In Memoriam: John Knieriem, Ski Patroller

John Knieriem, RN, 80, died May 2, 2017, at the Elliot Hospital, surrounded by his loving family. He was born July 25, 1936, in Nyack, NY, the son of Matthew and Ethel (Kelly) Knieriem.

After high school, John enlisted in the US Army and went on to earn his BS degree in Electronic Engineering. He worked in the aerospace industry in California for some years, returning to the East coast to work for Grumman Aircraft on the lunar module that carried astronauts to the moon’s surface. He worked for other companies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, eventually settling his family in Manchester in 1973.

His wish to become more involved in the medical field led John to enroll in nursing school at the age of 61. After graduating with his RN degree, he joined the Elliot Hospital Emergency Department.  In 2005, he traveled to New Orleans with the Red Cross to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina.

John was a longtime member of the National Ski Patrol, serving over the years at Loon Mountain, Ragged Mountain, and Pat’s Peak, where he patrolled until his recent illness. In 1988, he joined the Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol at Tuckerman Ravine and became its Director in 1994, serving in that role until his passing.

He was also a member of the NH Search and Rescue Council. John was a past president and board member of the Manchester Central High Booster Club, as well as president of the board of the former Manchester Area Family Planning. John loved to ride his bicycle, for many years doing long distance rides to raise money for charities. His favorite was the MDA Trans NH ride, a three-day, 250-mile trek from the Canadian border to Portsmouth. He also enjoyed kayaking with his wife Carol and riding the seacoast with his good friends Paul and Lisa Kling. John completed the Cycle to the Clouds bicycle race up Mt. Washington, twice. In 1996, he walked the 100th Boston Marathon, proudly finishing last among the NH participants, with a time of 6:49:15.

John was a five-time cancer survivor who never let the disease stand in the way of reaching his goals. He was a beloved grandfather and enthusiastic supporter of his grandchildren’s activities and could always be found on the sidelines at their sporting events, and in the audience at every concert, dance recital and school play.

He was predeceased by his brothers Matthew, James, and Michael. John’s family includes his wife of 59 years, Carol (Freese); daughter Sandra Dunfey, RN, of Columbus, GA; sons David Knieriem and his wife Donna of Austin, TX, and Jeffrey Knieriem and his wife Claudette of Hooksett, NH; sisters Anne Knieriem of Tappan, NY, and Mary Johnston of Sun City, Arizona; brother Patrick Knieriem of Pearl River, N; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his brothers Matthew, James, and Michael.

The Knieriem family would like to thank the nursing staff of Elliot Hospital’s Fuller Unit for their thoughtful care during John’s final days.

Services:  There are no calling hours. A celebration of John’s life will be held on Saturday, June 3, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at the Manchester Country Club, 140 South River Rd., Bedford, NH (click for direction).

Donations:  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in John’s memory to either one of his two favorite charities:

  1. Queen City Bike Collective, which helps Manchester area residents ride safe, affordable bikes and have the opportunity to fix them, at www.QCBike.org.
  2. Friends of Tuckerman Ravine is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization incorporated to preserve and protect the unique alpine and sub-alpine eastern slopes of Mount Washington, NH.  John volunteered thousands of hours of his time to the good works of the Friends of Tuckerman Ravine. A special donation page was setup to honor his memory: FOTR’s John Knieriem Memorial.

Friends and family are invited to share their photos and memories of John Knieriem at the Families FACEBOOK Tribute page…

Young Adult Patroller’s take on Bolton Valley in Vermont

Prepared for anything, NH Region Adult Patroller’s (YAP) eagerly arrived at Bolton Valley in Richmond, Vermont for the Eastern Division Young Adult Patroller’s Seminar on Friday, March 17. With recent storms providing over 20 inches of new snow, the group spent most of the morning and afternoon on the slopes, running the bull wheels ragged. Dinner in the Athletic Center came after check-in, and the YAP’s made their way to their first meeting focusing on Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) equipment required for all events, throughout the weekend. Their packed schedule included training, preparations, skill tests, games, and a bit of friendly social gathering with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, woven into the mix.

