Toboggan Training

Outdoor Emergency Transportation (OET) is unique to the National Ski Patrol. The Transportation Program offers guidelines for area management to use to set the standard of training for its patrollers who operate toboggans.

Alpine or "Hill" Patrol are required to be proficient in toboggan skills from the top of Chair 2. This course is taught over 4-6 weekends, both days.

Yearly refreshers are broken down this way:

  • Half-day: lower hill, Sled set-up and transport, front/rear handles and rope, fundamental stance, direction change
  • Half-day: upper hill, front/rear handles and rope, chain, direction change, communication, fall line and traversing

Below are the basic techniques we use at Alpental when teaching toboggan handling:

Alpental Toboggan Introduction


Part 1: Non Sled Drills

Covers stance thru a progression of non sled drills.

Stance and balance, rope a goat, static tail rope, boot top traverse, praying mantis, the penguin, side-slip, falling leaf, the pump, moving tail rope, sliding hand, anchor hand.

Part 2: Sled Loading

Two techniques for lift loading a toboggan at Alpental.

Loading safety, lap loading with four people, communication, body position, sled loader.

Part 3: Control Surfaces

Demonstration of key features of the Cascade 350 and Cascade 100 toboggans.

Cascade 350: Handles, chain break, control surfaces, tail rope, locking pins.
Cascade 100: Locking handles.

Part 4: Sled Drills

Demonstration of empty sled through advanced loaded sled technique.

Empty sled, kick turn, uphill hand forward, weight transfer, speed control, power stance, the pump, one-hand drill, wheelbarrow, communication, loaded sled, tail rope, rear handles, chain break, route selection, falling leaf.

Part 5: Error Correction

Common errors and how to correct them.

Communication, body position, hip rotation, timing turns.

Part 6: Health, Safety and Wrap-Up

Discussion of health and safety.

Fitness and fatigue, communication, exercises, stretching, avoiding crowded areas, explain drill, demonstrate, do the drill.

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