Ski Guide Level 1 Course




* A pass from the Technical Ski Examination
* Attended the 4 day Ski Guide Training Course
* A positive recommendation from the 6 day Snow and Ice Guide Training Course

Participants will be assessed on their personal ski touring, ski mountaineering, skiing ability, and rope rescue techniques.

Participants will be expected to be fully conversant with all topics taught on the Ski Guide and Snow & Ice Guiding Training Courses .

They may be assessed on any topic of the Ski Guide syllabus at any stage of the course, with allowance made in the final marking for improvement.

During the second part of the course, participants will be expected to show that they are developing an understanding of guiding techniques and have sufficient amateur ski touring skills to integrate these techniques into simulated guiding assignments. They will need to be able to demonstrate basic instruction skills for teaching clients off-piste ski technique.

Location, timing, and length
Ski Guides Courses will include both Level 1 and Level 2 participants.
The course will take place in one of the high alpine areas of the Southern Alps. Typical venues are Aoraki/Mt Cook, Westland, and Mount Aspiring.
Ski Guides Courses are 14 days long and are held around the end of September.

On passing a Ski Guide Level 1 Course and receiving ratification from the Technical Subcommittee, the participant attains the status of NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide.

Competence level
An Assistant Ski Guide has sufficient experience to work under indirect supervision on heliski, and ski touring operations in glaciated terrain. You have the ability to analyse terrain and snowpack for hazard and the leadership and communication skills to safely lead clients through the mountains.
Teaching and group management skills should be adequate for you to assist on basic and intermediate level ski mountaineering instruction courses under supervision.
Guided mountaineering must be done under direct supervision and only to access skiing and to be on no more than grade 1 terrain.
Personal mountaineering competence should be at grade 2 or higher.

Before attending this course ensure you have read and are familiar with:
Professional Terrain and Supervision Guidelines
Assessment on NZMGA Courses
Course Advice and Preliminary Information
Technical Syllabus
Analysis of Topics

Return_to_topSyllabus and Marking Schedule -  Ski Guide Level 1 & Level 2

        Topic (See Analysis of Topics) Possible Mark
  Client care  
1 Trip preparation and planning 10
2 Communication with client 10
3 Route selection 20
4 Terrain analysis 20
5 Pace setting 10
6 Cooking and camp management 10
7 Shelters and bivouacs 10
8 Application of guiding technique 10
9 Group management 10
10 Heliski guiding 10
11 Client control 20
12 Client safety 20
  Subtotal  160
  Personal skills and knowledge  


General mountain movement 10
14 Fitness and stamina 10
15 Professionalism and personal appearance 10
16 Personal equipment 5
17 Reaction under stress 10
18 Leadership and decision making 10
19 Rope handling


22  Snow and ice climbing  10
23 Step cutting 5
24 Belays on snow and ice 10
25 Navigation 10
26  Snow safety skills 20
27 Mountain weather 10
31 Speech and contact with students 10
32 Structure of the lesson 10
33 Site selection 10
34 Support material and demonstration 10
35 Ability to motivate 10
  Search and Rescue  
37 Crevasse extraction 10
38 Stretchers 10
39 Avalanche rescue and transceivers 10

41 Downhill skiing (Alpine) 20
42 Laying a skinning track 20
  Subtotal 40

Course Total 410

Final comments
Trainers/assessors will give a written summary with comments and recommendations.

Mandatory non-assessment topics
These topics must be covered in a discussion format:

  • Radio use
  • Aircraft safety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • NZMGA Harassment Policy
  • NZMGA Accident Investigation Policy
  • NZMGA Terrain, Supervision and Professional Guidelines