There’s no sleeping-in on this trip. After an early breakfast on Saturday, all registered participants separate into four groups; OEC, Ski Skills, Toboggan Skills, and a tour of the mountain lead by their Shepherds. Each group attends one event in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Later, they were allowed some down-time at their condo to take a quick shower, then it’s back to the Athletic Center for dinner. The evening is planned with a skills game called, Minute to Win It. In addition, they have time to socialize and meet other YAP’s from around the region while enjoying conversations among their peers. The time is well spent making new friends, building confidence, and developing relationships that last for generations to come.

The next morning is an early rise with the same agenda in place. Two events in the morning and afternoon, a quick shower, then the main event they have anxiously awaited; the awards banquet! Wide participation brought young patrollers that represented eight states in the Eastern Division. We are proud to share the results of the Pat’s Peak participants who reached the following achievements in five categories.

Skiing Skills Toboggan Skills OEC Skills Patient Assessment Skills Overall Achievement
Alex Rousseau 2nd Alex Rousseau 2nd Alex Rousseau 23rd Alex Rousseau 2nd Alex Rousseau 4th
Emilee Harlow 7th Emilee Harlow 5th Emilee Harlow 18th Emilee Harlow 4th Emilee Harlow 5th
Jeremiah Tickner 15th Jeremiah Tickner 14th Jeremiah Tickner 28th Jeremiah Tickner 17th Jeremiah Tickner  18th
Ethan Case 29th Ethan Case 32nd Ethan Case 34th Ethan Case 8th Ethan Case 36th

For these patrollers, this annual event becomes more than a number or place setting. It’s finding the courage to advance from the young adults we currently know, into strong leaders of the future. To learn more about the Young Adult Program, follow this link to Eastern Division NSP’s YAP webpage.

Roger H. Damon, Jr. – 70 Years Active Service as an NSP Member

Uploaded 06-24-2011 229On May 28, 2016 (the hottest day of spring thus far), my wife Susan and I trekked up to Tuckerman’s Ravine on Mount Washington to attend the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol’s (MWVSP) end-of-season activities. It was a beautiful day and, while the parking lot at Pinkham Notch was full, we did not encounter very many skiers/hikers on the trail. A few intrepid skiers headed up into the bowl, but with limited terrain and dangerous icefall, the retreat back down was pretty quick.

Although there was some activity around the Ravine and Mountain, it was a pretty relaxing afternoon leading into what could only be deemed a feast of epic proportions (no nuts and berries here!!). We started the fiesta with some wonderful shrimp cocktail (see where this going??), cheese and vegetable platters, and grilled meats – who doesn’t love that. Then, the main course featured salads, pasta and homemade meatballs, three varieties of sauce, and French bread. As if that were not enough, it was homemade pies and freshly churned ice cream (not kidding) for everyone. I would dare say that you would not get a finer meal down town and all well worth the hike up……

Then, it was time to get down to business. While the meal, frivolity, and camaraderie were great, I attended for a very specific reason. In the absence of our annual banquet, there were a couple of awards that very much needed to be presented – awards that may be once in a lifetime. Oh sure, I have awarded National Appointments, and conferred many service awards to very experienced, longstanding patrollers. However, what I would do on this evening, I doubt that few in my position will ever have the opportunity or enjoyment.

