Volunteer-Safety

A committed group of individuals who ensure that the race runs smoothly and safely.

Course Safety is divided into three main subgroups: pre-skiers, course monitors, and race sweeps. Our responsibilities are to ensure that the Birkie event is conducted safely and smoothly, that course trails are clearly marked and free of debris, and that no skiers are left behind.

Course safety, making sure everyone goes home.
Inspiring future skiers and making sure everyone goes home.

Who is In Charge?

Quinn has been co-chief of Course Safety (formally called “Patrol”) with his dad Dave McCashin for the past 4 years. He’s working on a PhD in Education and works at the University of Alberta, mostly with pre-service teachers. As a high school teacher, Quinn wrangled 30+ teenagers all day for many years- how hard can a couple thousand skiers be?

  • 040-Course Safety-Chief
  • 041-Course Safety-Course Monitor
  • 042-Course Safety-Pre-Skier
  • 043-Course Safety-Sweep – 13km
  • 044-Course Safety-Sweep – 31km
  • 045-Course Safety-Sweep – 55km
  • 046-Course Safety-Sweep – 7km

Context For All Roles

Safety Considerations: Volunteers will work outdoors; as a result, you must dress appropriately and have gear to keep yourself warm. As a pre-skier or course attendant, you will primarily only be responsible for yourself. As a race sweep, basic first aid and an extra down jacket or light sleeping bag are good to have in your pack as you may need to keep a downed skier warm as well.

Location: Ideally you will provide your own transportation to the course location. If you are not volunteering in a vehicle-accessible area, we will arrange for transportation for you with another volunteer or with a food station crew. You may also be required to ski a portion of the course or walk to your designated location.

Training: Virtual/in-person briefing in January will be required. An in-person award organization meeting will be held closer to the Birkie. Attendance at the Volunteer Orientation the week of the Birkie is highly recommended. Awards Lead will provide mentorship and guidance.

