Ski Mountaineering Guide Exam
The goals of the eight-day Ski Mountaineering Guide Certification Exam are to assess ski guides at the AMGA and IFMGA international standards and to further the general education of the exam candidates.
During the exam candidates will be expected to carry out guiding assignments given by the examiners. Candidates will serve as guides to the examiners and to the other candidates on routes chosen for their complex guiding challenges. Candidates acting as a guide will be responsible for: route planning, client orientation, camp craft, risk management and normal guiding practices. Route or tour assignments and client profiles will usually be given the night before. Candidates will be responsible for obtaining information regarding the assigned route and alternative routes if the original objective proves infeasible.
The first 7 days of the exam are conducted on routes chosen by the examiners. Ski mountaineering terrain includes glacial alpine environments where guides may need to employ extensive short roping techniques, use of the ice axe and crampons, as well as travel on heavily crevassed glaciers. Multi-pitch ice or rock climbing is generally not included in the defined terrain except when necessary to achieve a ski or snowboard based objective. The final day of the exam will include personal debrief and exam evaluation.
In order to receive AMGA certification as a Ski Mountaineering Guide you must:
- Successfully complete the 12-day Ski Guide Course
- Successfully complete and pass the 10-day Ski Mountaineering Guide Course and Aspirant Exam.
- Pass the 8-day Ski Mountaineering Guide Certification Exam
Prerequisites for Ski Mountaineering Guide Certification Exam:
- You are a current Individual Member of the AMGA.
- You have successfully completed the Ski Mountaineering Guide Course, which requires that you have passed the Aspirant Exam. Provide documentation of course completion on program application.
- Provide documentation of completed recommendations from Ski Guide Course evaluation.
- Provide an updated ski mountaineering resume, detailed with date, specific location, total elevation gain and loss, total horizontal mileage, maximum slope angle, and number of mock clients/clients, showing each of the following:
- Since completing the Ski Mountaineering Guide Course you have mock guided/guided 10 days in ski mountaineering terrain.
- 5 of which must be on complex glacial terrain.
- Since completing the Ski Mountaineering Guide Course you have skied 10 personal ski descents.
- 5 of which must be on glacial terrain.
- and 5 of which must be on terrain 45 degrees or steeper.
- You have a current Wilderness First Responder certification or better.
- You have completed an AAI Level III, AIARE Level III or CAAT Level II avalanche course.
An AMGA Certified Ski Mountaineering Guide should be able to:
- Demonstrate expert skiing skills and can comfortably ski black and double-black diamond terrain at a level well beyond the average recreational skier.
- Ascend and descend on skis an average of 6000 vertical feet per day with little problem.
- Move efficiently and quickly with 2 clients over 3rd, 4th and 5th class terrain using appropriate short-roping and short-pitching techniques.
- Efficiently ski any type of snow up to 50 degrees in steepness with an appropriate-weight pack in complex glacial terrain.
- Adapt to all snow conditions and demonstrate a repertoire of techniques required for a variety of situations and client profiles.
- Teach techniques related to skiing in the backcountry and traveling in complex glacial terrain.
- Demonstrate knowledge of and experience in at least one other medium (i.e. cross country telemark, splitboard).
- Demonstrate a good knowledge of industry standards for equipment.
- Organize and perform a rescue and evacuation in rock, crevasse and sled scenarios.
- Demonstrate: guiding skills, uphill and downhill techniques, risk management, decision making, client care, navigation, winter overnight camping, environmental consciousness, and technical systems.
- Demonstrate a strong avalanche hazard and risk management plan that meets national and international standards.
- Use the right technique at the right time.
- Show a complete understanding and practice of Leave No Trace techniques
Many thanks to Marmot for their sponsorship of the Ski Mountaineering Guide Exam.