Guiding adventures is a complex undertaking. On our Icefalls Winter Hike, for example, you need to demonstrate snowshoeing skills, share stories of the trail, manage risks, be ready to respond to emergencies, serve snacks, manage the pace and set the stage for the goosebump moment.
Grouping these tasks into a set of competencies allows us to simplify how we look at the role of the guide and to better focus our training in a way that aligns with the adventure framework.
The first two competencies are about understanding:
- the adventure tourism context and the role of the guide; and
- the elements of authentic adventures.
The other five competencies are related to the skills required to facilitate the adventure building blocks. The adventure guide needs to have:
- the technical and coaching skills to lead the activities;
- the skills to facilitate the moments;
- the skills to provide a safe environment;
- the organizational and guest services skills required to execute the logistics of the adventure; and
- the skills to facilitate reflective activities that reinforce memories.
We’ll come back to these throughout this module as we consider opportunities for professional development.
The difference between a guide who is just getting started and an experienced guide is not based on technical skills, working in a higher terrain class or local knowledge alone but rather on the ability to make decisions in increasingly complex situations.
This is not something that can be easily evaluated in a certification course but rather is something that can be demonstrated through training, experience and in the field evaluations.