restrictions, resorts not wanting any additional activities, etc.

But, check this out:
Women of Patrol- A community to honor and feature the women of patrol. To be featured, tag #womenofpatrol and @womenofpatrol

Also check out the women's program Facebook page and join! Women of the National Ski Patrol (NSP)

Here are some pics of the ESR clinic at Northstar last winter, right as the first snowstorm hits Tahoe. And a great group shot at last season's Women's Summit.





Good luck everyone with starting their season. Let me know what is happening in your region.

Trudy Nye
FWD Women's Program Advisor


2019-2020 Report

There's a lot going on with the Far West Women's program!

Even with a very short season and only average snowfall (mainly in March) plus Covid19 shutting everything down, we got a lot accomplished this season!

3 out of 5 regions had at least one women's clinic planned (that's pretty good considering the weird season!)

The ESR region hosted a 2 day division-wide women's clinic, Mar 7-8 at Northstar Ski Resort, with approximately 20 or so patrollers, both paid and volunteer along with a snowboard group. This clinic started as the famous Heavenly clinic over 22 years ago! The group was wined and dined by Northstar and we even had a bit of new snow. Great job!

AZ region had one clinic at Sunrise Resort, both ski and sled. Good job, Dagmara!

MLR ran a 2-day clinic at Donner Ski Ranch, ski and toboggan and multi day clinic at Sugar Bowl.

As for SoCal, lack of snow was the culprit for having to cancel. Linda, you'll have next season!

Lastly, many of us attended the PSIA Women's Summit at Snowbird UT, Mar 1-4. Guest speakers, food, beautiful accommodations, great coaching by some of the best instructors in the US, and skiing at Snowbird! What more could you ever want! And for next year, we have Powderfall at Breckenridge, CO.

Remember to elevate capable female patrollers! Tap someone on the shoulders and ask "Hey, have you ever thought about being a .....? Filling the blank with becoming an instructor, being on the board, getting involved at some level. And of course, you can mentor others! Be the change!

Trudy Nye
Far West Division Women's Program Adviser


2016-2017 Far West Women's Program Update

I hope everyone had a phenomenal winter with lots of snow and good skiing! I wanted to end this season with giving you my report to NSP regarding accomplishments for last season and goals for next season. I am amazed at how awesome the Far West Div women are regarding putting on and/or attending clinics along with getting days in, taking care of family, going to work, and leading busy lives. I salute all of you!

1 - Helped organize & ran Eastern Sierra Region 20th Annual Heavenly women’s clinic, Feb. 26, 2017--19 attended, 4 TI’s
2 - Was IT/TI and attended MotherLode Region Women’s Clinic at China Peak, CA in March 4-5--12 attended, 2 TI’s
3 - Attended Women’s Summit at Mammoth CA, March 5-9. Instructed in 2 clinics--4 attended; attended 2 other ski clinics
4 - Attended Powderfall, Snowmass, CO, April 3-10. Instructor for 2 clinics--10 attended each.
5 - Now have a full complement of region women’s advisors--5 regions, 5 advisors
6 - Have selected and will mentor someone as my replacement when I retire from the FWD Women's Program

1 - Stay in frequent contact with my 5 region advisers, division director and national women’s supervisor.
2 - Attend women’s OET clinics at-- Mt. Shasta in NorCal region, Snow Summit in Southern CA region, and possibly Arizona region (a regular OET clinic or women’s)
3 - Mentor at least one woman for her OET training to become a TI or help her attain a higher level of patrol involvement
4 - Encourage women in the division to become more involved at whatever level they are comfortable with, not only OET but also avalanche, becoming a member on the local patrol board, becoming an instructor, etc.

Enjoy your summer, get out there and have fun!

For our first year being up and running, 2015, the Far West Women's Program has accomplished a lot. Read on!

We have region advisers for NorCal, Eastern Sierra and Mother Lode regions. This mainly entails passing communications up and down line including ideas, suggestions, and concerns. We also can share events happening in our regions and promote opportunities for female patrollers to get involved. We are waiting for volunteers from SoCal and Arizona if any of you want to be a part of this great group of women.

