AAA Ski Guide Training

Alaska Alpine Adventures is ramping up their ski program with trips to Lake Clark National Park and ski cruises to Prince William Sound. AAA owner Dan Oberlatz asked me to share ski guide skills with him, his office-manager and guide Aaron Fetter and guides Brian, Haley and JonDavid. 

On day one we climbed Cornbiscuit at Turnagain Pass, working on skills such as avoiding kick turns, quick stability assessment and blind-folded track-setting. Atop Cornbiscuit we practiced downguiding on a steep powder line on Cornbiscuit's north side. 

On day two we adventured to the Flower Box. None of us had been to the Flower Box. Part of the homework was developing a trip plan for the route. Here's Dan and Aaron feeling the warmth of spring on the rim of the Flower Box with Turnagain Arm behind. 

 

Day two was student led. It's odd calling Aaron and Dan my students. Ha! Here is Aaron leading to the back of the Flower Box. 

 

High in the Flower Box we stopped to build emergency shelters. Twenty-five minutes for one person to create a blizzard-proof shelter for five people. 

 

You pass! The AAA crew inside one of the emergency shelters: JonDavid, Dan, Aaron, Haley and Brian. 

 

Above the Flower Box we found our first choice route to Wolverine Bowl was too exposed. We switched to Plan B: skiing a 45-degree face into the valley. I demoed a ski anchor to belay Dan as he made a ski cut to sluff-out the face. Customers who are new to Alaskan faces can be freaked by the roaring sluffs. If a guide cleans a face of sluff then customers can enjoy the steep skiing.  

 

JonDavid, Aaron, Brian, Dan and Haley below the face. We like guide training!

 

The last skill I taught was the Murphy's Law of A to B tours: If you shuttle a car then you won't get from point A to point B. Since we didn't shuttle a car, we succeeded at getting from point A to point B. The problem was, we still had to get back to our car a point A.  

Thanks AAA for a fun couple days! Fun crew!