On this May evening, it was my honor to present to Mr. Roger H. Damon, Jr. National Ski Patrol’s Distinguished Service Award. This award is presented to individuals who have performed extraordinary service to the National Ski Patrol and the skiing and riding public. And, before you think that this might not be such a monumental event, as there are many of these given out each year, what made this evening so extraordinarily special was the simultaneous presentation of an award recognizing completion of Mr. Damon’s 70th season as an active, patrolling member of the National Ski Patrol. Yes, I did say 70th season!!!!

image1

From Left to Right: Bob Strauten, Patrol Director, MWVSP; Lisa Kling, Assistant Region Director; Roger Damon, MWVSP; and, Paul Kelly, NH Region Director

In my presentation of these awards, I noted the exceptional commitment required to be a member of this particular patrol. As many of you know, patrolling at Tuckerman’s Ravine on Mount Washington is quite unique. There are no lifts here to get you to your duty station – reporting for duty at this area generally requires a 2.4-mile hike over a 2000-foot elevation change, while frequently carrying a backpack with upwards of 50 pounds of gear and supplies. Oh sure, there is the occasional ride in the U.S. Forest Service snow cat. But in a season like we have just had, those were few and far between. In Mr. Damon’s case, I’m not sure the correct superlative exists to describe his level of commitment, having served the last 48 years of active membership as a patrolling member of the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol.

image1-1

The Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol and U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers

In addition to his service, Mr. Damon has been quite active in the avalanche program and is credited with developing and teaching NSP’s first basic and advanced avalanche training courses in the Eastern United States. He also taught an avalanche workshop for the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) at Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire. This AMC course proved to be popular for the general public as it provided a full day of fieldwork in avalanche terrain including terrain analysis, snowpack stability assessment, and probe line management. For his contributions to the Avalanche Training Program, the Eastern Division of the National Ski Patrol in 2013 named an award for Mr. Damon, the “Roger H. Damon Jr Eastern Division Avalanche Award,” for which he was the first recipient.

Also of note, the U.S. Forest Service team staffing Hermit Lake is losing two key members, as Lead Snow Ranger Chris Joosen and Snow Ranger Jeff Lane will be moving on from their posts. Given their level of experience on Mount Washington, and the close relationship they developed with the MWVSP team, both will be sorely missed. While here, I also had the opportunity to thank them and to present each with a small gift in appreciation of their efforts to keep skiers and riders safe while on the mountain, and for providing outstanding education to many NH Region members over the years.

Paul Kelly
NH Region Director

February Clinic Schedule

The following clinics are being offered by the NH Region during the month of February 2016. Detailed information on each of these events can be found by clicking on the Calendar tab above. Don’t miss out…..season is going fast……register today!!!!

  • February 10, 17, 24, 2016 – Indoor Senior OEC Series (see schedule for topics and location)
  • February 13, 2016 – Young Adult S&T Clinic – Cannon Mountain
  • February 14, 2016 – Women’s S&T Clinic – Gunstock Mountain
  • February 14, 2016 – Senior OEC Clinic – Black Mountain
  • February 20, 2016 – Senior OEC Clinic – Crotched Mountain
  • February 21, 2016 – Toboggan Enhancement Clinic – Black Mountain
  • February 28, 2016 – Senior S&T Pre-Evaluation Clinic – Loon Mountain
  • February 28, 2016 – Senior OEC Clinic – Pats Peak

Please contact us if you have any questions.  Enjoy the balance of the ski season……

Paul Kelly

NH Region Director

January Clinic Schedule

Hi Everyone – Happy New Year!!

The following clinics are being offered by the NH Region during the month of January 2016. Detailed information on each of these events can be found by clicking on the Calendar tab above. Don’t miss out……register today!!!

  • January 10, 2016  –  Toboggan Enhancement Clinic – Ragged Mountain
  • January 10, 2016  –  Senior S&T Clinic – Ragged Mountain
  • January 17, 2016  –  Toboggan Enhancement Clinic – Crotched Mountain
  • January 17, 2016  –  Senior S&T Clinic – Crotched Mountain
  • January 17, 2016  –  Toboggan Enhancement Clinic – King Pine
  • January 17, 2016  –  Senior S&T Clinic – King Pine
  • January 22/23, 2016  –  Patroller School – Sunday River, ME **
  • January 23/24, 2016 – MTR II – Ragged Mountain
  • January 24, 2016  –  Skier Enhancement Clinic – Waterville Valley ***
  • January 31, 2016  –  Senior S&T Clinic – Waterville Valley

**This event is run by the EMARI Region – please see specific registration instructions.

***This clinic has limited availability – please register as soon as possible to reserve your space!!

Please contact us if you have any questions. Watch this space for a listing of February clinics soon. Have a great winter.

