While most of Verbier is enjoying breakfast and sipping on a nice cup of warm coffee, the piste patrollers are already hard at work checking safety conditions and preparing the mountain for the day ahead. This is only the start of their long day – often in dangerous and challenging conditions. Gitgo and Faction captured behind-the-scene footage of a day in the life of ‘Les Patrouilleurs De Verbier’…
“We start work before everyone, finish after all the clients, but it’s really a good job as it’s so varied. Every day out skiing. My father is a patroller also, he knows the work, he knows the risk – he knows the pleasure also. For me, to ski every day during the winter season is really a pleasure. My name is Louis Roggo – I am a patroller at Téléverbier.
Verbier is a very mountainous area. It’s very high, and that involves a high risk of avalanche. The work is very physical. We have a meeting early morning, we check the snow and see if there is new snow. It works like that to see if we need to do avalanche bombing. In the morning we each have a ridgeline. We go down there and check the area near the piste, but if there has been an avalanche on a slope of more than 30 degrees then we must release all excess snow on all aspects. We prepare the explosives early morning, then we go in the ski area and assess if there is a danger of avalanche and if there is, we start to use the explosives.”
“In the morning we have a little chat, then we hit the piste, to see if we have new snow or wind, then we decide if we need to do a bombing or not. For me, it is the best job in the world. It’s sweet, all day on skis. I mean, that’s what I wanted to do – spend every day skiing. I have a qualification in health care, and first aid always interested me… I work in the Verbier ski area. We have a beautiful landscape, an amazing view every day – my name is Megan and I am a patroller.”
“Well, we have to be aware of the weather conditions, the temperature and the wind and the depth of fresh snow. Also, if it’s a good bond or not between the layers of snow. The work? Well, it can be dangerous, but we try to make it as safe as possible. Of course we have confidence in our equipment, we have the backpack with airbag – that’s a good thing in fresh snow – also the transceiver, but most of all our colleagues. For me, the work as a pisteur is to be useful on the mountain, to ensure the safety of the clients in the ski area. My name is Jonathan Vandersteen and I’m a patroller in Verbier.”