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Gilles (Gil) Levesque

Gil Levesque.jpg

#1           Gil Levesque

Patrol - Mount Southington

Joined NSP - 1963

Inducted - March 29, 2008

It was late in the year 1963. Mount Southington, then a brand new ski area, had recently opened for the first time. Jim Day, the area manager, had been desperately attempting to form a ski patrol for the area when Gil approached him and volunteered to help. Jim was having a difficult time trying to run the area, develop a ski school, and build a ski patrol. One thing led to another and soon Gil was appointed Patrol Leader and was tasked with establishing the Ski Patrol. He retained others who had also volunteered, and sought out local fellow skiers as well as members of the nearby NAVA and Springfield Ski Clubs. A few of these members were already affiliated with what was then the NSPS (National Ski Patrol System) through other patrols. It was not until the following season that the Mount Southington Ski Patrol itself became registered with the NSPS. Gil retained his position as Patrol Leader for twelve years. Although to an outsider it may have sometimes appeared that he governed the patrol with an “iron fist”, it was always with a “twinkle in his eye”. Gil established the close knit “extended family” atmosphere that the patrol became known for and still retains to this day. In 1977 Gil received National Appointment Number 5046 for his accomplishments as a Patrol Leader, and for his dedication as both a Patroller and mentor to so many others. Even after Gil stepped down (voluntarily) from his position, he always remained the top “go to” person for help. Gil, although not personally involved in the politics on the NSP beyond the patrol level, was always a staunch promoter of all of the programs available through the NSP. He was, in fact, one of the creators of the Senior program, and helped to set the basic standards for becoming a Senior Patroller. No matter which course a patroller was interested in, from Avalanche and Mountaineering, to First Aid at any level, to Senior, to Certified, to Instructorships, Gil was there to help however he could. He developed patrollers by coaching one-on one rather than teaching formal classes. He would never tire of running toboggans, or practicing splinting, or just sharing his knowledge and expertise. He had a way of making you WANT to do and be better. His methods and techniques for helping patrollers improve and advance has been both consciously and subconsciously passed on. It can still be seen in the way that succeeding generations of instructors, instructor trainers, etc. from the Mount Southington Patrol, and indirectly some of those from other patrols, perform their training and mentoring. When health issues finally forced Gil to retire from active patrolling is 1992/93, he became an NSP Alumnus. He said that he would try to ski “every day that the sun shone. He would frequently be found on the mountain or around the patrol room with his “extended family”, still coaching, sharing his years of wisdom and philosophy about patrolling, or simply reminiscing with his old and new patrol friends. Gil had become an icon and an institution to those who had known and patrolled with him. Many of his exploits are told and retold annually. Gil passed away in 2005. His legacy is the success that the Mount Southington Ski Patrol has become today.

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