I attended 3 fantastic women's programs this season and was able to network with women across the US. I not only was able to teach toboggan clinics but also attended and participated in ski clinics. Pictures are included so take a look...

March 6 was the 19th annual Heavenly Women's Clinic with a toboggan clinic in the morning and ski clinic in the afternoon. We had snowy weather which made the sled runs challenging (everyone did great!) and the skiing was perfect. Next year will be our 20th and promises to be a major celebration--mark your calendars for the last Sunday of February 2017 (and check the Eastern Sierra Region website next season for updates).

March 6-9 (yes, back to back events, whew!) was the Squaw Women's Summit at of course Squaw Valley. What a wonderful opportunity to network with women in NSP, PSAI-W and APP-W! Women attended from all over the US and Canada. We had the premier women's ski instructors all attending and the clinics were unforgettable! We ran a women's toboggan clinic here with the help of the Squaw paid patrol and learned about double tail roping, very important in extreme terrain and conditions.

March 19-20 was the annual NorCal region Mt. Shasta St. Patrick's celebration complete with corned beef, cabbage, carrots and delicious soda bread. Besides munching on fantastic food with a great patrol, we also had the area's first women's toboggan clinic. 7 of us made 4 passes down a couple of different runs practicing tail rope, moving turns, change overs and communications. Besides myself, Bill Gibson our Far West director, Daryl Whitcher Far West Transportation and Lance Vaughan Far West Assistant Director also attended. It was a great weekend event!

Next season looks like we'll be able to accomplish even more. Keep checking this page, let me know if you have any suggestions for our program, and let me know if your region had any women's clinics this season not mentioned in this article. (SoCal?) I will hopefully visit MotherLode and SoCal regions next year. If you'd like me to visit your patrol/area, I'd love to! Send me an email and we can set it up.

Make Your Tracks Count, ladies!

Trudy Nye
Far West Division Women's Program


Welcome to the first ever Far West Division Women's Program page! This article is the first of many updates, so keep on checking back.

I'd like to introduce myself and list some of my goals for this year and beyond. I have been a patroller (basic then senior) at Heavenly Resort since 1979, became a transportation instructor, started the Heavenly women's clinic in 1998, was appointed a transportation Instructor Trainer, then Eastern Sierra Region transportation adviser, and just this past April, was appointed division Women's Program supervisor. My main focus all these years has been toboggan training, especially starting up women's toboggan clinics around California.

Now, though, my focus is changing to a broader mission of supporting and encouraging women to be active in all NSP programs, not just women's clinics. I am very excited for the opportunity to promote programs so that more women can be involved. I am currently in the process of appointing region women's advisers to assist me in this goal and be liaisons between the division, region and local patrol. Our team will be responsible for sharing information and events from the national level to the local patrol level. We will also be encouraging and supporting local patrols to continue or to start women's clinics in all disciplines.

I hope to also have dedicated space on division/region/local patrol calendars and websites to list women's clinics in the division in an easy-to-find format.

Feel free to contact me any time via email
Trudy Nye or by phone 707-321-9694. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas regarding how to grow our program!

Trudy Nye

Below are summaries and photos from past events.

2015 Heavenly Women’s Clinic

2014 Heavenly Women’s Clinic

The Feb. 22, 2014 - 17th Annual Heavenly women’s clinic went well considering minimal snow levels. We also had a guest visitor: Tom Sherry from Northstar who is also an NSP board member. He brought his NSP Subaru and we took a group picture in front of it. He also wanted to observe the first part of the clinic and rode in the sled for one run. Btw, my general rule for men attending is: get in, sit down, hold on and shut up. Tom did a great job following those rules!

The only sled run available that didn’t have obstacles was a short advanced run with bumps, so I emphasized that each person choose what was comfortable for them regarding where they wanted to do handles and/or tail. It was a beautiful day, and 23 of us headed out, including 4 TI’s. We did 4 runs on Waterfall, lap loading sleds each time. We had a very quick lunch at the top of the tram, outside on the deck with beautiful views of the lake.

