BJ Playing Air Guitar

BJ (Bil Jones)


The Willamette Pass Ski Patrol, the National Ski Patrol, the Willamette Pass Ski Corp, and the skiing public have lost a great patroller and friend in BJ who passed away in his home in Bend, Oregon this October at the age of 46. Even though he only joined WPSP in 1999, in that short time he became an invaluable member of the Patrol. He was assistant hill chief of Patrol 4, the paid patrol, and a groomer. He was also active in OEC training at both the basic and senior levels. This year he was in charge of the annual OEC refresher. The hole he leaves is very big, and it will be difficult to fill. His smiling face and positive attitude will be missed. Below is a brief summary of his tremendous contributions as a ski patroller.

Born in Los Angeles in 1956, BJ grew up in Southern California, learning to ski at Snow Summit, Big Bear Lake, CA, in 1979. He and his friend Kathy Alexander moved to Bend, Oregon in October 1984 to be ski bums for the season at Mt. Bachelor.

BJ met Kathy when she hired him as a Bus Driver/Camp Counselor for the Malibu YMCA Day Camp. Bil had pneumonia four times between January and October 1985 causing them to suspect that cold air on the mountain caused frequent pneumonias. However, he was eventually diagnosed with a rare malignant tumor on his right lung at St. Charles Medical Center early in November 1985. On November 14, 1985 he underwent surgery to remove the entire lung at St. Joseph's Hospital in Eureka, CA.

In 1986 BJ took the first "WEC" Winter Emergency Care course and trained for volunteer NSP at Mt. Bachelor while also working five days/week as lift operator. He received national appointment number 8596. He moved to the pro patrol in 1988 and became a CPR, then AED, Avalanche and OEC instructor. He passed Seniors, certified in the old "Far West" Professional Ski Patrollers Association, and joined WPSP in Spring 1999.

BJ was runner-up for National Outstanding Professional Patroller of the Year in 1997-1998. He served two years as Oregon Region Avalanche Advisor and many seasons as Senior OEC trainer, evaluator & advocate.

During summers, BJ worked as a river raft guide for many companies, including Ouzel Outfitters in Bend. He learned all he could about the areas he rafted in and acted as a naturalist on many trips. BJ spent many hours a week during ski season strumming his guitars and practicing for river campfire programs.

BJ also worked for the City of Bend Fire Department as EMT-ambulance driver for the Medical Transport Team from 1995 to 2001. He taught First-Aid, CPR and AED classes for the Deschutes County American Red Cross chapter.

BJ loved the outdoors and the snow. His fascination with the white stuff took him from alpine skis to tele skis to snow cat. He was one of those unique individuals who managed to figure out how to incorporate his passions into his everyday life. May his memory live on.