Dave Ahrens received the 2015 Five Ten/Randal Grandstaff Scholarship for his AMGA Advanced Ski Guide Course/Aspirant Exam this winter. Check out his video to see what the program is all about!
I would like to extend a huge thanks to Five Ten and the Randal Grandstaff Memorial Scholarship. Though this was a ski course, I also have a deep love for rock climbing, and though I never met Randal I know we shared a passion for rock climbing and introducing people to these passions we hold so high. Throughout my course, I thought about him and what a unique, amazing job we have as guides to spread our passions to others and let them push their personal boundaries—and how rewarding that is on so many different levels.
The course itself was based in Golden, British Columbia, and I was ecstatic to get fully immersed in the world-class ski terrain that surrounds this small logging town. Getting ready for the course was almost as fun as the course itself… This began by skiing as much as possible at home in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. We have a great culture of guiding here, and I felt fortunate to be able to get out with local pinned guides (IFMGA certified) and be able to pick their brains on different techniques to increase efficiency and client rewards in ski-guiding terrain.
This was my ninth course through the AMGA, and as a Rock and Alpine Guide I am wholly committed, to say the least, to the process of gaining certification. These courses have all aided me in being the best guide I can be and to keep learning and improving, which I hope continues throughout my career. A huge part of this is the instructors I have had over the years, many of whom have become good friends. This course was no different: I thought the AMGA did an excellent job with putting Peter, Vince, and Angela on a course together. They are all three similar in their vast knowledge of ski guiding, yet they each had particular styles that gave us as participants a wide variety of guiding styles and techniques to absorb.
The course took us mostly to the Canadian Rockies just on the Alberta/BC border around Lake Louise. The terrain here was excellent and accessible, and may divert my attention from my Alaskan objectives personal tick list. We had great weather for the most part, and though snow stability was a bit variable, we got some great objectives in that culminated with the Aspirant Exam, held on the Wapta Icefield. This was a great venue, and the hut-base aspect allowed all participants to also work on overnight client care, which can often be overlooked in other disciplines.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed this course and felt like I learned a great deal. I’m looking forward to my final exam in the coming years to obtain full IFMGA status. This process has been an incredible journey as a whole and is full of peaks and valleys. That being said, I feel it has contributed in a very positive way to my work ethic, and it’s always a great feeling to set a goal for yourself and achieve it! Thanks again to the Randal Grandstaff Memorial Scholarship, Five Ten, the AMGA, and all the guides out there, current and passed, who have helped our careers move forward and who help legitimize our craft… Cheers