How much does it cost to be a ski patroller?
Many of the costs related to being a ski patroller are only startup costs.  These can vary greatly depending upon what exactly you want/how much you are willing to spend.
Registration (once per year): $51
OEC : $125
Fanny Pack: $80 or Backpack $130
Pack Contents: $40
Patrol Vest: $80-120 or Patrol Jacket $200
Compare to:
All-Session Season Pass (once per year): $400-525
What are the benefits?
As a ski patroller, there are many compensations for the volunteer work that is provided.  For people outside the medical field, there is the insight into a new career and background knowledge that is applicable in almost every situation.  For developing skiers, there are free lessons provided on Sundays for S&T.  As a patroller, you will gain several close friendships within the patrol, as well as the knowledge that what you do really has a significant positive impact on people's lives.
Actual Monetary benefits include:
Discounted Equipment, Lunch Ticket, Complimentary Lift Ticket for family with each session signed-ins
Weekday Staff receives hourly compensation in place of Lunch Ticket.
How much time does it require?
With ski patrol, as any other activity, what you put in is what you get out.  The time requirements are much greater initially than once you have established yourself within the system.  OEC takes about 80-100 classroom hours to complete, with extra time for homework and studying.  Ski and Toboggan typically takes about 150 training hours to complete.  After you have achieved OEC certification, the only truly required amount of time is 80 hours per season to remain in good standing.  This is achieved by patrolling on your "duty weekends", which occur about every 3rd weekend.  Every other duty weekend you are you, you are expected to do a night shift.  This way, each person on the patrol only has to do a night session once every 6 weeks.
I have medical credentials, do I still need to take Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC)?
It is possible to challenge OEC.  To do this you will need at least EMT-Basic credentials.  People challenging OEC do their challenge on the same day that people in the class take their final test.
Things to consider when deciding whether or not to challenge OEC:
-You may only challenge OEC once, if you fail, you have to take the course before a retest.
-You must score 5 points higher on the written section than the students who took the class are required to.
-As a patroller, OEC is the protocol you will be following.  If you decide to challenge, you should be familiar enough with OEC that you feel comfortable in knowing exactly what you can and cannot do under this protocol.
Can I patrol without ever passing the Ski and Toboggan (S&T) Test?/What if I never pass the S&T Test?
The S&T test is a very selective and difficult test at Cataloochee.  It usually takes, at the very least, a full season to complete the training for.  At the end of your training you will be a much more competent and aware skier.  However, this route is not for everyone.  If you feel like you would be more comfortable operating solely in a medical capacity, not running toboggans, then there is a position just for you.  The Auxiliary credential acknowledges an individual's established position in the patrol, differentiating them from the candidates, but limits their powers on the hill to medical assistance (i.e. they cannot do toboggan work).  There are ways to advance within the Auxiliary branch, including Senior Auxiliary.