Adventure Guide Training

Guides play a key role in the adventures our guests get to experience. It’s a role that brings a lot of varied skills together, from teaching new activities and sharing stories to setting a safe environment and orchestrating the details that make the adventure happen.

Interestingly, there are very few guide training programs focused on adventure tourism. As we worked on refining how we approach adventures, we realized that most of the training opportunities available to our guides were designed for other contexts like outdoor recreation, interpretation and outdoor education. That’s why we chose to build our own program.

Our adventure guide training courses are built to meet the competencies identified in the Adventure Travel Guide Standard (ATGS) from the Adventure Travel Trade Association. The ATGS brings together the technical skills required to lead outdoor recreation activities, the knowledge needed to interpret our natural and cultural history along with the necessary skills to lead intentional adventures that include the components of adventure travel: physical activity, cultural interaction and engagement with nature.

Our training is also designed to meet the requirements of the Field Leader certification set by the Outdoor Council of Canada (OCC). This certification is focused on leading safe outdoor programs and is required in many cases by land managers.

Scenic Float Tour on the North Saskatchewan River
Abraham Lake Ice Bubbles

The ATGS and OCC are both based on the principle of continuous learning through a variety of opportunities, from formal certification courses to in-the-field experiences and mentorship opportunities. This way, guides begin their journey by leading simple adventures before progressing to more complex itineraries. The progression is based on gaining the necessary knowledge and experience rather than acquiring certifications.

Our Adventure Guide Training courses are specific to commercial guiding but a lot of the content may be of interest to others who enjoy adventures or who lead outdoor adventures for school groups, hiking clubs or friends.

The Training Program

It all starts with training that introduces the basics of adventure guiding, from the role of the adventure guide to the skills needed to lead specific activities and the knowledge to share what makes our destination special. Once this is in place, it’s time to learn how these skills are applied at the organization where you guide and to look for opportunities to continue to learn as a guide.

Adventure Guide Course

The Adventure Guide Course is the foundation for all our other courses. It provides an introduction to the adventure tourism context, our adventure framework and the universal skills required to lead a number of adventure tourism activities.

It consists of four online courses and one day of in-person training where we apply the concepts learned online to plan an adventure. The online courses are also a great option on their own for those who are curious to learn more about guiding and as a refresher for returning guides.

Hiking Siffleur Falls

Adventure Guide Training Course

The Adventure Guide Training Course is the foundation that all our other courses are based on. It covers the frameworks we use and the principles that apply to facilitating memorable experiences for our guests.


The Role of the Adventure Guide

This course takes a look at the various skills required, from teaching new activities and sharing stories to setting a safe environment and orchestrating the details that make the adventure happen.

Whitegoat Falls Guided Hike

Guiding Authentic Adventures

Authentic adventures happen when our purpose as guides, our destination's sense of place and our guests' motivations align. This course provides an introduction to these elements as part of the Adventure Guide Training Course.

Scenic Float Tour on the North Saskatchewan River

Guiding Viable, Desirable & Feasible Adventures

Successful adventures need to be sustainable over the long term. This course provides an introduction to the constraints we need to consider to ensure that our adventures can be viable, desirable and feasible.

Inspired by Nature Tour Series

The Building Blocks of Guided Adventures

This course covers the core of the adventure and introduces the elements that need to come together to create a memorable guest experience.

Adventure Specific Training

These courses build on the Adventure Guide Training Course to prepare guides to lead specific types of commercial adventure tours. The Hiking Guide, Scenic Float Guide and Winter Adventures Guide courses meet the requirements, when the in-person course is completed, for the Field Leader certification from the Outdoor Council of Canada.

If you are interested in Paddle Canada courses, HeLa Ventures offers individual courses as well as an intensive 2.5 months Adventure Leadership Practicum that includes many certification courses.


Hiking Guide Training

This course builds on our Adventure Guide Training Courses to train guides leading hiking tours.


Scenic Float Guide Training

This course builds on our Adventure Guide Training Courses to train guides leading commercial scenic float trips using inflatable rafts with oars on the North Saskatchewan River.

Destination Knowledge

Knowing our destination is key in helping our guests create connections with the region. These courses provide a starting point as you discover what makes the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region special. If you’re guiding in the nearby National Parks, the Interpretive Guides Association offers courses specific to those areas.

Professional Development

Adventure guiding is a lifelong learning journey. There are many ways to do this, including certification courses, in-the-field experience with more experienced guides and professional development workshops. Girth Hitch Guiding offers some great courses locally, including avalanche safety training.