Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
👁 durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Are our plans realistic?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi everyone,
My brother and I were wondering if you could give us some advice as to whether our plans to become mountain guides are even remotely possible? He is 15 and I am 16 and we have both fallen in love with the mountains and can not see ourselves doing conventional jobs- however we are under no illusions that it is a long hard road to become a fully qualified guide.
Here is a little info about us:
- Both strong skiers, starting to ski proper off piste stuff and will be doing our first day tours and hut to hut next year.
- Not much climbing experience
- Fit and sporty guys, already following weekly fitness training programs.

Our plan would be to begin climbing at our local climbing wall as frequently as possible and then once we have both left school to go to Chamonix and Scotland for as long as it takes to get the pre-requirements for the BMG qualification. We do not think we will have much trouble with getting to the level required for the skiing, however we are apprehensive regarding the climbing- do you think we could get to the required level over the next 5-7 years?

We are also worried about the funding of it, and can not find much on how much the course will cost in addition to the costs of spending seasons skiing and climbing. Would we be better off doing the traditional uni route and building up our climbing skills on the side? Or committing 100% to guiding? We also hope that British people do make it as guides, not just the locals but we are not sure.

Many thanks in advance Smile
Jack and Euan
ski holidays
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Where do you want to work - France, Austria, Italy? Start on your languages now.
latest report
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@JackSkier, at the risk of sounding like your average grandmother..... I'd do a uni route but why not pick a relevant subject? Geology, for example, which would enable you to add an extra dimension to guiding.

As well as climbing walls you need to get out onto real mountains and there are plenty of those nearer than Chamonix. There are a lot of excellent mountaineers in the UK, plenty of clubs. Most universities will have relevant associations, you can get a lot of time out on the hills for very little money - make sure you choose a university near the action (e.g. Bangor, Glasgow and lots of others). The centre in North Wales, Plas y Brenin does excellent skills training - mountain navigation etc and you can gain qualification which will enable you to get experience and eventually lead groups.

And, of course, work very hard on your French. Maybe a joint degree in French and Geology? wink
ski holidays
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
@JackSkier, You both have a mountain to climb but I 'm sure you can do it. Good luck. wink
snow report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Another vote for doing uni but doing it somewhere which helps with your guiding - eg if you went to Sheffield you could be climbing every spare day you get. Uni mountaineering clubs will also give you access to like minded people, organised trips to interesting places etc. you could find a course which allows you to spend time overseas. A friend of mine did that and was supposedly studying for the winter but actually spending most of his time in La Grave
snow conditions
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Lizzard wrote:
Where do you want to work - France, Austria, Italy? Start on your languages now.

Hi, we forgot to mention this but we have discussed this and think that German may be the language to learn as it opens options up in both Switzerland and Austria. We were planning on doing a little every night for the following year and doing it self taught through youtube and apps like Duolingo. We are both doing Spanish GCSE's at school, however this isn't to relevant to guiding but may be useful if we keep it up? We would hope that the time spend in Chamonix would help us get to at least a conversational level in French.

@Arno, @pam w, We are definitely considering uni and our parents would both rather that. However we fear that we could end up with a huge mound of debt with the fees and living costs+ winters away+ guide course. It would certainly give us an options to fall back on however if this didn't work out.

We definitely will have a lot of work ahead of us if we commit to it but I think it would be worth it in the end! Smile
Thanks again Smile
latest report
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@JackSkier, a lot of students end up with a mountain of debt because they spend stupid amounts of money. You don't need to worry too much about the student loans - it's cheap money and you don't have to pay it back till you start earning sensible money. If you work whilst you're at uni and lay off the booze it's manageable.

This is interesting. http://www.bmg.org.uk/index.php/eng/Guide-Training/Pre-requirements

to train as a guide in the UK you have to be at least 22 - is that the same in France? And have a very impressive list of experience gained over at least 5 years.

You could probably knock off a lot of that as a keen student mountaineer and for infinitely less money than knocking round Chamonix (where even a modest roof over your head will cost a lot of dosh).

If you worked towards satisfying the pre-requisites for the UK course it would give you a goal for the next 5 - 6 years and put you in a good position to go forward in the profession - whether here or elsewhere.

