Sydnie Van Zeeland, Pine Mountain Ski Patrol
NSP:When did you become a young adult patroller, and what led you to start patrolling?
Sydnie: I became a young adult patroller right when I turned 16. My birthday is in the summer, and the OEC class also took place over the summer. I took the class in 2015. I have been skiing since I was 18 months old, and my father has been patrolling for even longer. Every winter, I would look forward to going up skiing over winter break and seeing all the other patrollers up at the hill. Due to this, I have always wanted to join the patrol as soon as I could..
NSP: What did you find most challenging about training prior to becoming a young adult patroller?
Sydnie: The class was far harder than I anticipated, but all the work that I put in paid off, and I’m so happy for every experience that I have received after joining the patrol. Since I was younger and more petite than much of our patrol, I was intimidated by toboggan, but others on our patrol helped me overcome this fear and be my best at toboggan.
NSP: How many cups of coffee do you drink during a patrol shift?
Sydnie: Alright, I am what some people may refer to as addicted to caffeine! It might not be completely coffee, but I do consume a good amount of caffeine in a day. I am also a college student full-time, a waitress part-time, and patrol whenever I can. I love doing each of these things, but sometimes, with 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. classes, I need a few cups of soda or coffee to get stated and motivated to do anything.
NSP: Powder or groomers?
Sydnie: Groomers, with a little extra powder on top.
NSP: What have you learned the most about yourself from patrolling?
Sydnie: After patrolling for two full seasons, I have learned a lot about myself, those around me, and how to conduct myself in settings where I am one of the youngest. I also have found a way to stand out for what I do and the characteristics I present. I have learned so much about how to help people when they need it. My favorite part of patrolling is helping skiers when they are hurt and need help.
NSP: What do you find most rewarding about patrolling and being a member of the National Ski Patrol?
Sydnie: As I said before, I love helping patients. I also find working with other patrollers to be extremely rewarding. Even outside of our small patrol, at region events or patrolling at other hills, meeting new patrollers and sharing experiences is mutually beneficial for everyone.
NSP: Other than patrolling, what do you like to do for fun?
Sydnie: As I said before in the coffee question, I am a full-time student and a part-time waitress. Though school can sometimes drag on, once the semester is finished, I am happy that I suffered through it. I also love working. So those two fill up most of my week, but whenever not preoccupied by those, I love to paint, write, and read. I am a creative person, so whenever I am not studying, in class, or working, I love to let my mind wander and create, or fall into a world of its own fruition.
NSP: Do you have any advice for those interested in joining a young adult patroller program?
Sydnie: For any young patroller, the best advice I can give is to just jump right in. Don't let age stop you. If you are the youngest on the patrol, take some cases, fill out paperwork, do all the tasks to get known within your patrol. Overall, just be a nice person to everyone you meet, and have a good perspective. Being younger than everyone can have drawbacks, but it can also have advantages.