Nordic Patrol is a volunteer program to enhance the safety of winter visitors in the backcountry of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state. Teams of Nordic Patrollers tour the trails and slopes around Paradise on weekends and holidays. They perform "preventive search and rescue" -- marking safe trails, assisting visitors and being a visible presence in the backcountry. In the process, Patrollers enjoy some of the best skiing and snowshoeing in the Cascades.
In emergencies, some Patrollers assist with search and rescue of lost or injured visitors. SAR is a new operating unit within Nordic Patrol. SAR Patrollers receive training in skills that qualify and prepare them to switch into search and rescue mode on short notice on weekends and holidays when the park is busiest.
A special web site and calendar with weekend patrol sign-up options is provided to approved Patrollers.
How it began
WSTC organized the volunteer Nordic Patrol at Mount Rainier National Park in 1993. After the tragic disappearance of a club member on the Muir snowfield in 1992, club members banded together with Rangers to conduct an exhaustive search. During the days of searching a bond developed between Rangers and club members. Then WSTC President Stan Davis spearheaded the effort to create the Nordic Patrol the following season.
Through the years, dozens of WSTC members contributed their time and skill to patrolling and received recognition from the National Park Service. Accolades have also come from the families of people who were rescued by the Nordic Patrol.
In 2017, after 24 successful years of operation by WSTC in partnership with Mt. Rainier National Park, Nordic Patrol became the Mt. Rainier chapter of National Ski Patrol.