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Ski guide


State certified ski guide

How does one actually become a ski guide?

The Ski guide training is regulated by law. The regional ski instructor associations are responsible. The regional ski instructor associations have transferred the implementation of the ski guide training course to the Tyrolean Ski Instructors' Association.
Admission to the ski guide training is granted to those who fulfil the following requirements:
  • Completed Diploma ski instructor training
  • positive ski guide aptitude test
  • Tour report from 10 completed ski tours
  • Medical confirmation of physical fitness

The practical alpine training for ski instructors in Austria begins with the 7-day Alpine course for state ski instructors. This is followed by another seven days of Alpine course during the state ski instructor training. The ski guide training afterwards lasts about 24 days. In three modules, the candidates are comprehensively taught the skills of ski mountaineering. Both practical and theoretical contents are part of the training. In total, a state-certified ski guide thus completes 38 alpine training days.

The theoretical part deals with the following topics in any case:

  • Alpine and glaciology
  • Snow and avalanche awareness
  • Meteorology and alpine hazards
  • Maps and orienteering
  • Tour planning and tour guiding
  • Equipment and device knowledge
  • Professional knowledge and regulations on ski schooling and mountain guiding
  • Nature and environmental studies

At practical part the following training subjects are taught:

  • Ski touring and ski mountaineering
  • Orienteering
  • Practical snow and avalanche awareness
  • Mountain rescue exercises

At the end of the training, the candidates take a final examination. Only after positive completion are they allowed to use the title Certified ski instructor and ski guide wear. 

Here is an interesting article about ski guide training on news.at >

What is a ski guide allowed to do?

The ski instructor profession (as well as the mountain guide profession) is in State laws regulated. According to the Vorarlberg Ski School Act ski instruction and guiding and accompanying during skiing (= ski touring/freeriding) may only be carried out by licensed snow sports instructors or within the framework of ski schools. The licence also entitles the holder to lead ski tours with an alpine level of difficulty. After the Tyrolean Ski School Act of 1995 are available for professional driving and accompanying people on ski tours and descents in the open ski area, apart from mountain and ski guides, only qualified ski instructors and ski guides within the framework of authorised ski schools are authorised. Ski guides are also authorised to guide in glaciated terrain and on winter ridges up to difficulty level I (UIAA). 

The Austrian Ski School enjoys a worldwide reputation. Not only because of the skiing technique, for which Austria has always been considered a model. But above all because of the high level of safety and professionalism that the highly trained instructors ensure in dealing with their guests. Guiding people in the open ski area, over glaciers and snow-covered ridges, to summits or on traverses, is a great responsibility. It is no coincidence that this profession is reserved for professionals in Austria. In Austria, only state-certified mountain and ski guides or certified ski instructors and ski guides are authorised to guide professionally when skiing!

In the interest of your own safety, make sure that you only entrust yourself to trained and licensed professionals. If in doubt, ask to see your mountain guide's licence or your ski instructor's/ski guide's licence.