The Red Room at The Auld Dubliner in the Village of Squaw Valley pays tribute to the men and women of the Squaw Valley Ski Patrol who look out for everyone’s safety on the mountain. Ski patrollers play a hugely important role at the resort, conducting avalanche control, responding to injuries on the mountain and ensuring overall safety on the mountain.
The next time you’re standing in line, waiting for ski patrol to finish their work so you can ski pow, give one of those guys and gals in the red jackets a big thank you for their tireless efforts.
One year after the death of Squaw Valley ski patroller Joe Zuiches, his wife, Mikki, tries to make sense of it all. Exactly one year ago, Joe Zuiches kissed his half-sleeping wife, Mikki, on the forehead as he left his house in the dark, at 3:30 in the morning on Jan. 24, 2017. Joe was on his way to his job as a ski patroller at Squaw Valley in California. He’d once read that you live longer if you kiss your spouse before you leave the house each day, so he always made a point to do so.
The morning after a February storm had shut down the ski resort for two days, the Sun Valley Ski Patrol started yet another day of work to open the mountain to the public. Early morning on the mountain was calm, quiet, and beautiful. As the day’s first rays lit up undisturbed snow–the first sunlight seen in several days–the red jackets filed into the patrol building on top of the mountain. Inside was warm, loud, and merry as patrollers got ready for work. The coffee pot was empty. Locker doors plastered with stickers swung open, revealing scotch-taped photos of kids, wives, and powder days.
A regular day of skiing requires a lot of gear, so you can imagine how much ski patrollers have to carry while they’re out keeping us safe on the slopes. To find out exactly what they pack, we caught up with Robin McElroy, an 11-year veteran of the Squaw Valley Ski Patrol, Alaskan heli-ski guide, and former big-mountain ski competitor.