and vice versa. Most helpful has been
understanding the needs of the struggling student.
Where did you start teaching
In my sophomore year at college, the
Dartmouth Outing Club hosted a
learn-to-cross-country ski day. I taught
seven seniors to ski by the end of the
morning. The next year I applied to
teach the physical education programs
for both cross-country and tele. The
program needed a supervisor so I took
the winter off and taught. I had the
best time teaching and applying my
technical knowledge to help peers learn
to ski. It became a career path.
III nordic in 1994, and applied for the
team again in 1996. I didn’t make the
team that year—but made it in 2000.
Courtesy of Scott McGee
In climbing, sometimes it’s where you
look for holds, but more importantly,
it’s how to read the rock and how to
use your body to move up. Every pitch
and every move is different. There are
no groomers. You can ski in front of,
beside, or watch your client from any
vantage point. In climbing, sometimes
you can’t even see your client. You coach
beforehand. Some guides will “chalk”
holds to mark the way. But you can’t be
right there with them when you’re up
above on the belay ledge. On the other
hand, you’re always connected to your
clients while climbing. Famous French
guide Gaston Rebuffat referred to this
as the “Brotherhood of the Rope.” And
in winter, what we’ve got is the brother-
(and sister-) hood of the slope.
How do you keep your sports
enthusiasm alive year-round?
You’re always turning someone on to
something new. I relish the challenge
of helping people get up (or down)
something they think they can’t. They
overcome perceived impossibility.
How'd you get into guiding?
I began guiding as a canoe expedition
instructor for Outward Bound (OB)
in the Boundary Waters of northern
Minnesota—my first job out of college.
I worked with OB in seven western
states, and worked in wilderness areas
each summer for 15 years. Eventually, I
looked to settle down for the summers. I
applied to Exum Mountain Guides, right
in my home range. Now I work four to
five days a week teaching beginning
or intermediate climbing, and leading
climbers up classic routes on the Grand
Tetons and the Wind River Range.
Is it true you ride a unicycle on
I picked up the uni in college and it’s
not that hard to learn, especially if you
have parallel bars. Inspired by Canadian
Kris Holm, I got a ‘muni’ (mountain +
uni) about 10 years ago, and love riding
trails. It’s safer than a mountain bike,
because you’re always going at running
speed or less.
What was your route to PSIA and
the PSIA Nordic Team?
After moving to Wyoming and
teaching at Grand Targhee Resort,
my mentor, Chi Melville, encouraged
me to get certified. I joined, took a
clinic—and failed my first exam. I
passed my Level III telemark in 1992,
and naively submitted an application
for the nordic team. I earned my Level
Are there similarities between
guiding and teaching?
There are so many! I use my teaching
foundation daily, and instructing skiing
has definitely helped me teach climbing
What’s this rumor about you ski-skating across the Tetons?
Once or twice a year the conditions
align to allow skate skiing at high
elevations, and I can cross the range in
a day. I call it skate-ski mountaineering
because it does call on ski mountaineering skills, even on the light
gear. These days are glorious, and
etched in my memory as some of my
sweetest, and most challenging skiing