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High altitude ski tour Pitztal

Who is allowed to lead ski tours?

The question "Who is allowed to guide ski tours?" concerns many recreational athletes. Those who join a guided ski tour trust in the competence, qualification and legitimacy of the guide. Last but not least, one's own safety depends on the decisions and leadership tactics of the ski tour guide.

Who is now allowed to lead ski tours?

In Austria, two professional groups are authorised to commercially guide ski tours. The first professional group are State-certified mountain and ski guides. The second group are Snow sports instructor and only those that have State diploma ski instructor training and ski guide training have completed.

State-certified mountain and ski guides

State certified Mountain and ski guide must complete a demanding three-year training course. The candidates are trained in all facets of winter and summer alpinism. The training is preceded by a demanding aptitude test in which the candidates have to prove their above-average personal skills. Every graduate of the mountain guide training must be officially authorised. This automatically makes the mountain guide a member of the mountain guide association and he or she must take out a comprehensive insurance package - liability insurance alone is covered to the tune of 8 million euros. This not only covers the mountain guide in the event of an accident, but above all his or her guests.

State certified ski instructors & ski guides

Snowsport instructors also receive extensive alpine training as part of their education. Ski instructor candidate, the first level of training, receive safety training but are only allowed to teach in the organised ski area. National ski instructor complete a seven-day alpine course and are then authorised to guide on ski routes and on variants in the vicinity of pistes and lifts. However, national ski instructors are not allowed to ascend. Graduate ski instructor go through Another week Alpine training and deepen the topics of alpine safety once again. The scope of authorisation compared to the national ski instructor does not change yet. After passing the aptitude test, diploma ski instructors are then allowed to take part in the ski guide training. The training for Ski guide lasts about 24 days. Here, training in alpine safety is perfected. In addition to theoretical parts, ski guides are trained practically in the areas of ski touring and ski mountaineering, orienteering, practical snow and avalanche awareness and mountain rescue exercises. Ski guides are authorised to guide and accompany people on ski tours and downhill runs in the open ski area. The range of use extends from ski touring and ski mountaineering in glaciated areas to UIAA I difficulty levels. More information about the Ski guide training is available here.

Important: Professional liability insurance

Of course, the insurance aspect does not only apply to mountain guides. State-certified certified ski instructors & ski guides may ONLY work within the framework of a Ski school or with an upright Concession lead commercially. Why is this so? With the registration of a ski school (also a "one-man ski school") or the application for a concession, ski guides must also have a Insurance certificate produce. 

Professional liability insurance is covered for 7 million euros. If an accident happens despite careful planning and safety measures and consequential damages occur, both the guests and the guide are covered. Black guides do not have this insurance!

"Black drivers are not only a safety risk. Without professional liability insurance, those affected are often left empty-handed after an accident with consequential damages!"

Is the Alpine Club allowed to lead ski tours?

The Federal Sports Academy Innsbruck, together with the Federation of Alpine Clubs of Austria, conducts a training of Instructors for high altitude ski tours by. Instructors for ski mountaineering are allowed to lead members of alpine clubs on ski mountaineering tours (climbing glaciers and short summit ascents on rock). The training is only open to people who work in clubs, schools or other non-profit organisations. honorary work. These persons are not authorised to guide for gain. The training to become an instructor for high-altitude ski tours lasts 12 days.

Who is still allowed to lead ski tours?

In addition to the people mentioned above, there is another group that is allowed to lead ski tours. In Austria, both the Austrian Armed Forces and the police train their own mountain guides. Police and army mountain guide perform tasks related to the fulfilment of official duties. Police mountain guides, for example, are responsible for the investigation of alpine accidents. Army mountain guides are special units deployed in the winter mountains. However, neither police nor army mountain guides are allowed to lead commercial ski tours.

How do I recognise authorised ski guides?

The question "Who is allowed to lead ski tours?" is of course inextricably linked to the recognition of legitimate ski guides.

State-certified and authorised Mountain and ski guide must carry an identity card with them. They are also recognisable by the mountain guide badge of the International Mountain Guide Association. More info on the Recognition of mountain and ski guides is available here.

 Also state-certified Certified Ski Instructor & Ski Guide must be able to identify themselves. Only if they have a valid ski school or ski instructor licence or are employed in a ski school do they have the ID card of the competent national ski instructor association with a valid annual stamp. The card also shows the snow sports instructor's qualification. State-certified ski instructors & guides may also wear a badge.

Alex Kunert
Alexander Kunert is a state-certified ski instructor & ski guide. With ridewithme.guide he works as a self-employed licensed ski instructor & ski guide. He is mainly on the road in the Arlberg, in the Ötztal Alps and in the Silvretta.

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