Dividing one’s time nearly equally between working as an attorney and on ski patrol is not a common situation, but for Scott Hill, it works great. He stressed the importance of keeping active as one approaches retirement, or is in retirement, and that working with others on ski patrol “adds to my life.” This winter of 2017-18 marks his 21st year of working on ski patrol.
He moved from Utah to Spokane to attend law school at Gonzaga back in the 80s but had actually begun ski patrol work at Solitude Mountain Ski Resort in Utah prior to that. He’s the second generation to do this work as his dad, now 85, still works at Solitude.
He graduated with a law degree from Gonzaga in 1992 and has worked primarily in private practice. He has his own shop, which provides the opportunity to devote more time to Silver Mountain Ski Resort in Kellogg than might be possible if he were working elsewhere.
“My kids are grown,” he commented, “so I don’t have to make a million dollars a year. I’m able to do mostly weekend work on the mountain.”
He also emphasized that his work doesn’t just involve skiing, but mountain biking as well. “I’m up there pretty much three days a week most of the year.”
Silver Mountain ski patrol is an Emergency Medical Services agency.
“I think it’s one of two or three ski patrols in Idaho that are EMS agencies. This means that, in addition to hiring people certified through National Ski Patrol (NSP), we can also hire EMT’s,” said Hill. “It creates a bigger pool to hire from and brings people with a little different skill set. We’ve maintained that mix for close to 15 years.”
He is the Medical Systems Coordinator, and he also heads up the Mountain Host program, which is in its second year.
Snowbird originated the host program, which most major resorts have implemented, so Hill has used his connections at Snowbird to design and implement the volunteer program at Kellogg’s Silver Mountain.
“A host will meet and greet people when they arrive in the morning and will answer questions,” he explained, “We kind of get everyone heading toward the mountain, and we spend time on the mountain, looking for people who are having problems. We’re there to make sure that folks are enjoying it as much as possible.”
Hosts also monitor speed on the slopes.
“If there are areas where people like to go really fast, and there’s congestion, hosts will show up and remind everybody they should ski a little slower” said Hill. “It puts a good face on the mountain and is a positive development.”
The number of these volunteers has grown over the two years the host program has been in effect, and it likely will continue to grow.
Another major feature of the ski patrol program is the value to those in the program.
Hill watched his dad host for more than 20 years, and he never forgot what his father told him years ago.
“Skiing is great, but it’s really neat to be on the mountain with a purpose. It’s not just about the skiing, it’s about being part of an organization, enjoying what you’re doing, but also remaining active and being part of something,” said Hill. “I think it’s kept him young.”
Hill has a passion for skiing, but being a part of ski patrol and volunteering to host on the hill has made it all the more enjoyable.
“I consider that group up there on the mountain my second family—my mountain family. It adds to my life,” he said.
During his college years, Hill drove an ambulance. What he observed during that experience directs his life to some degree, even today.
It’s a philosophy many seniors should consider, he explained.
“I could see the difference in people that just decided they weren’t going to move anymore but just sat down and watched TV,” he said. “Not only were their lives slower, but you could tell they were miserable. There was no light in their eyes. The sooner you start finding ways that you’ll be able to extend into those years, the better off you’ll be.”
Hill added that it needn’t be skiing, but that it is important to be involved with something.
“As we move forward in life, whether it’s 50, 60, or 70, being part of something not only will it make that something better, but will make you better as well.” ISI