Ragged Mountain Ski Patroller Bob Winslow honored for 50 years of service at Camden Snow Bowl

Mon, 11/06/2023 - 6:00am

    CAMDEN — It has been 50 years since Camden Snow Bowl ski patroller Robert Winslow first began rescuing injured skiers on Ragged Mountain, bundling them onto toboggans and bringing them down in all kinds of weather and conditions. His dedication to putting on red jacket and helping those in distress has never been stronger, and early Sunday morning, Nov. 5, he was at the mountain at 7 a.m., ready to train younger patrollers in his friendly and quiet way, though every now and then, you might hear his booming laughter. 

    Winslow knows the work of emergency rescue well – he is also an EMT with Belfast Fire and Ambulance, and has worked there, he reckons, “maybe 37 or 38 years.”

    It is a lifetime of public service on top of a teaching career in the Belfast school system, and coaching young swimmers. Winslow is equally comfortable in the snow, the classroom or in and on the water, instructing and helping wherever he can. In 2021, he was inducted to the Maine Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame, after coaching for 48 seasons. He has served on the Waldo County YMCA Board of Directors, and currently sits of the Belfast City Harbor Advisory Committee.

    On Nov. 5, officials of the National Ski Patrol Maine Region and Winslow’s fellow Ragged Mountain patrollers honored him with a surprise and enthusiastic ceremony, presenting him with a commemorative plaque, and a large cake.

    Winslow doesn't reminisce about the old days at the Snow Bowl, but he remembers it all. Fifty years ago, the faces of those patrolling the hill were entirely different. 

    “No one is left now,” he said. 

    It all started when he took a job teaching in Belfast in the early 1970s. Ray Latarte, who owned a ski shop in Westbrook, had originally suggested Winslow try his hand at patrolling. That was when Winslow was skiing at Pleasant Mountain, in Bridgton, and Mt. Abram, in Greenwood.

    Then, he took the Belfast teaching job, and landed in the Midcoast with his skis. 

    “When I started here, all you needed for training was a Red Cross 40-hour certificate,” he said. “One day, there were three serious accidents here. I had the help of several younger patrollers — Mike Payson was one of them. After doing that, I said, ‘I’ve got to know more than I know now.’”

    Since then, he’s gotten to know an awful lot more about emergencies and how to treat the injured and ill in all sorts of predicaments.

    With him at the Sunday morning outdoor emergency care refresher were the majority of the Ragged Mountain Ski patrollers, along with a contingent of patrollers from Black Mountain in Rumford and a few other Maine ski mountains.

    The annual refreshed is required by the National Ski Patrol, and each year patrollers cycle through online learning and practical in-person applications. Skills, such as providing oxygen to the wounded, bandaging broken clavicles and neck wounds, or tending to diabetic and cardiac emergencies are all part of the required routine.

    Soon the snow will fall, and patrollers will practice chairlift evacuations and hauling people down the mountain on toboggans. Winslow will be right there, assisting, or just enjoying a good run down the mountain.