The North Face | 2019 Ski Mentorship Camp Report

“I don’t want to spend 30 years figuring something out when I can learn the tricks from someone who has already spent 30 years figuring it out.  If you stack this up a couple generations it may be more like 100 years of tricks.” – Ben Markhart

About AMGA Mentorship Camps

AMGA Mentorship Camps are low-ratio training opportunities for members going through the mountain guide programs. Mentorship Camps are unique in that they offer additional training and low-ratio coaching outside of the traditional AMGA mountain guide programs and assist with participant travel costs. In 2019 we are thrilled to be able to offer three mentorship camps thanks to our generous sponsors. Check out our mentorship camp page for more info.

TNF 2019 Ski Camp Recap

Our most recent camp took place in March in Salt Lake City, UT. Thanks to The North Face, AMGA members Dave Bumgarner, Ben Markhart, and Mia Tucholke joined AMGA Instructor Team Member Jonathon Spitzer (American Mountain Guide/IFMGA Guide) for 3 days of hands-on skills training. The camp also provided an opportunity to openly discuss concerns, challenges, opportunities, and aspirations for moving forward in their AMGA programs and guiding careers – all while skiing some beautiful Utah powder. 

 

If you are interested applying to future Mentorship Camps, here are some final words of wisdom from our 2019 mentees:

Q: In what ways do you feel mentorship is significant to the craft of mountain guiding?

Dave: There are so many variables in mountain guiding and it is very hard to learn the nuances and skills alone without the guidance from a more experienced guide.

Ben: To a certain extent it’s not super appropriate to experiment on paying clients, so we learn from those who already did the experimenting.  Which may make mentorship even more relevant to guiding than other pursuits that involve levels of mentorship. Although I think it’s important to remember that innovation is essential to mountain craft and that simple emulation is not the goal of mentorship.  

Mia: There are so many variables in mountain guiding and it is very hard to learn the nuances and skills alone without the guidance from a more experienced guide.

Q: What advice would you give future mentees?

Dave: Go into the camp with a focus on skills you want to work on and be open to learn from mistakes. You are on the camp to grow and learn, not be evaluated.

Mia: Soak it all in!!!!

Ben:

  • Make sure you’re ready to be there so the other participants can get the maximum benefit.
  • Understand your own learning process and direct it.
  • You have to tour a lot to be a good ski touring guide. Probably more than in both other disciplines you need to be able to listen to what the mountains are saying and if you haven’t been out speaking with them you haven’t learned to listen.  

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