Gina Basse

Year: CU-Boulder senior

Job: Full-time ski patrol at Eldora Mountain Resort

Major: geology

Age: 20

Unlike most college seniors, Gina Basse is usually in bed by 9 every night, and asleep by 9:30 p.m.

The 20-year-old CU-Boulder student works full time as a ski patroller at Eldora Mountain Resort, while going to school full time.

"It's awesome," Basse said, laughing about her early bedtime.

Basse, a Colorado native, started river raft guiding on the Arkansas River the summer after she graduated high school and became a part-time ski instructor at Eldora two years ago.

She joined Eldora's 22-person volunteer ski patrol, and when a spot opened up on the 25-person professional ski patrol staff, she jumped at the chance.

In the fall, Basse took 17 credit hours while working a minimum of 45 hours per week. A typical ski patrol shift begins at 7:45 a.m. (after her 45-minute commute from Boulder) and ends around 5 p.m.

However, her grades don't tell the story of an overworked and tired college senior.

"My lowest grade was a B-minus," she said, smiling.

One secret to Basse's success -- carpooling with other Eldora employees from Boulder -- saved her from the stress of driving alone up icy Boulder Canyon this season. Another secret is prioritizing -- putting things that make her happy first, she said.


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Her cousin, Alex Basse, 26, of Denver, said it's impressive that Gina Basse has been able to balance useful work experience with schoolwork while other students are "just hanging out" on their days off from class.

Gina Basse is studying geology, a field both her parents work in, but said she'd be happy working in the ski industry after graduation. Basse said she couldn't imagine working at a desk for eight hours, then try to find the time to exercise.

"I'm a huge believer that whatever you do in life, you should be exercising," she said. "I like to feel strong and healthy. I like being outside and I like working."

After handling emergency situations on the mountain and the Arkansas River as a river guide, Basse said she's toying with the idea of becoming a paramedic.

Basse, who spoke with a huge grin on her face, transformed to a serious tone when she talked about responding to emergency situations -- she spoke with the cool confidence of a trained professional.

"You just step into your role and deal with it," Basse said. "At every resort, you will have people hitting things and people getting hurt. It's all about maintaining the situation and getting that person to definitive care as soon as possible."

Most of the time, she doesn't tell skiers or raft clients her age. She said that she knows if they learn how young she is, they won't take her seriously in an emergency.

"They don't need to know that I'm younger than their children," she said. "If something happens, they need to have full confidence that I'm able to take care of the situation."

Eldora ski patrol director Travis Brock said Basse is the youngest patroller on staff, and the youngest patroller he's seen in the eight years he's worked at Eldora.

If Basse didn't make ski patrol this season, Brock said the 20-year-old told him that she'd keep trying until she did.

Brock, 35, said he can't imagine working full-time on ski patrol while he was in school.

"I like determined people," he said. "Especially when they are on my team. She had other valuable experience that I look for when hiring people, but mostly I look for attitude and fit with my team.

"We can teach skills to people, we can't teach positive attitude and enthusiasm."

--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.