Paul Kelly

NH Region Director

Let it Snow!!!

Although, for the moment, Mother Nature is not cooperating with abundant snows, or with the fine men and women that work so hard to cover our slopes with snow, I know that the members of the NH Region will be prepared when called upon, as our membership has for more than 75 years. The refreshers are complete, we have practiced evacuating our lifts, and our skis are sharpened, waxed, and ready to go. Welcome to a brand new season.

Snow or not, the NH Region has been busily preparing for the season seemingly since the last chair raised the last patroller for the last run of the 2014/2015 season. These efforts have resulted in more than 20 new OEC certified patrollers, new instructors, and a calendar full of clinics to help you build or refine your skills.

As you can read about elsewhere on the sight, we had an outstanding turnout for the Mountain Travel and Rescue event in November; we held an ‘Introduction to the Senior Program’ night to provide information and answer questions; and, registration is currently open for clinics to be held throughout the season.

So, although you might not have taken your first runs of the season as yet…don’t worry, you will soon. In the meantime, why not take a look at the clinics scheduled and commit yourself to improving your skills this season??

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the new season.

Paul Kelly

NH Region Director

What I did on my summer vacation….

While for obvious reasons I tend to take more time off during the winter season, I do like a little down time during summer for other pursuits. This year, I did not go to Cape Cod, Hawaii, or Disney World, instead I went to Harrison, Maine.

Harrison, Maine, you ask. What in the world is in Harrison, Maine? Well, there is a beautiful lake there where my wife, Susan, and I camped and swam, went boating, picnicked, and sat around giant bonfires telling tales of what else……skiing and ski patrolling. And, while all of this sounds great, there is one more fact about Harrison, Maine, that drew us to this small Maine town some 30 miles northwest of Portland……..that is, it is the home of the Certified Bootcamp.

Certified Group Pic

Now, the word ‘bootcamp’ probably conjures up some images in your mind of early morning calisthenics, including perhaps a 10-mile run and hundreds of push-ups. However, this is really not a proper descriptor of this event. While an early morning ski down the glassy lake is a possibility, or a swim to get the blood going, that is the extent of it, and all voluntary. Instead, based on your interest, what this event offers is a low key, stress free, learning opportunity, and for certain patrollers, a comprehensive look into what would be expected of them as a Certified Patroller candidate. I emphasize the phrase, “based on your interest,” because what you will find here is a collection of people with different interests. You will find serious Certified Patroller candidates that are just entering the program, or those that may be at some stage of completing the program; patrollers that are trying to determine if the program is right for them; patrollers that are trying to learn about the program; those that don’t have any intention of pursuing the designation, but like the training provided and camaraderie of the event; and, numerous family and friends that support the program in ways too numerous to count.

It goes without saying that skiing and toboggan handling are not part of this event, although, like long lost cousins, we certainly gave them some thought. Instead, on Saturday, we moved through a number of both active and interview stations. On the active side, we worked on lift evacuation, avalanche, and low angle rescue skills. While I certainly had takeaways in each area, I think foremost is my need to work on knot-tying skills, and I also developed a newfound appreciation for the latest in avalanche beacon technology. The interview stations included management, hill safety, and accident investigation. The depth and extent of the information discussed in each of these areas I found to be very informative – and for anyone that hasn’t read ANSI B77 in a while, let me just say there is a lot of valuable information contained in there. In each of the areas noted, the Certified members leading the station work to mine your intellect for information that you might already possess but haven’t thought about lately, make suggestions of where good information on a topic might be, and generally get you to understand the thinking that goes into the interview process. Additionally, a fair number of cues are also provided as a heads-up to those that may be pursing the Certified Patroller designation. Most importantly, however, is that learning was happening at each of these stations, by all different levels of patrollers.