But if you want to guide in Austria or Switzerland wouldn't you do the professional training there rather than in Chamonix?
snow report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
JackSkier wrote:
We are both doing Spanish GCSE's at school, however this isn't to relevant to guiding but may be useful if we keep it up?
Thanks again Smile


What's wrong with Spanish, there's plenty of climbing and skiing going on in Spanish speaking countries. I'd also advise on doing a university course it will give you something to fall back on if your don't make it at guiding. The main thing is to get in lots and lots of hill time, climbing walls are ok for starting out but it's real mountain experience that counts. People skills are also very important you've got to be able to talk a nervous punter up a long hard climb whilst climbing it yourself and keep him safe at the same time.
snow report
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@pam w, I think that the British qualification gives you an international qualification which allows you to guide anywhere in the world so would not need to do the course in another country. Definitely a huge amount of experience to get- Chamonix plan was to get the hut-hut tours and ski experience sorted however maybe that could be done in a gap year and then the Scottish experience during Uni?
@OwenM, We will definitely keep up my Spanish but would probably rather be based in Switzerland or Austria over a Spanish speaking country. It would open up our possibilities if we spoke as many languages as possible though for sure
Thanks Smile
snow report
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
An acquaintance has made a living from it for over 20 years, PhD Geology 1st though. A bit more about him on his site.

http://www.hebrideanpathways.co.uk/
snow report
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
All the guides I know bar one did not do Uni, the guide I was with last week did have a PHD in physics and he packed in an academic career to become a mountain guide, he's Swedish speaks Italian (his OH is Italian) English, German and French.

Anyway best way to find out more would be to contact Bruce Goodlad (Google him) who is in charge of the British Mountain guides selection process, there was a feature in a recent Fall Line about what it takes to be a Brit and becoming a guide. Climbing experience is so important!!!

I was with Bruce and around eight people who were going through the selection process to become a guide last year on a week long course, and they all had very different back grounds and mountain experience.

Best of luck and great to have that ambition, wish you well.
latest report
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
JackSkier, Start planning some climbing trips in the UK for the summer holidays, there are Youth Hostels near anywhere that you would want to go.
ski holidays
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@JackSkier, If you want to go down the University route you can now take a degree in outdoor adventure sports and there are plenty of places offering BTECs in the subject if you search hard enough.
A quick search on the UCAS site for outdoor adventure comes up with this - http://search.ucas.com/search/providers?CountryCode=&RegionCode=&Lat=&Lng=&Feather=&Vac=1&AvailableIn=2015&Query=outdoor+adventure&ProviderQuery=&AcpId=&Location=&SubjectCode=
and I'm sure if you try hard enough you will find plenty of other similar courses.
It may be worth talking to somebody at Plas y Brenin to see if they suggest anywhere or a route to follow, that seems to be the Mecca of adventure sports in the UK.
snow report
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Moray House in Edinburgh does a very good Outdoor Ed course, if that's of interest.
snow conditions
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
JackSkier wrote:

we are apprehensive regarding the climbing- do you think we could get to the required level over the next 5-7 years?


Yes, probably but you'll need to do a lot of climbing and remember you'll need to have done some alpine routes which requires being in that kind of environment with friends you can climb with so first thing is to join a climbing club, the right climbing club, where you will have a support network.

Have you talked to anyone about how you'd develop your business. To a certain extent the market is moving away from guided technical climbing to softer type outdoor activites. Via Ferrata, Snowshoeing, Nordic Skiing etc. This is maybe due to the aging population in Europe. Whilst the ski touring market is growing (well at least a lot of kit is getting sold) not that many people are employing guides due to the huge amount of online information about routes, conditions and there are lots of clubs around for neophytes.

As far as I know you need to be a mountain guide to work on Via Ferrata in France but it seems a shame to do all these big alpine routes to end up guiding on VF. Another thought, in France at least, is to become a cross country ski instructor which also lets you lead snowshoeing and nordic skiing (a bit like ski touring but with lighter gear and free heel boots); I reckon there could be a business in the grey market.

