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Ski patrol president named Whitehorse’s volunteer of the year

Tim Sellars looks back at his volunteer work on Mount Sima and elsewhere
Tim Sellars, centre, with fellow ski patrollers Theresa Landman and Amanda McCarthy. (Submitted)

Recognizing his role as longtime president of the Yukon arm of the Canadian Ski Patrol among other contributions of his time and efforts, Tim Sellars has been named Whitehorse’s volunteer of the year.

He received the award at the city’s volunteer reception on April 20 after being selected from a group of 18 volunteers who were also recognized.

“We are honoured to have an amazing group of volunteers in Whitehorse,” said Mayor Laura Cabott.

“Volunteers truly make a difference in our community and they inspire us all.”

Sellars has been with the ski patrol for the past 27 years and has served as its president for most of that time. Along with doing a lot of the critical administration work for the ski patrol, Sellars is also an active patroller. He was first elected president of the club in 1998 and also provides first aid and on-snow training.

He recounted the rewarding challenge of helping injured people down the mountain to ensure they aren’t hurt further.

Sellars said it’s great to be rewarded and recognized for something he enjoys doing alongside a team of passionate people. He humbly expressed some discomfort with the recognition, noting all of the other volunteers and organizations that do great work in Whitehorse.

Along with its main role patrolling Mount Sima, Sellars noted that Yukon Ski Patrol helps out with other winter events such as the annual Buckwheat race, cross country events at Mount Lorne and biathlon events. He said once the snow is gone for the year, ski patrollers can often be found on standby as first aid attendants at events including music festivals, the Yukon River trail marathon and the Klondike Road Relay.

The city’s announcement that Sellars had been chosen as volunteer of the year specifically mentioned his contributions to grant writing, fundraising and otherwise ensuring that Yukon Ski Patrol has what it needs to keep fulfilling its role. Sellars said that because the ski patrol is a volunteer organization without government funding, it relies on donations and contributions from the events patrollers assist with in order to function. Along with donations, Sellars said the ski patrol often gets grants through Lotteries Yukon and the City of Whitehorse. That funding purchases important equipment like the ski patrollers’ rescue toboggans and medical gear and helps pay for training.

Another volunteer avenue that Sellars remains proud of is his time on 2007 Canada Winter Games host committee. Ahead of the Whitehorse games he worked to find the money to build the chalet at Mount Sima and make improvements to its runs, largely shaping the state that the mountain is in today. Sellars said he is proud of the legacy that the games had left for Mount Sima.

Sellars said there are about 45 ski patrollers in the Yukon zone serving the Whitehorse area. There is also a Ski Patrol Canada Watson Lake zone that ensures Mount Maichen is patrolled. Sellars said some of the Whitehorse-area volunteers put in an extraordinary amount of time and new recruits would be welcomed in the fall with intake of new volunteers in September.

While his service with the ski patrol is central to the recognition Sellars received from the city, he also volunteers time with the Golden Horn Fire Department, Swim Yukon and Soccer Yukon, among other organizations.

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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