By Jennifer Von Ohlen
COKATO, DASSEL, MN After hitting the slopes for the past 17 years, 2016 Dassel-Cokato High School grad Christina Busche was recently named National Young Adult Ski Patroller for her dedication to keeping visitors safe at Powder Ridge Ski Area in Kimball.
“I honestly believed I had no chance of winning,” she stated, explaining the winner was usually someone entering the military or healthcare field. “I feel extremely grateful to the National Ski Patrol for taking the time to recognize all of the effort I have put into serving others.”
Busche started skiing when she was 2 years old, and found joy in going fast and trying new things while connecting with friends, family, and the rest of the skiing and snowboarding community.
Deciding to use her skills to benefit others, Busche followed in her mother, Maureen’s, and sister, Kelly’s footsteps, to become a ski patroller her sophomore year of high school.
“It seemed like a great opportunity to gain experience volunteering,” she said. “I also like helping people, so it was an easy decision.”
While on the job, Busche said each day starts with equipment checks and the patrollers preparing their own equipment. After that, the patrollers are on alert until called to respond.
“Once we are called to a scene, we do our best to perform rapid assessments and remove the patient to our patrol building immediately for further care,” Busche explained. From there, the patient will either walk out of the building or leave by ambulance, depending on the injury.
“It can be hard sometimes if there are a lot of patients or if it’s a long wait for an ambulance,” she said. “It’s rewarding to know that in the end, however, you helped someone through one of the scariest moments in their life.”
One of Busche’s favorite memories as a patroller is when she assisted a middle school-aged boy who hurt his arm and was crying from the pain and stress of the situation.
“I believe in the importance of bedside care, so I sat with him for an hour and a half while we waited for his mom to pick him up,” Busche recalled. “We discussed his classes, what he wanted to be once he grew up, and, believe it or not, the Kardashian family. Once he left, he was smiling and in a good mood. His arm felt much better.
“This is one of my favorite memories,” she continued, “because being able to foster a connection with someone who seems completely opposite of you can be one of the most memorable things you will ever experience.”
Even though Busche is now living in Minneapolis attending the University of Minnesota while pursuing a political science major on the route to pre-law she is still a registered patroller at Powder Ridge. However, she could not do it without support.
“I am thankful for my mom and other patrollers [who are] so willing to help me out while I am pursuing an education,” she said.
When out of the classroom, Busche interns for state Senator Melisa Franzen, and is a Linguistics Department research assistant. She hopes to one day work in public service and advocate for fair policy for all Americans.
Despite her busy schedule, Busche plans to keep patrolling the slopes.
“I am excited to learn more as I continue to work as a ski patrol and see where it takes me,” she said.