A lot of guides end up doing other activities on the side, industrial rope work, painting bridges, oil rigs etc. Worth bearing in mind.
snow report
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@skichampcouk, I think if I was to take a uni course I would take a more conventional, less specialized course like history or anthropology but I haven't given what I would want to do other than this a thought.

We have discussed with our dad who has skied with a lot of guides about ideas for business and we think we would like to run guided trips to different resorts around the alps and to more exotic locations- already been done clearly and would certainly be long term (and hypothetical) as it would take a long time to set up a business. I think I would be happy just to live in the alps and ski everyday- I am not sure if that means working as a freelance guide or for a company?
Smile
ski holidays
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

you need to be a mountain guide to work on Via Ferrata in France

There's a market for that? I generally just go and do it.
ski holidays
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Lizzard wrote:
Quote:

you need to be a mountain guide to work on Via Ferrata in France

There's a market for that? I generally just go and do it.


A Savoyard guide I know said he practically just did that these days, in the summer. Two groups per day, kerching. He very rarely did any real climbing now with clients, very little demand.

but yes, you can just go and do it as you say, if you follow the rules it is pretty safe I think.

I read somewhere, but maybe someone can dig out the figures esp for the UK. That on average French guides qualify at 30 and work for 15 years. An accident, a client death, can be career ending too. Of course there are guides still working at 70 but they are more the exception.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Sun 22-02-15 22:24; edited 2 times in total
ski holidays
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
@JackSkier, there are lower level qualifications you can look at like the MLC and MIC. If you do those you will get a feel for what's involved and also be able to make a living from it while you train. You could also look at the BASI stuff. Without wanting to dis skiing, it's the climbing that is the toughest to achieve, and you will need to be extremely good to make the grade. You might want to look at some uni courses that are outdoor activities based where you can pick up qualifications along the way.

As to how realistic your plan is, without wanting to put a dampener on the plan, being a guide in climbing terms is similar to being a premier league footballer in football. What you are asking would be the same as someone who has never played football asking if they might one day play at the level.

On a more positive note read this. https://www.thebmc.co.uk/letter-to-me-advice-for-wannabe-mountain-guides
latest report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
jbob wrote:
without wanting to put a dampener on the plan, being a guide in climbing terms is similar to being a premier league footballer in football. What you are asking would be the same as someone who has never played football asking if they might one day play at the level.


Wow, really? Not doubting your opinion at all jbob but, knowing nothing about the profession myself, that sounds so harsh for a 15/16 year old who is basically saying they are committed and they'll do whatever it takes… could you maybe maybe explain to Jack and Euan (and for the benefit of anyone else reading who is as ignorant of the profession as I am) why it's so out of reach, so everybody 'gets it'?
snow conditions
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@miranda, I wasn't intending to be harsh. I guess I picked up on the realistic word too much. I did try to include some practical advice and a positive link to a successful aspirant.
With commitment and a lot of talent they could indeed be whatever they want. But like the footballer analogy, it's a numbers game, 100 or so working guides, five million climbers and skiers!
snow report
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@JackSkier,
As far as I know, if UK based then the usual route towards Mountain Guide would be something like...
MLTB ML Summer Training & Assessment (30 logged summits over 3000ft in different regions, couple of overnights etc)
MLTB ML Winter Training & Assessment (logged winter routes)
BMC Single Pitch Supervisors Award Training & Assessment (or whatever it's called now)
BMC Multi-Pitch Climbing Instructor Award
BASI 1, 2, ISIA, ISTD
MIC Award
Alpine Guide
Further Experience (Andean, Himalaya, Polar etc)
snow report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
It seems @franzClammer is not just a pretty face snowHead
snow conditions
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@franzClammer, I know some Cham based guides who do not ski to that level in terms of aesthetics or ability to teach. Extremely robust technique off piste however snowHead

@JackSkier, I am about to sound really old. And jaded. And this is only my experience/opinion.

- I would ask myself if maybe I am going at this from the wrong angle. Loving the mountains is one thing (I love the mountains). A true love of climbing, with an all consuming passion is another thing entirely and is what every guide I've met has, or at least, has had. Sometimes to the exclusion of all else (social skills, family, etc.) If you don't love climbing so much that you will forego everything and everyone else for a dawn start and a first ascent - I don't think this is going to work out.

