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Dynamic. That’s the word I would use to describe my job backcountry ski guiding. No two days are exactly the same. Everything from the snow conditions, routes, weather, and client goals change from day to day. The only constant in the whole thing is that everyone there, including myself, is there for one reason; we’re there to have fun sliding on snow.
On some days this means that we go looking for the deepest snow we can find, other days that means skiing the steeps off a major Teton summit. Either way, guiding is as rewarding a job as I could have ever hoped to find.
As varied as the day’s touring may be, the mornings usually start in a familiar way: coffee, followed by a weather check, the forecast, and a review of my client’s info. Once the coffee is finished I pack my bag, meet my clients, and go skiing. As the skintrack winds its way upward the group begins to chat, banter and tell jokes. (Do you know the difference between tele skis and a vacuum?) I probably learn more from my clients about subjects such as economics, medicine or law, than I teach them about ski touring and climbing.
The excitement builds as we reach the top and transition for the down. For most, this is why they came out. 3000ft of snow lies between the parking lot and us. It’s soft and untracked. We all hoot and holler as we ski pitch after pitch to the valley bottom. High fives are exchanged, smiles are plentiful, and the reward for the uphill effort is obvious. Skins on, we head up another peak for more fun. This one takes us down a north facing couloir into Avalanche Canyon. The snow sluffs off as we ski the steeps one at a time. Once again, we’ve run out of mountain. Time we find ourselves sliding out the luge track towards our cars and an après beer. We say goodbye at the car, and just like all good things in life it’s over all too soon.
Except for me… I’m fortunate, because I get to do it again tomorrow.
About the Author
Location: Jackson, WY
Aaron Diamond is an AMGA Certified Splitboard Guide and avalanche educator based in Jackson, Wyoming. He guides year round for Exum Mountain Guides and has guided technical ski and snowboard descents on various Teton summits including the Grand Teton, Middle, Teton, Nez Perce, and Mt Moran. In the summer months Aaron works as an alpine climbing guide on Denali and throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. He is alway psyched to share his backyard with experienced and new backcountry travelers
In his free time Aaron enjoys spending time in the splitboarding in the Tetons, or exploring the lesser known areas of the Alaska Range with his friends. He has first descents in the Tetons, Andes, and Alaska Range, including unrepeated splitboard descents of the Ramen Route on Mt Hunter (14,573ft), Mt Foraker’s Sultana Ridge (17,400ft), The Fat Calf Couloir on Pico Polaco (5995m) and the SE Face of the Gilkey Tower (12,320ft).
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