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Skier/Instructor Ration: 6:1

Operating under Special Use Permit, Tahoe National Forest.

Guide Training

Ski Guide Pre-Course    4 Day

This course is designed for recreational leaders or skiers or boarders aspiring to enter the AMGA Ski Guide Course, who may not yet meet the prerequisites. It's also a great head start to help set you up for success toward your AMGA Ski Mountaineering Guide Certification Exam.

Taught in the North Tahoe area, beginning at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort near Donner Pass with out-of-bounds access, then onto tours of the crest peaks in the area. This course is taught by senior instructors, members of the AMGA Ski Guide Instructor/Examiner Pool.

Skills covered will include:
  • Skier movement analysis
  • Tour planning and preparation
  • Interpreting the avalanche forecast
  • Decision making in avalanche terrain
  • Introduction to formal observations of weather, snowpack and avalanches with documentation
  • Group assessment
  • Group gear
  • Route selection/route finding
  • Track setting
  • Pacing/group member spacing
  • Group management
  • Downhill guiding
  • Emergency planning
  • Radio communication
  • Emergency response
  • Improvised rescue sled evacuation
  • Avalanche rescue practice
  • Emergency shelter
  • Navigation with map, compass and altimeter
  • Ski mountaineering skills, including ski crampons, ice axe, boot crampons, harness, basic knots, ski anchors, belaying ans ski rappeling
  • Gear selection for a multi-day tour
  • State-of-the-art ski camping technique
Cost: $795  Plus 1-day lift ticket

March 17-20, 2019

Day 1
Beginning inbounds at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, then moving out-of-bounds with avalanche safety equipment and backcountry ski equipment.

Day 2
Longer day tour with tour plan and skills enroute.

Day 3-4
Two-day overnight tour with hut and/or ski camping skills.

  • At least 3 years of personal backcountry ski touring experience including day tours and peak ascents.
  • Advanced/expert skier skiing at or near the AMGA Ski Standard (see below).
  • Basic rope management skills incluing rappeling.
  • Excellent physical condition.
  • Completed AIARE Level 1 in the last 2 years. If longer than 2 years or not an AIARE Level 1, then an AIARE Level 1 Refresher course is required.

AMGA Skiing Standard:  (Technical Description)
To meet the AMGA Ski Mountaineering Guide Standard, a candidate must demonstrate the following level of skiing skills:
  • Ski with a centered, efficient stance with appropriate ankle and knee flexion along with the ability to move center of mass fore/aft and laterally to maintain dynamic balance in all situations and snow conditions.
  • Begin each turn by noticeably moving the center of mass in the direction of the new turn.
  • Generate turning power from the feet and lower legs rather than from the upper body.
  • Upper/lower body separation with a countered relationship to create anticipation of a new turn along with precise pole plant timing and usage in all situations.
  • A continuum of skills blending from wedge and stem turns to dynamic, high speed, carved parallel turns with high edge angles and center of mass well inside the turn.
  • Controlled skiing in any situation including very steep (up to 50) narrow chutes with the ability to bring any turn to a stop if necessary.
  • Rhythm and flow in turn-to-turn skiing with a guide's pack or multi-day pack.
To enter the AMGA Ski Guide Program, the applicant should be skiing at or very near the certification standard. If the candidate doesn't meet these pre-requisites, the Course Director will decide if they can continue with all or parts of the course and the candidate will receive an incomplete for this part of the course. They will have to be re-evaluated before being able to participate in the Ski Mountaineering Guide Course/aspirant exam.

The following videos are examples of candidates and certified guides skiing at the AMGA Ski Standard.

Video 1  (516 kb)
Short radius parallel turns

Video 2  (407 kb)
Short radius parallel turns

Video 3  (712 kb)
Short/Medium radius parallel turns

Video 4  (360 kb)
Medium radius parallel turns

Video 5  (288 kb)
Controlled Steep Skiing

Video 6  (345 kb)
Dynamic parallel turns

Questions about this course?

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