- it's extremely hard to achieve. See jbob's comment above. Even once you have the required skills and experience including the climbing required (see my point above) it's 5 years, minimum.

- it's (often) incredibly hard work, mentally and physically.

- it's boringly dangerous. I.e. not glamorously dangerous. Every year guides die just in the Chamonix valley because mountains and nature. A guide, good friend, who's reached his late 40s and has a young family, said recently that he had no pension provision whatsoever because he genuinely didn't expect to ever need it - on the sound evidence that most of his climbing friends from his early years don't.

- it's not terribly well paid at all. If you don't have a genuine passion for the work, be a vicar.

So... loving the mountains is one thing. I love the mountains. That's why we a. restructured our corporate lives to base ourselves somewhere where the mountains are 30 mins away and skiing and lakes and b. we're now restructuring to allow more flexibility in enjoying them. But that meant university and (luck) in finding careers that allowed that. If I had applied a little more forethought and planning, I could have made all that much easier for myself. Not that I'm complaining Happy

I'd do a Uni course and start a career in something that would lend itself to being in the mountains professionally. Just not as a guide (I also do not enjoy dangling off bits of rock from strings). Avalanche science perhaps. That would be interesting. Trauma medicine Dr or nurse. Physiotherapy/sports medicine. IT programming.
ski holidays
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@under a new name talks a lot of sense, from a position of knowledge. I do understand why lots of young people who are good skiers and keen to spend more time doing it want to become ski instructors. But I don't really understand why someone who seems never to have done any climbing wants to become a mountain guide.

But I love mountains too - I understand that yearning. I have never done any climbing though - mountain walking, more like, though I don't do anything very demanding; a four hour walk with a Beaufort sandwich and an apple half way is more my thing. I can't imagine anything more fun than spending five years at university somewhere like Bangor or Sheffield getting a couple of degrees but spending my spare time and energy on climbing, exploring and becoming an expert navigator. Then maybe take stock.
snow conditions
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@pam w, +1

@JackSkier, also, and I really hope this doesn't come across as condescending... when I was 15 and 16 there were lots of things that I thought were quite cool. e.g. I wanted to be a nuclear physicist. 4 years of a physics degree sorted that notion out! LIfe and experience are more likely than not to change your current opinion.

So if I can be a little prescriptive, what you really, really, really want, are options. While having fun along the way, lots of fun, unless you can make yourself entirely self sufficient, at any point through life you want to be able to look around and state in a strong affirmative, "yes, I am useful to my (community of choice) and yes, people will gladly reward me well in (currency of desire) for being useful"

Oh and on jobs list above, airline pilot. It's not what it was, but almost all the ones I know love flying, enjoy their jobs, get well paid and lots of time off. And seem able to base themselves in attractive locations like the alps.

Also, back in the day, cabin crew... Twisted Evil
snow conditions
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I think maybe we're going a little over the top on the skill level here. Yes, you have to be a very good climber and a decent (but not ridiculously good) skier - but the guides aren't necessarily the best climbers. They are very good climbers who want to be guides - just like ski instructors aren't necessarily winning world cup races but are very good skiers who like teaching.

Anyway, back to the OP - it sounds like you are quite a way off even knowing if you enjoy all the activities you need to practice to be a guide. So, in your position, I'd get climbing, get ski touring etc as much as you possibly can but not to the exclusion of school and university - as I said earlier the latter actually provides great opportunities to do lots of skiing and climbing if you play it right. I don't know how much outdoors stuff you have done but you need to put yourself through some proper type II (and a bit of type III) fun ( http://kellycordes.com/2009/11/02/the-fun-scale/ ) and ask yourself whether that is something you want to make a habit of, and how you'd feel about it if you are dragging along a moaning, cold, unfit client on the end of a rope. I write this as someone who has been that moaning, cold, unfit client Embarassed
snow conditions
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Arno, they might not be the best climbers, but they certainly are amongst the most committed. Looking at the BMG site, that's a fairly serious amount of qualifying climbing to do. My point is ver much tha you need to be a climber first, guide second, and appreciate that those roles will be reversed once you're properly in training and working.