Roles Needed

Role SpecificsRole Details
Role ID, Area and Title:040-Course Safety-Chief
DescriptionPlanning for Course Safety volunteers for the upcoming Birkie. This includes working with the Chief of Course to identify problem areas requiring dedicated monitoring. Recruit, training, support, and debrief the Course Safety Volunteers. Contributor and supporter of the overall Birkie Safety and Emergency Response Plans.
Volunteer RequirementsGood communication and social skills to coordinate across the Birkie and recruit the necessary Volunteers. Good organizational skills to coordinate the placement of the volunteers. Skiing ability is desirable but not required.
When NeededPlanning starts in the Fall with the designation of the next Birkie’s course and recruitment of volunteers. Significant efforts are required during the Birkie week in particular training and briefing the volunteers. Intermittent involvement post Birkie primarily to debrief.
Times NeededAbout 20-40 hours until the end of January with a similar range of effort the Birkie week and immediately following it for a total of less than 100 hours.
Number Needed1
040-Course Safety-Chief
Role SpecificsRole Details
Role ID, Area and Title:041-Course Safety-Course Monitor
DescriptionCourse Monitors will be assigned a critical point on the trail where skiers may get confused and require directions. These are usually intersections where different races diverge or merge together. They will direct traffic and may be required to close or open trails with caution tape.
Volunteer RequirementsVolunteers are not required to ski for this role. You will likely have the option of skiing or walking a short distance from an access point to your volunteer location and then will stay there while the race(s) you are monitoring are active.
When NeededVolunteer Orientation (Feb 7th, 2024) and Birkie Race Day ( Feb 10th, 2024)
Times NeededThroughout the day, depending on the race. Most monitors will stay at their stations for around 1-2 hours.
Number Needed8 Stay at station 2 hours plus travel to/from time
041-Course Safety-Course Monitor
Role SpecificsRole Details
Role ID, Area and Title:042-Course Safety-Pre-Skier
DescriptionPre-skiers get up early (sorry). These volunteers will be assigned a specific section of the course to pre-ski. They will progress through their allocated section on the morning of the race to ensure it is clearly marked, free of debris and otherwise safe for racers. Any obstacles will be removed if possible and reported to Quinn.
Volunteer RequirementsAbility to cross-country ski. You do not need to be fast or capable of long distances. Most pre-ski sections are under 10km and we will plan for you to be finished well in advance of racers. Map navigation skills are required, but you will be skiing on well-marked, track-set trails.
When NeededVolunteer Orientation (Feb 7th, 2024) and Birkie Race Day ( Feb 10th, 2024)
Times NeededAll shifts will be in the morning on February 10th. As Pre-skiing needs to be done pre-race, these jobs will be completed before noon.
Number Needed15 Mornings, 10 to 15
042-Course Safety-Pre-Skier
Role SpecificsRole Details
Role ID, Area and Title:043-Course Safety-Sweep – 13km
DescriptionRace Sweeps will work in pairs to ensure skiers are able to complete their races safely. Your role is to follow the race route and aid skiers who are unable to complete the race for various reasons- fatigue, equipment problems, or injury are the most common.
Volunteer RequirementsVolunteer sweeps are required to ski the full length of the race they are sweeping. You won’t, however, be skiing quickly as you are, by design, at the very back of the pack. You may have to motivate skiers to continue and you may have to convince skiers that they might have to quit. Having some level of first aid is beneficial for this role.
When NeededVolunteer Orientation (Feb 7th, 2024) and Birkie Race Day ( Feb 10th, 2024). There may be an additional first aid training day, should you wish to attend.
Times NeededThe 13km race will be a few hours.
Number Needed2
043-Course Safety-Sweep – 13km
Role SpecificsRole Details
Role ID, Area and Title:044-Course Safety-Sweep – 31km
DescriptionRace Sweeps will work in pairs to ensure skiers are able to complete their races safely. Your role is to follow the race route and aid skiers who are unable to complete the race for various reasons- fatigue, equipment problems, or injury are the most common.
Volunteer RequirementsVolunteer sweeps are required to ski the full length of the race they are sweeping. You won’t, however, be skiing quickly as you are, by design, at the very back of the pack. You may have to motivate skiers to continue and you may have to convince skiers that they might have to quit. Having some level of first aid is beneficial for this role.
When NeededVolunteer Orientation (Feb 7th, 2024) and Birkie Race Day ( Feb 10th, 2024). There may be an additional first aid training day, should you wish to attend.
Times NeededThe 31km race will be at least a half to three-quarters of a day.
Number Needed2
044-Course Safety-Sweep – 31km
Role SpecificsRole Details
Role ID, Area and Title:045-Course Safety-Sweep – 55km
DescriptionRace Sweeps will work in pairs to ensure skiers are able to complete their races safely. Your role is to follow the race route and aid skiers who are unable to complete the race for various reasons- fatigue, equipment problems, or injury are the most common.
Volunteer RequirementsVolunteer sweeps are required to ski the full length of the race they are sweeping. You won’t, however, be skiing quickly as you are, by design, at the very back of the pack. You may have to motivate skiers to continue and you may have to convince skiers that they might have to quit. Having some level of first aid is beneficial for this role.
When NeededVolunteer Orientation (Feb 7th, 2024) and Birkie Race Day ( Feb 10th, 2024). There may be an additional first aid training day, should you wish to attend.
Times NeededThe 55km sweeps have a full-day commitment.
Number Needed2
045-Course Safety-Sweep – 55km
Role SpecificsRole Details
Role ID, Area and Title:046-Course Safety-Sweep – 7km
DescriptionRace Sweeps will work in pairs to ensure skiers are able to complete their races safely. Your role is to follow the race route and aid skiers who are unable to complete the race for various reasons- fatigue, equipment problems, or injury are the most common.
Volunteer RequirementsVolunteer sweeps are required to ski the full length of the race they are sweeping. You won’t, however, be skiing quickly as you are, by design, at the very back of the pack. You may have to motivate skiers to continue and you may have to convince skiers that they might have to quit. Having some level of first aid is beneficial for this role.
When NeededVolunteer Orientation (Feb 7th, 2024) and Birkie Race Day ( Feb 10th, 2024). There may be an additional first aid training day, should you wish to attend.
Times NeededThe 7km race will be an hour or two requirement.
Number Needed2
046-Course Safety-Sweep – 7km