On Sunday, we began the day with an MCI scenario, where participants worked through a patroller’s funhouse, where there awaited a maze of patients for which the patrollers had to make triage decisions. This was followed by several challenging, but manageable OEC scenarios, including patients injured by explosion, adaptive skier injuries, pediatric trauma, etc. Again, depending on why you were participating, this part of the program provided positive feedback to all participants as well as things to consider when conducting assessments and providing care and treatment to your patients.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also note the opportunity that attendees had to meet, network, and bond with fellow patrollers from far and wide. In addition to each of the New England states, there were also patrollers attending from New York, Pennsylvania, and as far away as North Carolina.

In summary, it would be hard for me not to recommend that everyone consider attending a future Certified Bootcamp. The leaders of this event, all volunteers, work hard to ensure that there is a positive learning environment for all, that you meet your personal objective for being there, that when you leave you understand what the Certified Program is about, and that you did it while also having an enjoyable experience (without layer upon layer of warm clothing or the threat of frostbite or hypothermia). Will I become a Certified Patroller candidate in the near future – well, I’m not sure about that. However, I am looking forward to my next trip to Harrison, Maine to see what else I can learn and to demonstrate fully my knot tying proficiency……….

Paul Kelly

NH Region Director

In Memory of Kevin Whitley

Kevin Whitley celebrating his most recent birthday

Kevin Whitley celebrating his most recent birthday

10806282_742318662513340_5387559540653790949_n

The Whitley Family with Daughter Hannah, Ray in the center and Kevin

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Kevin Whitley. Kevin (19), son of Ragged Mountain Patroller Ray Whitley, was critically injured in a skateboarding accident in Dunbarton, NH on Sunday, July 12, 2015. Kevin was a constant presence at Ragged Mountain, often found on his snowboard at his father’s side, and always with a smile on his face. This is a tremendous loss to the Ragged Mountain Patrol and New Hampshire Region family. We ask that you remember Kevin in your prayers.

Ray Whitley has asked anyone who wishes to make a donation in Kevin Whitley’s name to choose for one of the following:

The New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-NH 603-225-5359) in Concord, NH.  NAMI is a grassroots non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by mental illness.

New Hampshire Audubon, (NHAdubon.org or 603-224-9909) a nonprofit statewide membership organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and habitat throughout the state. Independent of the National Audubon Society, NHA has offered programs in wildlife conservation, land protection, environmental policy, and environmental education since 1914.

Follow the links for information or call direct.

Paul Kelly
NH Region Director

To YAP….or not to YAP

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  CONGRATULATIONS TO PAT’S PEAK YOUNG ADULT PATROLLER AND VALUED NEW HAMPSHIRE REGION MEMBER, ABI LENT, FOR WINNING THE EASTERN DIVISION YAP SEMINAR AND PLACING FIRST OVERALL IN THE OEC COMPETITION.  WE ARE ALL VERY PROUD OF YOU, ABI!!!!

ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT UPDATE:  CONGRATULATIONS TO PAT’S PEAK YOUNG ADULT PATROLLER AND VALUED NEW HAMPSHIRE REGION MEMBER, LEXI KENDRICK, FOR WINNING THE HANS HYSON MEMORIAL AWARD FOR LEADERSHIP.  WAY TO GO, LEXI!!!!