A dodgy analogy, but the mistress becomes the wife...
snow report
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
This video should give you an idea of what it is like to be a Swiss mountain guide

http://www.rts.ch/play/tv/26-minutes/video/les-tout-petits-bonheurs-skip-pannatier?id=6562163
snow conditions
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@under a new name, no doubt about that - my comment was a bit more aimed at jbob's comment about premiership footballers. some incredible, ground breaking climbers become guides, but you don't have to be quite that good to get your pre-requisites. you do have to tick off plenty of routes - agree with you there
ski holidays
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@under a new name, your post had me wondering who on earth would marry a guide and have children with them… they sound "intense"...
snow conditions
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Arno, ah, sorry!

@miranda, yes, some of them are! Not all of them though snowHead
snow report
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@JackSkier, Most of what a guide does involves is leading much less skilled folk around the mountains. This isn't a million miles away from what ski instructors do... so (given your ages) -- why not make a start with Snowsport England qualifications, then you can find out what being in front of a group is like, and whether you might enjoy it....
snow report
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
I think you do have the time to get good enough.

I agree with the uni idea - 1. it gives you a back up if you get injured and can't guide anymore; 2. uni clubs are really really good places to get good at sports like climbing. Look at some unis in Scotland.

Also remember that if you do the British guide system you need to have a lot of logged climbs in the UK - just doing them in the Alps isn't enough.

If you're set on German then Innsbruck uni would also be a good place to study, and enable you to do a hell of a lot of climbing and skiing, BUT you don't have the sports club system like in the UK. Also you'd have no debt as course fees are only like €300 a year, though you also won't get any student loans.

Also there's a lot to be said for working in the mountains without being directly involved in the ski industry - it's nice to have time to ski for yourself. Plus you'll earn more money and actually have holidays and stuff.
snow conditions
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@JackSkier, Several people have mentioned the leading/ dealing with clients thing. I am not a guide/ instructor (or anywhere near!!), but I am a sail training skipper and instructor and there is a big difference between loving to sail and loving the job of professional skipper. I enjoy it very much, but it is not my full time job and I have met many who are fed up to the extent that they stop enjoying their own sailing. However there are some who are made for it, you need to find out if that is you, or if you would be better keeping the skiing and climbing for your own pleasure.

As @ski says, Why not try playing to your strengths and work on ski instructing, building up the climbing for pleasure. If you love the client contact then you can think about getting the climbing up to professional standard. Don't forget that there are opportunities for work in the mountains without being a guide so it is not and all or nothing choice, any formal qualifications in skiing, climbing, mountain leader etc open up different possibilities, plenty of Brit instructors in Austrian ski schools for example.

Good luck with it.
snow conditions
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
I would talk to people who took that route already.

There's time to get climbing sorted if you're athletic and have the right attitude, but I'd wonder why you're not already doing it.

Personally I like climbing and snowboarding. So there's no way I'd want to spend my time guiding old Italian blokes up snow plods in the Alps, or teaching tourists to ski on the beginner slopes, or working my way through a traditional craft bureaucracy. Sure it's a way to be in the mountains, but it would turn something I do for fun into something I did at a significantly lower level for money. Customer service is not the same as sport.

So it depends what your goals are, and what *business* skills you have to make them happen.
snow report
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@JackSkier, I'm 36 and stepped away from a professional job at 28 to move to the mountains. Since then, I've got qualified as a mountain-bike guide, International Mountain Leader and I'm now within touching distance of being an ISTD Snowboard Instructor. When I was planning the move, back in my mid-20's, I did think about trying to become a mountain guide, but decided it wasn't realistic for me for a few reasons:

1. I'm a snowboarder, not a skier, so I'd be more or less starting from scratch even on that front.
2. While I was climbing pretty regularly at the time, I wasn't operating at anything even resembling a high-level and it would have taken a big push to reach the grades required.
3. I had some winter walking/mountaineering experience, but had done no "proper" winter climbing.
4. I really questioned whether or not I had it in me to achieve the list of big-mountain ticks required. We are talking North Face of the Eiger stuff here, no messing around, very serious mountaineering. I'm not sure I really have (or had) the stomach for that.

