National Ski Patrol     A Brief History of its Founding

 

In the 30's Roland Palmedo, who had learned to ski in Germany, took many trips to Europe.  On at least one of those trips he saw the Swiss Patrol in Davos.  As an early organizer and skier with the Mount Mansfield ski club, he saw the need for a local patrol.  Shortly afterward, the club formed a committee and established a patrol to cover the mountains and hills surrounding Stowe, Vermont.

Charles Minot "Minnie" Dole
In January of 1936, Charles Minot "Minnie" Dole became the first skier seriously injured at Stowe.  He broke his leg and the patrol rescued him.  With this he gained first hand knowledge of the value of a patrol.  Two months later, "Minnie's" close friend, Frank Edison was killed in a ski racing on Mt. Greylock in the Berkshires.  Edison's injuries should not have been fatal and probably would not have been if skilled care had been rendered at the scene of the accident.  
In March of 1938, Roger F. Langley, then president of the National Ski Association, attended the National Downhill and Slalom Championship at Mt. Mansfield in Stowe, Vermont. On this visit, he was to serve as a referee for the event. A very young, William Robinson, who lived near Roger, was with him that day. He positioned himself and William half way up the Nose Dive Trail. At some point during the race, Charles Minot "Minnie" Dole, who had organized a volunteer patrol for the race, made his way up to them through the heavy snow at the trail’s edge.

Roger F. Langley

During the course of their conversation, Roger told "Minnie" how impressed he was with the organization of the Mt. Mansfield Ski Patrol. He asked "Minnie" to consider organizing a national patrol along the same lines as what already existed there.   "Minnie" told Roger he would consider it, but first wanted to discuss it with Roland Palmedo, Dick Durrance, Bob Livermore and some of the other racers at the place he was staying. 

 That evening he spoke with each of them.  Roland Palmedo did not recommend "Minnie's" thanking the chair position on such a large venture, but "Minnie" reported back to Roger the next day that they all thought it was a fine idea and that he would be delighted to be the chairman of the National Ski Patrol Committee of the National Ski Association.  Thus, upon the urging of Roger Langley, Charles Minot "Minnie" Dole soon founded the National Ski Patrol.

Roger recounted the founding of the National Ski Patrol in an article that appeared in the summer 1986 edition of Ski Patrol Magazine. "Chatting with him ("Minnie" Dole), I expressed my appreciation for the well planned arrangements for the race, complementing him on the excellent preparation and asked him what he thought of a National Ski Patrol. Minnie asked surprised, ‘Is there one?’ I said that there was not, but that we could have one if he would consider being chairman of a National Ski Patrol Committee." Roger and Minnie became quite good friends after that. They had conversations almost daily and attended various meetings together.

 

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