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Sunrise over Thompson Pass

Outdoor Education

North America Outdoor Institute

The North America Outdoor Institute (NAOI), a non-profit organization founded in June 2004 by a group of concerned outdoor enthusiasts and H2O Guides’ professional outdoor safety educators, developed ‘Be Snow Smart’ a free avalanche awareness program for teenagers to help reduce the rising avalanche accident rates in Alaska.

We have since expanded our outdoor education scope providing American Avalanche Association Level I and Level II courses, Wilderness First Responder Courses, American Red Cross First Aid, CPR and AED training, and crevasses and high angle courses. Our instructors can provide a variety of other outdoor training for seasoned outdoor veterans to first timers. Please check out the NAOI website to see what training we can provide for you and your organization.

American Mechanized Ski Guide I

In conjunction with the US Heli Ski Association and NAOI, this one-of-a-kind course focuses on the skills and challenges involved with mechanized access to glaciated big mountain ski environments. The course is designed to provide training for potential heli ski guides and search and rescue personnel as well as serious backcountry skiers who want to push their big mountain skiing skills to the next level.

This 80 hour week course includes an American Avalanche Association Level II and focuses on the skills that apply to guiding protocols from the top down: remote mountain helicopter operations, snow stability evaluation, technical descent techniques, route selection, glacier travel, crevasse and high angle rescue, radio communication, professional documentation, guide physical conditioning, and backcountry ethics.

The course will provide you hands on experience working with helicopters, and learning the challenges and safety concerns that arise from helicopter ski access in big mountains. You will learn while working alongside the H2O Guides Team, by experiencing the everyday routine and logistics that a guide faces on a daily basis.

Prerequisites for Heli Ski Guide Training:

  • Expert ski or snowboard skills
  • Backcountry ski touring experience
  • Excellent physical condition
  • Level I avalanche certification or Canadian/European equivalent
  • Backcountry and/or related industry experience

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will receive:

  • Mechanized Ski Guide I certificate
  • American Avalanche Association Level II
  • Crevasse Rescue certificate.

Course Cost: $3,954 includes all course materials/field notebooks, heli skiing, field activities, lodging, ground transportation, breakfast and lunch, use of Fat Skis, and any necessary safety equipment including BCA avalanche rescue equipment.

To sign up for the course, click here or call 1-800-578-HELI!

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               Dean Cummings and the H2O Guide Team!

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