Ski Guide Course
The Ski Guide Course is the 1st step in the AMGA Ski Program. The Ski Guide Course is designed for skiers who wish to learn the skills and techniques used while instructing and guiding in a non-glaciated, yet possible mountain backcountry setting. The course covers the tools used when guiding and instructing on multi-day ski tours. It also covers management of 3rd and 4th class terrain, technical ascents and descents, management and movement of multiple clients and small team rescues. Emphasis is placed on effectively managing risks and maximizing client rewards. Glacier travel and crevasse hazards and sustained technical mountaineering challenges are generally not covered in this course.
The course will include one or two days skiing at a nearby resort, peak ascents including one bivouac and several nights in huts or ski camping. Course areas often include but are not limited to, the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada, Cascades and the Tetons.
The Ski Guide Course is 12-days in length.
Prerequisites for Ski Guide Course:
- You are a current AMGA Associate Member.
- You have four years of personal ski touring experience, including leading multi-day tours and peak ascents.
- Provide a personal ski touring resume showing each of the following:
- 20 different ski tours within the past two years detailed with date(s), specific location, total elevation gain and loss, total horizontal mileage and maximum slope angle.
- 5 of those 20 ski tours are on at least 40 degree terrain or steeper.
- 5 of those 20 ski tours are day tours that include greater than or equal to 4500 vertical feet of ascent and 4500 vertical feet of descent.
- 5 of those 20 ski tours are multi-day tours using huts or ski camping.
- You are able to ascend and descend on skis an average of 4500 vertical feet per day with little problem.
- You demonstrate expert skiing skills and can comfortably ski black and double-black diamond terrain at a level well beyond the average recreational skier.
- You must demonstrate the ability to adjust technique to ski in a variety of snow conditions on diverse terrain including long sustained descents up to 50 degrees.
- You are experienced with general rope management skills including:
- Basic knots and climbing harnesses
- Choosing appropriate belay and rappel methods for rock and snow.
- You have experience snow climbing with ice axe and crampons and are comfortable with self-belay and self-arrest.
- You have basic tour planning skills.
- You are able to navigate in whiteout conditions.
- You are competent with transceiver use and rescue in multiple burial scenarios.
- You have completed an AMGA approved Level II avalanche course.
- Provide a copy of current Wilderness First Responder certification or better.
- You are at least 18 years of age.
General Guiding Skills taught during the Ski Guide Course:
- Overview of AMGA Certification process
- Guiding techniques vs. Recreational techniques
- Guides Professionalism
- Guiding with reference to Leave No Trace
- Guiding history in U.S and abroad
- Introduction to Time Planning
- Guides meeting process
- Risk Management planning
- Guides auxiliary gear
- Rope handling skills
- Friction hitches
- Harnesses and improvised harnesses
- Guides anchoring skills
- Guides belaying techniques
- Client Orientation and assessment
- Short pitching
- Introduction to Short Roping
- Rappelling techniques and backups
- Lowering techniques
- Knot pass and releasable systems
- Raising systems
- Skiing skills evaluation
- Skiing techniques for ski guides
- Wedge turns
- Wedge Christie turns
- Stem Christie turns
- Parallel/telemark turns
- Dynamic parallel/telemark turns
- Hop parallel/telemark turns
- Pedal hop turns
- Avalanche/snow safety gear
- Stability evaluation
- Hazard assessment
- Uphill guiding
- Downhill guiding
- Bivouac technique
- Transceiver/rescue assessment
- Client orientation and preparation
- Guide field book methodology
- Equipment selection
- Time and pace management
- Track setting
- Rope management
- Sled rescue
- Evaluating risk management in guiding
- Leave No Trace
- Review of certification exam testing procedures