Colorado-based National Ski Patrol in turmoil as third director in five years leaves, citing conflict |

Colorado-based National Ski Patrol in turmoil as third director in five years leaves, citing conflict

Chris Castilian resigned from the National Ski Patrol this week, saying 80% of the education group’s staff have turned over in recent years

Jason Belvins
Colorado Sun
Another day at the office for Telluride ski patrollers Jason Rogers and Josh Sands as they conduct avy control on Palmyra Peak.
Brett Schreckengost/Special to The Colorado Sun

Chris Castilian has resigned as executive director of the Lakewood-based National Ski Patrol after one year, citing “vastly different visions for the future of this organization” between himself and the group’s board.

“This week I came to the realization our respective views on NSP’s path forward are so different that it is highly unlikely we will ever align, and so, it is time for me to move on,” he wrote in a letter sent to the National Ski Patrol board this week.

Castilian, the former deputy chief of staff for Gov. Bill Owens and one-time head of government relations for Anadarko Petroleum Corp., joined the 31,000-member National Ski Patrol last July after serving four years as executive director of Great Outdoors Colorado. At the time he said the then 83-year-old group that offers education and training for ski patrollers was “in need of a little bit of a refresh.”

The venerable National Ski Patrol is a mess. Half the members are wondering why the group needs to think about diversity, equity and inclusion. Its outdated education programs are falling out of favor with major resorts that do not rely on volunteer patrollers. For the past 17 years staff at the National Ski Patrol have battled with the group’s board of directors over how the association is governed. And churning through eight out of 10 of its employees in recent years is a  symptom of the dysfunction that threatens the National Ski Patrol’s relevance and role in a rapidly evolving resort industry. 


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