It’s Sunday evening and I have just returned from the 2014/2015 Young Adult Patroller Seminar held at Jiminy Peak Resort in Hancock, Massachusetts.  This year, despite the fact that SATs were being held for college bound students, more than 50 Young Adult Patrollers from across the Eastern Division attended, participated and competed in this annual event.  In addition to training and competition, the event provides the student patrollers with the opportunity to network with their peers from across the Division, from Maine all the way to North Carolina.  A contingent from the New Hampshire Region attended the seminar and, while not a large group, they certainly represented the Region very well.  It is also important to note that several of our adult patrollers attended as chaperones, and we thank them for their commitment and dedication to this very important segment of our population.

As for my role in this weekend, I had the distinct honor of evaluating our fine student patrollers as they competed on the hill in Ski & Toboggan events (skiing, toboggan handling, and skills).  Despite the weather – typical New England with rain all day Saturday and snow/sleet all day Sunday – the students gave all they had to try to earn the coveted awards handed out at this evening’s closing banquet.  I have to tell you how impressed I was as not one student complained about the weather, the conditions, or what they were being asked to do – they just did it, and did it well.  In addition to the competition, there were also clinics where lesser experienced Young Adult Patrollers got to work and gain some experience and confidence in the different areas.  I am impressed at how much and how quickly they learn.

So, to the title of my article – To YAP…or not to YAP.  My question…..is your mountain YAPping or not?  If so, thank you to your commitment to the Young Adult Patrollers and the future of the National Ski Patrol.  If not, what is holding you back?  Ask anyone involved with one of these programs what it means to a young person to be given the responsibilities of a patroller, or how implementing/developing a Young Adult Patrol at your mountain can re-vitalize your patrol, and you better sit down for a while because it will be long, positive conversation.  The student patrollers are smart, motivated and energetic, and will challenge you daily to teach them something new.  If you are interested in starting a Young Adult Patroller program at your mountain, or if you have a Young Adult Patroller and would like them to get involved with other Young Adult Patrollers across the Region/Division, please feel free to contact our Regional Young Adult Program Advisor for details.

Paul Kelly

NH Region Director

Ready, Set, Go!!!!

Welcome to the 2014/2015 ski season. At this writing, Arapahoe Basin, Ski Loveland (both in Colorado), and Sunday River and Killington (Eastern Resorts) are once again operating. We can all collectively sigh in relief that our favorite time of year is here (or almost here)!!!

A few notes as we enter the new season:

1. The New Hampshire Region held its first annual golf tournament in October, with the proceeds benefiting the members of our Young Adult Program. Held on an absolutely terrific New England fall day, we had approximately 40 participants, including many patrollers, join us in our fundraising effort. The golf tournament was a great success due to the generosity of our players and sponsors. A special thanks to the following sponsors (please click on the table to get links to their websites):

Golf Sponsors 2014Please stay tuned for information on next year’s tournament!!!

2. It’s that time again………..In addition to all of the local and national elections, the National Ski Patrol also has a very important election this fall for five National Board seats. There are eleven members on the ballot including several from the Eastern Division. Profiles for all the candidates are available for you to review. Alternatively, the Eastern Division Board of Directors has rank ordered the candidates and this list is available here for your review. Regardless of whom you vote for, please exercise your right as a member of the National Ski Patrol and cast a vote for those you would like to represent you. If you do not have a user name and password, or you forgot your password, please contact the National Office to have your credentials reset.

3. The calendar is starting to be populated with dates for New Hampshire Region training clinics, including Avalanche, Mountain Travel and Rescue, and Senior OEC and S&T clinics. Please take the opportunity now to review the clinic offerings and sign up……you’ll be glad you did!!!

4. The Region’s S&T Advisor and Senior OEC Advisor will hold an introduction to the Senior Program meeting on Friday, November 14, 2014, at 6:30pm at McIntyre Ski Area in Manchester, New Hampshire. This is a great opportunity to find out more information about the Senior Program and to meet some patrollers from other areas. Please click here for more information.

I hope everyone has a great ski season. Get out and get involved in your Region!!!

Paul Kelly
NH Region Director