Fédération Internationale des Patrouilles de Ski (FIPS) provides the world forum for national ski patrol and associated ski safety organisations. These national patrol organisations are comprised of ski patrollers, physicians, lawyers, engineers, technicians, ski equipment instructors, ski area managers, etc., who are all involved in the multi-disciplinary activities of ski patrolling.
The concept of FIPS can be traced back prior to 1979 when the first meeting was held in Calgary, Canada. Although there were many ski patrols in existence at that time, there was very little communication between them. Patrollers who had the opportunity to ski in other countries noticed differences and some commonality in procedures and standards relative to their own. In addition, accident prevention programmes were being implemented in some countries but not in others. A number of countries did not have a national ski patrol organisation.
FIPS was created as the world forum for ski patrollers to meet, exchange ideas and compare the latest in patrol techniques on a regular basis. FIPS is supported by national patrol organisations, both large and small, to provide the necessary input and to offer potential solutions to patrolling issues.
Not all patrols gain the same benefits from FIPS. Indeed there are many that give a lot more than they receive. This sharing is the essence of FIPS. As more and more countries join FIPS, the interchange of ideas can only improve the effectiveness of ski patrolling and, in turn, benefit the snow sports public.
FIPS exists due to the combined efforts of interested patrollers, individual ski patrols and national patrol organisations. With their help, FIPS will continue to grow in size and stature, and will continue to ensure patrollers deliver the best services possible to the skiing public.
FIPS, incorporated in Canada, has a Board of Directors representing the member countries and a supporting volunteer secretariat of President, Secretary, Treasurer and other cooped members. The FIPS Executive regularly meets via Skype and manages the day-to-day activities of the organisation. FIPS funding is from organisation membership fees and by patroller attendance at the biennial Congresses.
Specific FIPS Projects
Over the years FIPS has initiated a number of specific projects relevant to patrollers:
- Issues of the legal aspects of ski patrolling
- Investigation of injuries to ski patrollers while on patrol
- Documentation of member country’s training, qualification and recognition together with comparison of the training modules
- Recommendations on medical approaches to some specific ski injuries
- Establishment and maintenance of the FIPS web site – www.fips-skipatrol.org
Special Interest Groups
FIPS has established a number of Special Interest Groups to provide a focus on specific areas of common interest: Medical, Avalanche, Legal and Technology. The SIGs liaise regularly, coordinate with other organisations such as the International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR) and lead specific sessions at the FIPS congresses.
Since its inception, FIPS members have gathered approximately every two-year for a Congress at a ski resort in one of the member countries. These congresses provide an opportunity for ski patrollers from around the globe to learn from each other, grow together and benefit from each other’s experiences.
Congresses have been held in Canada, USA, Chile, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Sweden, Scotland, Italy and France.
At the congresses there are formal presentations, practical workshops, demonstrations and discussion groups. Some of the topics covered have included skier safety, training and education, medical aspects, innovations, statistics, injury types, disabled skiers, avalanche, evacuation techniques, administration of drugs, cross-country and downhill patrolling, snow board injuries, legal aspects, search and rescue, extended care, avalanche, updates from the various countries, etc. The FIPS Board of Directors also meets during each congress.
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- UK (Scotland)
In addition there are a number of associate members.
Upcoming FIPS Congress in 2019 in Argentina
The next congress will be in Bariloche, Argentina from 7-14 September 2019.
Congress information is now available and has been circulated to all Australian Patrol Directors with an invitation extended for registration of patroller attendees.
In line with previous practice, the ASPA Executive is offering an Early Bird Congress Registration as financial support to enable up to two Australian Patrollers to attend the Congress. ASPA expects a selected patroller to make a considerable contribution to the ASPA participation in the Congress. After the event the patrollers are expected to assist with reporting on the congress back to Australian patrollers.
Note: the Closing date for applications is 1st February 2019. This date is necessary to allow the selection process to be completed prior to the early bird registration closing date.
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Website – www.fips-skipatrol.org
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