Level III – Lead Guides
Level III guides are Lead Guides or supervisors, able to lead groups of helicopter skiers without supervision and to oversee the activities of all groups operating from a single helicopter. Level III Guides are viewed as leaders, both within and outside of a Helicopter Skiing Operation and it is anticipated that, over time, they will become instructors in one or more of the disciplines germane to Helicopter Skiing. In addition to the skills, knowledge, education, and experience of Level I and Level II guides, Level III guides should be able to demonstrate and/or document the experience, skills and training described in this section.
Minimum of 40 additional days of on-snow guiding experience, in at least two ski seasons, with a Helicopter Skiing Operation.
Training Pre-Requisites & Essential Skills
Level III Guides should be able to demonstrate:
Weather, Avalanches, and Snow Safety
- Level III Certificate issued by the American Avalanche Institute (AAI), American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), AVPRO by American Avalanche Association (AAA), Level II Certificate issued by the Canadian Avalanche Association or equivalent certificate issued by a recognized sanctioning body.
- Ongoing participation in formal avalanche courses, seminars, workshops or instructor courses, and/or continued employment as a snow safety technician with frequent and regular participation in avalanche control and snow safety work.
- A thorough understanding of, and the ability to access and utilize, information and data for the forecasting of mountain weather and avalanche hazard.
- A thorough understanding of, and the ability to supervise, avalanche hazard evaluation and mitigation for a heli-skiing operation.
- Knowledge of, and the ability to supervise, the observation and recording of avalanche activity and the gathering and recording of weather, avalanche, and snowpack data.
- Knowledge of avalanche rescue principles, procedures, and techniques sufficient to prepare and present briefings and training sessions and to fill any leadership role during an avalanche rescue.
Emergency Medical Care, Rescue, and Evacuation
- Recurrent training and continuing certifications of emergency medical credentials as described for Associate Guides and Guides.
- Valid American Red Cross CPR for the Professional Rescuer or American Heart Association Health Care Provider BLS certification and AED training.
- Continued experience and/or training, and the ability to provide training, in technical extrication, stabilization, evacuation, and transportation of sick and/or injured patients, pertinent to the terrain and conditions likely to be encountered within a given operation.
- Thorough knowledge of all available rescue resources.
- Understanding of the relationships between the Helicopter Skiing Operation and other entities (Forest Service, BLM, States, landowners, Law Enforcement, EMS) as they pertain to rescue and evacuation of injured persons and participation in other Search and Rescue (SAR) events.
Winter Backcountry Travel and Skiing/Riding Skills
Continued pursuit of the development of high level expert skills in skiing and/or snowboarding; the ability to accurately and objectively evaluate the skills of others; and the ability to provide training in a wide range of those skills.
Helicopter Skiing Operations
- Knowledge of the policies and procedures of a particular Helicopter Skiing Operation including, but not limited to, procedures for regular or standard operations, custom or special operations, and emergency operations; and the ability to supervise others in the implementation of those policies and procedures.
- A thorough knowledge of the Operating Area, including Permit Boundaries, No-Fly and Restricted Use areas, major landmarks, emergency evacuation routes and aviation hazards.
- A thorough knowledge of areas of operation, peaks, drainages, runs, climate, weather, snowpack, and surface snow conditions.
- A thorough knowledge of the conditions of any permits under which a particular operation is conducted, and the ability to supervise and direct operations in accordance with those permits.
- An understanding of interactions between and impacts upon different groups within a Helicopter Skiing Operation and the ability to supervise operations in such a way as to minimize internal conflicts and negative impacts upon recreationists and other land users.
- Knowledge of and the ability to instruct others on procedures for communications between guides, pilots, and other participants in the Helicopter Skiing Operation and the ability to direct the flow and improve the efficacy of those communications
- Knowledge, understanding and ability sufficient to prepare and present safety briefings and training sessions for other employees of the Helicopter Skiing Operation.
- A reasonable understanding of the operating costs associated with a particular Helicopter Skiing Operation and the ability to conduct operations in a businesslike manner while maintaining safety as a priority.
Guiding / Interpersonal Skills
- Continued development of public speaking and group management skills.
- Continued development of the “soft” interpersonal skills used in guiding Helicopter Skiing clients.
- Continued development of the ability to communicate effectively and work closely with co-workers in the Helicopter Skiing Operation, while filling a supervisory role.
- Experience, education and training contributing to the development of the skills and knowledge involved in managing the field operations of a helicopter skiing business.
- Advanced conflict resolution skills.
- The ability to manage and supervise heli-skiing operations, using feedback from other team members, to provide guests with the best possible experience on a given day, while simultaneously paying attention to safety and the business aspects of the Helicopter Skiing Operation.