Make no mistake, the BMG mountain guide is a climbing qualification first and foremost, and a British/Scottish climbing qualification at that (at least 2 seasons of seriously dedicated Scottish winter climbing would be required just to get tick-list necessary, never mind the broader experience to reach that level). While the ski side of it is important, and many British guides work primarily as ski guides in the winter, most British guides are climbers who ski, rather than skiers who climb. I've been in the mountains with many BMG guides and some of them, I hope they won't mind me saying, are merely very competent skiers, rather than truly exceptional. BMG guides have come on a long way on the ski side of things - traditionally, they got a lot of respect from their European counter-parts for their rock & ice skills, not so much for their skiing skills, but that has changed a lot. As you would expect, skiing is viewed as a more equal part of the guides' remit by the big Alpine nations.

Think strongly about becoming a ski instructor rather than a guide if your skiing is a long way ahead of your climbing. The distinction between the 2 is quite blurred at the top level in most places in Europe. In terms of off-piste skiing, the main difference is that guides can lead on glacial terrain and instructors cannot. This is a big deal in places like Chamonix, where there are many glaciers, but is almost irrelevant in many other places (e.g. The Tarentaise - Val d'Isere, Tignes, Les Arcs, La Plagne, Sainte Foy, etc.....).

I would suggest getting on BASI 1 (ski instructor) and ML (Summer Mountain Leader) courses as soon as you can (assuming you have the experience). These courses will give you a taster of both the eventual job and the training required to get there. They will also bring you into contact with top-level ski instructors and MIA/MIC/Mountain Guides who will be able to give you invaluable advice.

@franzClammer's advice on the progression of qualifications towards BMG is valid, as many guides do go down that route, but it's not a pre-requisite for the guides course to have progressed through all of the other UK Mountain Leadership awards. You can go straight to the guides' course, but this route is usually followed by people who are already hard climbers and want to turn it into a career. Working your way through the other qualifications would cost more, but would also give the opportunity to earn money at lower levels along the way and provide a huge amount of training and experience.

Finally, on the difference between being in the mountains for yourself and with clients, it's something which really depends on you and your personality. Some people find that they hate teaching/guiding. They'd rather just be doing their own thing. For me, that's never been the case - I genuinely enjoy being out on the hill with clients of all different levels. There are, of course, days when it feels like hard work (usually when you're tired, carrying an injury, the weather is awful and the clients are irritating and you'd rather just be at home) but, for me, they're massively out-weighed by days when it's the best job in the world.
snow report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
davidof wrote:

I read somewhere, but maybe someone can dig out the figures esp for the UK. That on average French guides qualify at 30 and work for 15 years. .


^ this is perhaps the most important information in this thread.
i would guess that most british guides don't get international UIAGM certification until even later (mid 30s) ?

in theory you could do it earlier...
but the logistics / finances of gaining the required experience means that most don't qualify until later in life.
basically you need a job somewhere like Aviemore / Chamonix that allows you to get out in the mountains a lot and finance your training
even once qualified it is not an easy way to make a living - guiding 4000m peaks is tough on the body.
so it is worth having a solid plan B.

a significant % of UK UIAGM guides work for Glenmore lodge before qualifying.
they have an instructor development scheme (used to be called the night watch man scheme) that you can apply for.
it is very competitive to get in but is ideal for enabling young people to get the right qualifications and experience in short period of time.

best advice is that if you really want to be a guide then start getting some basic qualifications now (Mountain Leader, Winter ML, Single Pitch Rock etc).
at 16 the world is your oyster Very Happy
ski holidays
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
As @Haggis_Trap says, "night watch" scheme at Glenmore lodge is a great way to get started. Plas y Brenin (the equivalent centre in Wales) has a similar scheme.
snow report
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
franzClammer wrote:
MLTB ML Summer Training & Assessment (30 logged summits over 3000ft in different regions, couple of overnights etc)

I'm fairly sure I had done this number of climbs before I was 18, it doesn't have to cost that much to do.
snow conditions



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy