Spring Training

Spring for me in the mountains these days is all about training in the ski mountaineering skill set. I have been a backcountry ski guide for a decade now, but this year the American Mountain Guide Association(AMGA) is making a move that essential turns them into the union for mountain guides in the United States. This summer they will be enlisting what they call "Scope of Practice" which essentially says if you want to be, or work for, an AMGA accredited outfitter, then you have to go through their programs and guides must have certain levels of AMGA training to guide certain terrain under certain roles. Part of this includes a basic skill set in ski mountaineering. I missed being grandfathered in as a "tenured guide" by two years as I started guiding in 2010 and the cut-off was 2008. As such, I have to train up and go through all the AMGA courses to comply. Despite the fact that I have no desire to guide mountaineering objectives I have to gain a basic skill set in the mountaineering craft. Luckily for me, I do value the skill set and am excited to learn it as the crossover to the kind of guiding I do every day is indeed applicable. I don't want to guide Everest or Denali, but the skills to do so are cool and I am enjoying learning them. I am not a climber. A long time ago I chose to buy a mountain bike over a rock climbing rack and the rest is history. I became a ski guide and a mountain bike guide and my little bit of rock climbing skills completely atrophied. Therefore, the training I have to do to get proficient in these early stages of the AMGA path are my most difficult skills to attain. So as I always have in my past, I train. The last two years I have gone all-in on training in these skills each spring during mountaineering season. The absolute best way I have done this is through mentorship with guides I know and trust. This weekend that meant joining up with my colleagues at Inspired Summit Adventures to enroll in their ski mountaineering camp. The four-day basecamp has been essential to my training as I will go sit for my AMGA Alpine Skills Course this summer. 

^We load up snowmobiles pulling toboggans with all

A #GuideLife Program

I always tell young aspiring backcountry ski guides that the key to being a ski guide is a diversified income stream. Honestly, the truth could be said for any profession that is intricately tied to the weather and the seasons. The statement is kind of a two-fold thing. One, is that as a young ski guide the consistency of work is difficult to manage in a life that typically has consistent fixed expenses. Second, is the diversity of skill sets within the #GuideLife that is helpful to craft a more and more consistent workflow. I have been a guide for nearly a decade now and have developed a program that works for me. It is not all glorious bluebird meadow skipping like the picture below or that my Instagram feed would lead folks to believe. 
photo: Chris Morgan
^These days I have so much guiding work that I have to

Trim to Win


Fall colors were on point for my trip to the U.P. of Michigan's Porcupine Mountains State Park where my dad and I drove up for a trim party in the woods with the a few of the tribe from Midwest Telefest, which is hosted at the Park's ski area each winter in early February. The objective was thinning out some glades for tree skiing at the ski area, as well as see some of our friends that we celebrate Midwest Telefest with. The experience was a bit different amidst a global pandemic, but all-in-all still a really enjoyable and productive trim session. 

^The drive up was really colorful. My dad and I packed our

Charles Dickens in the Age of Corona

February 7th is Charles Dickens' birthday. The writer of classic ominous stories and his birthday hosted an ominous snowpack event for the Ogden Wasatch mountain range that we never really recovered from in all honesty. Rain and rime iced the top of the snowpack taking on the name of the author becoming the Dickens crust. A crust so thick that it persisted the rest of the season only to be one-upped by an invisible layer of sickness and fear that blanketed our society like nothing I have seen in my lifetime. The novel corona virus Covid-19 finished off the winter in unprecedented fashion a month and a half early completing the destruction of the winter of 2019/20 completely... for me at least. 

^Ice formed on the tree branch in this picture above is a