Why using a guide in my next ski trip?
Updated: Nov 3, 2018
For many of us, a ski trip is not only about skiing, but about the whole experience. The destination, the ski resort, the snow, the views, the food, the after skiing, the party... So why should i use a ski guide? Well, the answer is easy, he is a local, and as a local he/she will know all the best spots, the best restaurants, the best deals, and maximize your time there. In and outside of the mountain.
Using a ski guide while you are in the ski resort, will save you hours of wondering. After 10 min riding with him, probably will know which runs are going to be the most fun for you and your group. If you are looking to find fresh powder, he will take you to the spots nobody goes, faster than most of the other non-locals, and in a much safer way.
The guide will know what direction was the wind blowing last few days, where to find the best snow, what is the best terrain according to your ability, and will show you places that even for the ones that are not new to the ski resort, will find like a hidden gem. Also they know the place better than anybody, so when the weather rolls in, and it ́s foggy or whiteout, your guide will know how to get back safely, and where to keep riding for the rest of the day.
All of us have follow tracks to get to fresh snow, and probably ended up at the bottom of a creek, having to take off skis or boards, and traverse back in the flats for hours to get back to the lifts, yes, I’m thinking about Niseko. A guide will save you all that hassle. Besides, they are professionals with first aids knowledge and had been trained to make the right decisions in moments of stress.
For the ones that are not so intrepid to go off piste or looking for powder, a guide will show you around the ski resort. We all have followed that friend who told us that “you ́ll be fine in that double black diamond, is barely icy” and ended up “butt-sliding” the run or taking off our skis and walk down. Your guide will pick slopes that you feel comfortable, that are a challenge, and also will give you tips about your riding skills, since most of them have a teaching background. Also if you want to know the run with breath-taking views, or where to have the best cappuccino on the slopes, your guide will know the answer.
But the most important thing of them all is your safety. Nobody can guarantee your 100% safety on a ski trip. Accidents happens, but with a guide, definitely will improve your safety. They know the snow conditions and the mountain, helping you to avoid those hidden cracks, creeks, cliffs, or dangerous spots of the mountain.
Off the slopes, your guide will know the best deals. What shops are in sales, what restaurants have the best food in town, what bars are having happy hour. Basically, they will make your logistics way easier, as they will also speak the local language, it will save you hours of struggling to book that super nice Japanese restaurant with only Japanese waiters, or help you to book that French ski-in chalet since the person taking your booking have a thick accent you can ́t understand.
Tips on getting the most from your Ski Guide:
Clarify the hours, price and expectations of your Guided Ski Day: How long is the day? Is lunch included? Typically you take your guide to lunch if it's all day.
Ask what safety gear is included and/or required: PEEPS, transceivers, Airbag backpack?
Describe your ski ability accurately, don't over or underestimate your skill level.
Tell your Guide what type of skiing you prefer before your adventure begins.
Ask about the conditions, understanding the 1:5 avalanche ratings and that weather and snow will affect where you can go.
Communicate with your Guide as you go how you are feeling - if you want to go faster, slower, more chatting or less, etc.
Respect your Guide's expertise and experience, ultimately they decide what is safe to ski.
Ask questions, Guides are a great resource for local information - both environmental and
NEVER pass your Guide, always stop above your ski guide unless instructed otherwise.
Contributing Writer & Business Development Manager | Limitless Life Tour