The most significant guide news is that long time SMG guide Marc Hanselman is about to be a father. His wife Heidi is due in mid-November. All those alpine starts have just been training for the sleepless nights ahead! Best of luck to both of them!
Drew Daly passed his 11-day American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Advanced Alpine Guide Course with flying colors. Held in the North Cascades of Washington, Drew was evaluated for his guiding skills climbing mixed snow, ice, and rock. Remaining for Drew are the exams for each of the three guiding disciplines: rock, alpine, and ski mountaineering. Once he completes these, he’ll become a fully-certified IFMGA guide. All told, full certification requires 10 courses/exams totaling 91 days – not to mention countless days of training and experience. Drew also works on the Sun Valley Ski Patrol, and was lucky enough to land a patrol exchange in France for this winter!
Erik, Sara, and Chris returned from a Corporate Trip in Costa Rica in early October – check out some awesome photos! Looking for a reprieve from the tropical climate, Erik immediately headed to the desert southwest for some guest guiding at Red Rocks. From there it was on to the AMGA annual meeting for some continuing education.
Earlier this fall, Chris achieved his Certified Instructor status through the American Avalanche Association. After 15+ years in the avalanche world, he’s now begun the road towards guide certification by enrolling in an AMGA Ski Guides Course for the upcoming winter. Sara is wait listed for her Ski Mountaineering Guides Exam – which would complete her certification in the ski discipline.
SMG also welcomes our winter intern, Tanner Haskins!
SMG will be purchasing a new fleet of avalanche beacons this winter, retiring our venerable BCA Trackers. Beacon technology is changing fast, and we feel strongly that everyone should go into the backcountry with a modern beacon. By modern, we mean a three antenna digital model less than 5 years old. While beacons are remarkably durable, they aren’t designed to last forever! Before heading out with clients, we always perform a full function check (battery strength, send, receive). We also recommend doing a range check several times each winter.
While a few of our ski guides have been using airbag packs for years, they haven’t been universally adopted by our staff. Added weight, expense, and poor pack designs have been the limiting factors. Unfortunately there hasn’t been much improvement on the weight front, but the pack and airbag designs are definitely improving. It looks like several of our guides will be purchasing Mammut’s Pro Protection Pack. With a great design and 35L of volume, it looks like a perfect pack for professional use. Also, the airbag deploys around your head which may protect from trauma.
While we could go on for eternity about ski gear, we’ll limit it to gushing about the new Dynafit TLT 6. Nearly all of our regular ski guides have been skiing on the TLT 5 for the past few years, and they’ve rocked our world. For day-in, day-out comfort, performance, and lightweight, they can’t be beat. The few complaints some of us had have been addressed in the new TLT 6. All of our guides have either bought these boots, or will but just don’t know it yet!
Most of our winter programs remain unchanged, including a full schedule of the area’s only AIARE Level 1 and Level 2 avalanche courses. SMG will also be hosting a professional-level, week long AIARE Level 3 course based at Smiley Creek Lodge.
Our biggest update this winter is the addition of discounted weekly guided ski tours. Each Wednesday throughout the winter we’ll offer the Powder Patrol, a guided powder hunting mission on Galena and/or Banner Summits. This program is perfect for anyone looking to get out and enjoy a great day in the mountains skiing untracked snow. Every Saturday we’ll offer the Sawtooth Chute Club, an advanced ski tour that will be more objective-driven. This group will set it’s sights on chutes, couloirs, and peaks of the Sawtooths and neighboring ranges.
That’s all for now…here’s to a huge winter full of epic snow and endless turns!