At 1:00 we met Heidi and a second ski instructor, Jaqueline. We split into 2 groups, one staying mostly on established runs, the other heading to Killebrew Canyon. Unfortunately snow conditions were terrible so we ended up practicing our steep crud skiing. The ski trail out of Killebrew back to Mott Canyon chair (it’s a part of the Tahoe Rim Trail and Pacific Crest Trail) was dirt for a part of it and one of the pictures shows how we had to handle that problem. It was an adventure! We re-connected with the other group at the end of the day. 4 of us decided to ski the last run down East Bowl with Heidi. It was great practice on hard pack/ice for sure!

Afterwards, we went to a café for refreshments and snacks while Heidi showed us video of our skiing. We sure looked different that we felt on those runs! Video is a great additional teaching tool and should be a part of every TES or SES if possible.

Everyone had a great day, and we even discussed adding a second day (not possible with Heavenly unfortunately) or adjusting how much time we spent on sleds versus skiing.

Some comments:
“Just wanted to say THANK YOU for organizing and running the Women's Sled Clinic at Heavenly! It surpassed my expectations and I look forward to the years ahead participation!”

“It is so great to ski and be supported by women.”

“I cannot thank you enough for an amazing day! It was a great group of women and phenomenal training. I cannot give you any areas to improve because it was that good. I guess after 17 years you have mastered the process. It is so great to work with women IT's. The guys just muscle and I don't have the size or strength. I feel I am now on a more level playing field.”

We had a great day! Also, I gave Tom Sherry some “homework”: to write up an article of his experience that day and post it on our region, division and the national websites. Whoo hoo!


2013 Heavenly Women’s Clinic
On Feb. 23, 20 female patrollers from all over the Tahoe Basin and down to Dodge Ridge converged on Heavenly for the 16
th annual event. Represented patrols were:  Heavenly Area, Homewood, Diamond Peak, Dodge Ridge, Northstar, Sierra at Tahoe and Donner Ski Ranch.  What a great group!

After completing the necessary forms, we headed up the mountain. We first did a warm up run and drill practice working on back side slip, rope a goat with ski poles, and working with communication with front and back.  We then picked up 5 sleds and made a preliminary run on an intermediate to advanced tree run. Everyone did great! After that we headed to Waterfall, an advanced run and did 3 more runs. The bumps were big so we worked hard on technique. By the end of the morning, we did 4 sled runs, broke one sled (good job, Beth!) and used another for an accident.

After lunch, we met with two fantastic ski instructors, Heidi and Jackie. Both groups did a run in Mott Canyon (fun!) and went into Powder Bowl trees.  Our last run was on The Face/Eastbowl practicing how to edge on hard pack. We were given techniques to work on and we also practiced our Super Woman attitude and body language.  Go Girls!

By the end of the day, we were tired but happy!  Everyone enjoyed their day of not only learning new techniques but also connecting with other female patrollers.

Each year, the Heavenly Women’s Clinic is on the last weekend of February.  Check it out!

2012 Heavenly Women’s Clinic—our 15th!
A group of 11 women patrollers from Heavenly, Northstar and Homewood gathered at Heavenly for the 15th annual Women’s Clinic on Feb. 26.  We had great weather though the snow conditions were minimal.  From 8:30 until 11:30, we first did warm up exercises on Ridge run, then multiple toboggan passes on Ridge Bowl.  Toboggan instructors Tammie Hoedeman, Leilani Connolly and Kim Ranalla helped guide everyone through the terrain. Conditions and the bumps were perfect and everyone worked on improving their techniques in both handles and tail rope.  We broke for lunch from 11:30 to 12:30, eating at the Lakeview restaurant at the top of the tram.  At 12:45 we met our “go to” instructor extraordinaire, Heidi Ettlinger, for ski lessons.  She had us do some warm up technique drills and then we went over to the NV side to do multiple runs down Hotwheels Canyon off of Comet.  The snow was protected in the trees and was perfect skiing conditions.  Everyone had a great day connecting with each other, working and skiing together, and learning new tips.  Contact Trudy at trudy_nye@crpusd.org for information on women’s clinics in our region and division.

