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What is a mountain leader?
         A mountain leader (or mid-mountain guide) is a walking guide qualified specifically for the mountain environment. He is a professional with a State Diploma which allows him to guide you in the mid-mountains and be paid for it. His diploma attests a solid knowledge of the region (fauna, geology, flora, history and traditions) as well as his capacity to guide groups and assure their security. In addition, he must perform scheduled recycles.
         Many mid-mountain guides are passionate about their job and have gone way beyond the knowledge imposed upon them by the exams. Each one has his personal specialities which distinguish his walks from others.

        In the winter as in the summer, the mountains are a huge discovery area. The guides want you to like their region and thus show you the most beautiful itineraries. Whose tracks can we see in the snow, why is this chapel here, where can we spot chamois, is this village still inhabited, what is this tree ? The guides will help you see better, understand and get to know the mountains which will also help you to enjoy them.

A job, a passion ... long time.
         Walking specialists, the mid-mountain guides have, quite naturally, organised snowshoe outings for a long time. This activity didn’t have a legal status until 1994 when, to ensure the safety of the participants, the Youth and Sports Minister created laws governing the guiding of winter walking groups and obliging the mid-mountain guides to pass an extra winter qualification (altitude measuring, risk prevention, searching for victims in avalanches, accidents due to cold, nights camping in the snow etc…) This qualification is now an integral part of the diploma.

The problem is that at the same time the Minister gave the same prerogatives to ski instructors (arguing that they know the winter environment well) but without obliging them to pass a nature or walking qualification. The majority of ski schools thus now offer snowshoe outings.

         Ski instructors are very competent … to teach skiing. Some also have the mountain leader diploma or are high mountain guides. But a lot of them are not interested in nature. For them, as for most skiers and snowboarders, the mountain is primarily a playground. You may therefore be disappointed by the lack of interest of the guided tour. To help you in your choice, ask the tourist office of your place of accommodation for a list of mountain leaders who organize snowshoeing. Only this degree is a guarantee of experience in hiking in the mountains.

         You can also find your mountain leader on the websites below :

         Syndicat national des accompagnateurs en montagne
         Union nationale des accompagnateurs en montagne
         Compagnie des guides et accompagnateurs de la Vanoise
retour / back
Brigitte Ruff
Delphine Longo
Gilles Roux-Mollard
Olivier Mainaz

accompagnateurs en montagne
diplômés d'état
    contact :
06 09 56 75 00
Le Gébroulaz n°37  73440  VAL THORENS
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