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