Pre-Season Professional Development

Old man Winter has established his foothold here in the Whites. Intrepid climbers have been out sniffing out early season ice for almost a month. I got out before Thanksgiving to climb Pinnacle Gully in great early season conditions. I also grabbed my first two ski days of the 2014/15 season, opening day (Nov 9th) at Wildcat and a couple weeks later at Bretton Woods. Even with 2 days already ticked I was a bit envious of some Facebook friends Thanksgiving Day powder skiing shots but time spent down south with family was well worth it!

A different type of Thanksgiving carving

A different type of Thanksgiving carving

Today wraps up a trifecta of guide related workshops and round-tables and I wanted to share a quick recap of each.

On November 8th the 3rd Annual Eastern Snow Avalanche Workshop was held at the new venue in Bartlett, NH. Attendance was strong with over 100 snow-minded folks from recreational to professional listening in on a diverse amount of topics. If you are really bummed you missed it (and you should be if you like playing in snow), you can get quite a bit of info from the presentations thanks to a Tetons Gravity forum member taking (and sharing) extremely detailed notes of the proceedings. You can find them here.

ESAW Image

Yesterday the American Mountain Guide Association held a round table discussion at the Eastern Mountain Sports North Conway Climbing School location. You probably have heard of the AMGA at some point if you are reading this blog. Long story short, their mission is “To inspire and support a culture of American mountain craft.” It goes much deeper than that, but the gist of this gathering of 43 instructors, guides, aspiring guides, etc. was to solicit feedback on how the AMGA could better represent the Northeastern “guide” who is trying to balance the demands of seasonal work, the expense of certification, and the potential ROI “Return On Investment”. This is of particular interest to those who practice the art of guiding in a state with almost no regulation, “Live Free or Die” New Hampshire!

About to start

About to start

A significant portion of the evening was spent in 7 “break out” groups trying to answer 3 questions all related to how the AMGA can better help the Northeastern guide or guide business.

Break out focus groups presented their combined thoughts

Break out focus groups presented their combined thoughts 

Finally, today, EMS Schools had an internal guide meeting with 12 guides who operate out of Connecticut, New Paltz, NY, Lake Placid NY, and of course North Conway, NH. A new polished “Guides Manual” was distributed and covered operating protocols from accident response and AMGA endorsed terrain use guidelines to continued education and training based incentives. It provoked some positive discussion and was a solid primer for scheduled field training coming up over the next few weeks.

So all in all what does this mean? I can’t wait for the winter season to go full swing! Snow is in the forecast (1 to 3 inches this Friday, more in long range forecast), which is great, as our first avalanche course of the season is only 15 days away! Almost half of our scheduled courses for this season have already sold out! If you were thinking about taking an avalanche course this winter do not put signing up off any longer! You can see what dates are available and reserve your spot right here.

Here’s to a great Holiday Season and a rewarding winter season! See you on the mountain!

About David Lottmann

David grew up skiing in the Whites and started climbing at a summer camp just north of Mt. Washington when he was 16. Those first couple of years solidified climbing as a lifetime passion. From 1996-2000 he served in the USMC, and spent the better part of those years traveling the globe (18 countries). After returning to civilian life he moved to North Conway to focus on climbing and was hired in 2004 as a Rock and Ice Instructor. Since then Dave has taken numerous AMGA courses, most recently attaining a Single Pitch Instructor. He has completed a Level 3 AIARE avalanche course, is a Level 2 Course Leader, holds a valid Wilderness First Responder and is a member of Mountain Rescue Service. When David isn't out guiding he enjoys mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, backcountry skiing, trying to cook something new once a week and sampling new micro-brews. He lives in Conway, NH with his wife Michelle, son Alex, and daughter Madalena.
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