2011 Heavenly women’s clinic was held Feb. 27 on a glorious blue bird day.  We had 19 women from all over the Tahoe basin including 2 National Ski Patrol directors from Central Division, Linda Barthel, our NSP Women’s Program Director, and Sandi Hammonds, Central Div. women’s program director. We were excited to show them both our mountain and our highly successful women’s clinic now running for 14 years.  The morning was spent running sleds on the old Waterfall chair line, Waterfall run and finally on the Face.  We broke for lunch and had an informal discussion with Linda Barthel regarding women’s programs throughout NSP. At 1:00 we met our 2 ski instructors, split into 2 groups, and tore up the mountain including Mott Canyon working on our skiing techniques.  It was a great day for the clinic and the group was fantastic!  We look forward to next season’s clinic. Contact Trudy Nye at trudy_nye@crpusd.org for more information.

March 9 - 11, 2011 - Squaw Valley Spring Ski and Toboggan Seminar

For over 25 years this event has been enjoyed by patrollers from all over the Far West Division.  It provides an opportunity to handle toboggans in variable terrain and try various techniques.  Half day ski lessons taught by Squaw Valley's finest instructors will complement your sled running. 

The seminar is limited to 24 attendees and sign-ups are on a first-come basis.  The cost will be approximately $200 for the 3 days. This includes a buffet dinner on Thursday night.

This year we are trying to offer a Spouses clinic.  Why should the patrollers get all the fun?  This package includes 3 days of lift tickets and 3 half day lessons.  A substantially reduced price of approximately $280 for non-Squaw spouses will keep everyone happy. Spouses is loosely defined, as being someone associated with a participating patroller.

For more information and to sign-up visit our website at: http://www.squawskipatrol.net/portal/index.php?option=com_con tent&view=article&id=50&Itemid=70

For questions please email: 

Summary report and photos from 2010 - 13th Annual Heavenly Women’s Proficiency Clinic - 3/7/2010
What a Beautiful Day It Was!

By Trudy Nye, IOR

We had a small but mighty group of 10 ladies for this year’s toboggan and skiing clinic—6 from Heavenly, 1 from Soda Springs, 1 from Sierra and 2 from Squaw. For the first time in 3-4 years, we had clear blue skies and warmer temperatures. After a warm up run, we worked on intermediate to advanced runs, including a former chair line and Waterfall, a short but steep black diamond. Everyone was able to experience success and victory, all in an encouraging, supportive, friendly and fun environment. Thanks go out to Leilani Connolly-Anderson and Kim Ranella for their expert instruction and assistance! After wearing ourselves out with multiple sled runs, we broke for lunch at Lake View restaurant overlooking beautiful Lake Tahoe. Then we met Bea Gorman, our wonderful ski instructor who worked with each one of us to improve our skiing techniques on both groomed, ungroomed and tree runs. We ended the day on South Bowl in the sun and trees. It was a great day and everyone enjoyed the instruction and camaraderie. If you are interested in joining us in 2011, contact Trudy on the Heavenly Area Patrol website. GO GIRLS!!!

Summary report and photos from the 12th Annual Heavenly Women’s Proficiency Clinic - 2009
Another Success Story!

By Trudy Nye, TI
13 women patrollers met at Heavenly’s California side in dreary, wet weather to participate in the 12th year of women’s proficiency clinics. Ski patrols participating included Heavenly, Squaw and Dodge Ridge. By the time we headed uphill on the tram, the rain subsided and we had no precipitation for our sled handling on Waterfall, an expert but short run with lots of moguls. Everyone did a wonderful job, had a great time, improved techniques and learned new skills. All groups made 4 or 5 passes and had lots of practice and hands-on time. After breaking for lunch, we met 2 of Heavenly’s top female ski instructors and had a 3-hour lesson in the double black diamond back bowls of Mott Canyon. We finished the day taking our final run on The Face, East Bowl, hitting the bumps.
Everyone agreed that it was a great day, fantastic snow conditions, a heck of a lot of fun, and wonderful “female bonding”!!!
Every year, the Heavenly Women’s Proficiency clinic is on the last Sunday of February. Check the Heavenly Area Ski Patrol website for additional information.