From Guiding to Patrolling to Medicine – Joe’s Story

An Article written by BASP Member Joe Rosenhahn……………

Why does anybody want to become a Ski Patroller? Fun in the snow, skiing and/or snowboarding, stunning mountain panoramas, clean air, teamwork and like-minded people surely make up a big portion of that answer.  On the other hand, there is the unique medical side, the search and rescue efforts, countless hours of progressive training, early morning starts and late night finishes, managing crowds and never ending safety assessments.  The fusion of these aspects in the daily patrol job became a massive part of my life and helped me develop life skills I will always reflect upon.

However, I was definitely not ready for all of that when I first applied for the job at Nevis Range. But over time and under the guidance of fantastic colleagues, every day turned out to be another wonderful learning experience over four seasons.

Having worked as a guide in the Scottish Highlands during the summer and completing my studies at the Adventure Tourism course, I was keen for bigger things and wanted to see the world. I applied to work at a small yet seasoned guiding company located close to my hometown in Germany. I got on the with guides and clients quickly and soon went on to lead expeditions to Nepal (Mera Peak and Annapurna circuit), Kamchatka wilderness and volcano trekking, up Mount Kilimanjaro and most recently a four week trip through Bolivia, Peru and Chile (Machu Picchu, Cerro Austria, Huayana Potosi, Parinacota), with week-long trips in the Alps and Dolomites in between.

On these trips I got to see lots of snow and mountains and quickly became homesick of the Scottish Highlands. Having spent over six years there, I felt very at home in Scotland, so I came back to work for Nevis Range during the winter. However, even the Ski Patrol job left me a tad restless and in order to fill my void for new challenges, I applied for an advertised Ski Patrol position in Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Fieberbrunn, a gigantic Austrian ski resort. With my experience at Nevis Range, where extensive climber (training) scenarios are nearly as frequent as skier/snowboard rescues, I was probably over qualified for the job. Incidentally, English gets you very far, especially in big international resorts. Speaking German helped but I had colleagues who spoke very little German, yet had been working there for years.

During my time as a Ski Patroller, I experienced some situations on the job where I was only able to do so much for my patient and was forced to wait for a helicopter or other form of medical assistance. Whilst I have experienced fantastic seasons, with great colleagues and wonderful people, I was again left unfulfilled and frustrated by the end. Once more, I started looking for an opportunity to widen my horizon.

After conversing with teammates and friends, some soul searching and a good analysis of what I was missing in recent years, I have reached a conclusion and am now studying Medicine at University in Germany. Also, breaking my shoulder during the last week of season clean up and the following intense rehabilitation process got me even more interested in the medical side of things. My ultimate goal is to combine my guiding expertise and life long passions for the great outdoors with the medical profession and live at peace with my inner maniac.

I would like to thank everyone at BASP and especially my colleagues at Nevis Range for the mentoring and guidance, as it has been an unforgettable experience and one I will cherish for the rest of my life. I hope to see you all soon for a shred down the Back Corries.

Thank you for that Article Joe Rosenhahn. Everyone at BASP wishes you all the best with your new training.


All Images copyright Joe Rosenhahn.

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