In 1940, Dr. Douglas Firth was asked by the Canadian Amateur Ski Association (CASA) to organize and train a first aid rescue group to patrol the ski hills. The Canadian Ski Patrol System was originally a standing committee of the CASA with independent patrols in different areas. During the years between 1941 and 1948, the war restricted expansion, but the Toronto and Montreal Patrols united to form the nucleus of a national organization. During the next five years, the System expanded in Ontario, Quebec and the Vancouver area.
Skiing mushroomed in the years 1955-59 and the CSPS grew to 408 patrollers. This, in spite of the Vancouver area seceding from the System because of a breakdown in communications. The increased size of the organization made some form of representative government necessary, so in 1957, the By-Laws were amended to have the National President elected by the Zone Presidents.
In the spring of 1961, the CSPS was accredited as a National Charity and became independent of the CASA. Registration had grown to 650 patrollers with expansion into Lakehead, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton, In August of 1962, we received our Letters Patent which incorporated the System as a national Non-profit Corporation and we raised our registration to approximately 1,000 patrollers.
In 1963, the first Board of Directors was elected by Zone Presidents at the Annual Meeting. The National Executive was restructured into departments with a National Vice-President in charge of a group of departments.
In 1964, the registration was 1,570 patrollers. By this time skiing had become a family sport with approximately 500,000 participants in Canada. It was decided that we could no longer operate without a paid secretary, so, in November of 1965, the System opened a small office and employed a full time secretary to take care of the ever-mounting requirements for correspondence and communication. The first national First Aid competitions were held in 1963, 1964 and 1965.
During 1965-66 we continued to expand both east and west, opening an Atlantic Division and a Zone which covers a very broad area in the interior of BC. In 1966, approximately 2,200 patrollers were registered.
In 1969, registration of the CSPS was 2,500 patrollers. Saskatchewan division was formed in 1970. The Atlantic Division split into Atlantic East and West Divisions in 1974.
By 1975, registration had reached 4,200 patrollers.
The Management Committee was established in 1978 to handle the operation of the System. The following year the CSPS moved its Head Office to a location purchased in the Ottawa region and expanded its permanent staff to improve record keeping, administration and continuity at the National level.
Over the past few years, the CSPS has changed to the CSP – Canadian Ski Patrol. And we have also changed our logo and uniforms to reflect a cleaner, more modern look, adopting a red leaf with a white cross, with black and red uniforms, which you have seen or will see over the next few seasons!
And here we are now, CELEBRATING 75 YEARS! And consistently working on accident prevention, safety with our resort partners, patroller education, area management relations, on-site programs and public education and awareness.