the original mechanized ski guide course

The 13th Annual North America Mechanized Ski Guide Course is April 22-29, 2017, in Valdez, Alaska.

Space is limited to 8! Contact Josh Cooley at 307-421-5782 or with questions and to reserve.

NAMSG combines highly specialized training with exclusive helicopter skiing access to terrain that is not available to any other operator. Upon completion of the course, you will receive NAMSG Certification in Avalanche Hazards Forecasting & High-Angle/Crevasse Rescue for Remote Guided Aircraft Operations along with advanced understanding of mechanized guiding. 

This course is ideal for mountain professionals who work in and around avalanche terrain and want to increase their depth of knowledge in top-down terrain management, focusing on visual/verbal route selection and on the go snow stability assessment, while learning all aspects of remote guided aircraft operations in a dynamic big mountain environment. 

Your classroom is 4,000 square miles of the Chugach Mountains surrounding Valdez in remote big mountain terrain with massive glaciation. Our instructors are all professional mechanized ski guides with unmatched industry knowledge and experience.

Course Cost

$4,500 (All-Inclusive)

  • 2.5 hours of helicopter blade time
  • 7 days training, 7 nights lodging (double occupancy rate)
  • 21 meals (breakfast, heli-ready lunch, dinner)
  • Course materials
  • Safety equipment (pack, avalanche transceiver, probe, shovel, harness)
  • Valdez airport H2O shuttle

$3,597 (Non-inclusive)

  • 2.5 hours of helicoper blade time
  • 7 days training
  • Course materials
  • Safety equipment (pack, avalanche transceiver, probe, shovel, harness)
  • Valdez airport H2O shuttle

Course Prerequisites

  • Hold a current level 1 snow science certification such as AIARE, AAI, or equivalent avalanche training
  • Advanced to professional skiing and/or snowboarding ability
  • Basic knowledge of mechanical advantage systems and knots for crevasse/high angle rescue
  • Current Wilderness First Responder, Outdoor Emergency Care, Emergency Medical Technician or equivalent medical training is recommended
  • Excellent physical fitness

Field and Classroom Course Topics Include:

  • Guide duties
  • Flight deck operations including staging area configuration, fueling, and flight following
  • Helicopter operations including Landing Zone/Pickup Zone configuration, aircraft capabilities/limitations, loading/unloading procedures, and production helicopter skiing
  • Top down terrain management, on-the-go hazards assessment, and visual/verbal route selection
  • Basic glaciology and glacier travel protocols
  • Crevasse and high-angle rescue
  • Weather and snow stability forecasting and selection of daily regions of operations
  • Companion rescue, multiburial search and rescue, and using the helicopter for search and rescue
  • Radio communications with two-way radios and high-power ridgetop radio repeater
  • Snowmachine operations
  • Your guide pack and equipment
  • Guest relations
  • Your professional development as a mechanized ski guide