Volunteer for ARISE & Ski

Do you have a family member or friend who has a disability and you want to ski with them? Do you want to help someone experience the thrill of winter sports?

Download our Volunteer Training Descriptions (PDF)

ARISE & Ski Volunteer Manual

How do I become a volunteer?

Volunteers will need to submit a Volunteer Application that includes a background check, confidentiality statement, and rental form (if needed). Volunteers are required to participate in training both on and off the mountain prior to the official start of the ARISE & Ski season.

What are the benefits of volunteering through ARISE & Ski?

Our ARISE & Ski program is a great volunteer opportunity. In addition to helping a person learn to ski, many of our volunteers have also formed lasting bonds and friendships with their students as well as with other volunteers. All volunteers receive free daily lift tickets, and if needed free equipment rentals for all training and work days. Any volunteer who works for five out of the six weeks the program runs will receive one free daily ticket per week from Toggenburg Mountain for the balance of the ski season.

What kinds of volunteer opportunities are there?

While we always need good strong athletes to help with sit down equipment on the main hill, we can use volunteers of all levels to help in the program. Even if you have no interest in working on the hill, we can always use people to help with photography, equipment maintenance and lodge attendants.

Volunteers must be at least 14 years old and a volunteer application, Confidentially Statement, and a background check are required for all volunteers. Any volunteer who needs rentals are also required to fill out the rental form.

Will I receive training?

Yes, all training is run by certified PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) staff who combined have over 60 years of snow sports instruction experience. Our directors and supervisors will make sure that you have the skills that you need to be a successful volunteer.

Helpful Links for Volunteers

Volunteer FAQs

How will I know what to do?

We will provide training both on the hill and on dry land.

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Where do I get the equipment?

You will get the equipment at the rental or shed.

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Who is in charge of the lesson?

A veteran volunteer will always act as lead instructor – on rare occasions when we are short of volunteers and you are working at the Learning Center you may actually – even as a newbie – have to step up and be the lead. However, a supervisor will always be present to assist you.

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How many volunteers work with each student?

Depending on the lesson, we try to have at least a 2 to 1 ratio of instructors to participants (with bi skis we generally have a 3 to 1 ratio).

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What do I do if I have a problem on the hill?

Immediately flag supervisor, come in, and ask for help.

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What kind of disabilities do the students have?

Over the years we have worked with students who have a variety of disabilities including Down’s syndrome, Autism, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, visual impairments, Lowe syndrome, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis.

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If I am uncomfortable with my student can I switch?

A supervisor is always available to work with you and your participant. In an effort to make the pairing advantageous for all concerned – we would want to explore where this discomfort comes from and how we might make the situation better. These are always teachable moments. One should expect some discomfort when meeting a new person with a disability you’ve no experience with.

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What is a blocker?

This is a term we use to describe a volunteer whose function is to ski above and behind the team working with a participant using a bi ski or mono ski or some other piece of adaptive equipment that might be vulnerable to the skiing public.

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What if I have a problem with the equipment my participant is using?

If it is a problem with your own skis or rental skis – have a ski technician look at them. If it is part of ARISE and Ski adaptive equipment, contact an on hill supervisor.

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What if my participant shows up inappropriately dressed for the day?

We have some gear we might be able to lend – lost and found sometimes comes in handy and we should always work to inform our participants about what they need for cold days, wet days, etc.

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How long do I need to volunteer for?

In addition to trainings, volunteers are required to volunteer for two hours per week for at least five of the six weeks.

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What time do I have to be there?

Volunteers must be ready to work by appointed hour.

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What if I can’t make it to training?

If you do not complete the training sessions, you will not be able to volunteer. Training sessions are manditory.

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What are my responsibilities as a volunteer?

We expect you to:

  • be on time for all trainings and lesson sessions that you are assigned to
  • treat everyone with dignity and respect
  • complete all appropriate volunteer paperwork on time
  • make certain that notes on the lesson session are completed immediately after each session
  • ask questions and act responsibly, safely, and creatively to provide a fun, safe, and educational experience for the participant

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What do I do if I can’t make it one week?

Notify the supervisor staff by phone, email, or Facebook as soon as you know that you will not be able to be there.

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What if I already know who I want to teach or volunteer with?

While we appreciate the relationships that volunteers have with each other and with students, we can not always promise that you will be able to ski with a specific person. In an effort to make sure that everyone involved in ARISE & Ski is safe and has fun, we pair instructors and students up based on skills, experience, and ability. We will try to accommodate volunteer and student requests, but if we do not feel that it will be conducive to the learning environment we will make appropriate adjustments.

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I want to ski with my own child, can I do this?

This is dependent on the goals of the family and the student. While we encourage families to learn to ski with each other, there may be times when the training staff of ARISE & Ski may suggest alternative teaching situations.

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How do we know who we will work with?

Educational staff will use a matching process largely based on history, paperwork,  and our knowledge of volunteer capabilities and student needs. We will get this information out to you soon as we know.

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Will I be alone?

This is very unlikely – it is dependent on each volunteer’s personal skills and comfort level.

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Where do we get our lift tickets / rentals?

At table – in shop

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What if my participant has a fall / accident on the slopes?

There is a procedure in place to contact the ski patrol and make certain that the participant or injured person is warm and safe. DO NOT attempt to remove individual’s boots or skis. Keep the individual safe and still until the ski patrol arrives. Supervisors will be on the slope and they can help. Usually if you set up a pair of crossed skis above the injured person the ski patrol will see this and come to help. Lift operators can contact patrol as well as you go to the patrol room yourself which is at the far south end of the lodge.

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Don’t the volunteers get hot chocolate?

Yes – costs a little bit of money though.

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Where’s the bathroom?

Bathrooms are located on the south end of the lodge between the main lodge and Foggy Goggle restaurant. It is good idea to point out the bathroom to participants as well.

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If I have extra equipment should I bring it?

Depends on the condition of the equipment. Either way, we do not loan out equipment to participants that hasn’t been checked and fitted by a technician and we suggest against lending to other volunteers without a technician’s assistance.

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Do we have to buy our own food?

Yes – however you are free to bring your lunch too.

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Is transportation provided?

No. Unless you live in vicinity of the route of the Polar Bear express bus that comes out to Toggenburg.

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How do we find you at Toggenburg?

We carve out our space at the northeast end of the lodge by the stairs going up to the mezzanine – in the past we’ve always had a banner.

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Where is Toggenburg?

Roughly 23 miles south of Syracuse off of Route 80 just east of Fabius, NY. Toggenburg’s address is 1135 Toggenburg Rd,  Fabius, NY 13063.

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Is there any cost involved for me as a volunteer?

Gas – Food – Gear for your personal use.

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Can I volunteer in ways other than being an instructor?

Yes – we need support in the lodge and at the base of the learning center to work with volunteers and participants.

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