Rock Climbing/Ziplining GuideAlaska Mountain Guides & Chilkat Guides
Alaska Mountain Guides & Chilkat Guides
Enjoy an incredible summer in SE Alaska! — The tourists are coming – and they have tips!
Skagway 2023 Zipline Guide
Training starts April 2023
The Skagway Guide’s main responsibility is to carry out the company’s mission of providing clients with a safe, enjoyable, and educational wilderness experience. The Skagway Guide will lead clients on the zip line site safely and enthusiastically with the ultimate goal of satisfied passengers at the end of each trip.
For over 30 years, Alaska Mountain Guides and our affiliates have been a premier guiding service in Southeast Alaska and around the world! Our Skagway-based programming offers a variety of outdoor adventures geared primarily towards guests visiting via cruise ships.
The Rock Climbing and Zipline Guide Position Leads the Following Tours:
- Rock Climbing and rappelling
- Zipline and Adventure Park
- Skagway Adventure Hike
General Overview of Tours:
Most climbing & zipline tours are 3.25 hours in duration, while our adventure hike is approximately 2.75 hours in length. Guides may help facilitate pick-ups and drop-offs from town or stage at the site awaiting guest drop-offs by our drivers. Climbing, zipline, and hiking programs take place at our exclusive site located just a few miles outside downtown Skagway.
In general, guests participating in one of our tours are greeted by their guides at one of the three cruise ship docks in Skagway and transported to the site in 15-passenger vans or 24-passenger buses. During transit, the driver and guide(s) provide a variety of historical information about Skagway and the surrounding area in addition to information on the mountains, geology, and natural environment of the region. The driver and guide(s) will also introduce AMG, the company background, and the variety of trips and programs that are offered.
Once guests reach the site, they will unload in a private parking area along the Klondike Highway and take a short 5-minute uphill hike to our kiosk where they are issued helmets. After putting on helmets and listening to a brief safety announcement from the guides, the group will continue to a staging area where they will receive the rest of the necessary equipment for their respective tour. Refreshments and a snack are also included with these tours and consist of hot chocolate and trail mix. On any given day we may run up to 4 overlapping trips for each guide team – this typically results in a driver facilitating pick up and drop-offs for the guests while guides remain at the site throughout the day receiving new groups as they conclude the previous tour. In addition to working trips, guides may be scheduled to set up & break down shifts that occur before the first trip of the day and following the last trip of the day (respectively). Guides may also help with periodic site/gear maintenance tasks which occur throughout the season.
Skagway-Specific Employee Information:
Essential Job Functions
- Responsible for the safety and satisfaction of each of his/her passengers throughout the entire duration of the tour.
- Responsible for following a strict daily schedule.
- Responsible for cleanliness and excellent maintenance of gear, trail and staging areas/kiosk.
- Responsible for communicating all incidents to Skagway manager as soon as possible.
- Responsible for communicating all gear and vehicle issues to manager.
- Must be a good communicator with the willingness to teach and entertain his/her guests.
- Must possess the desire to continually improve his/her knowledge and skills.
- Must at all times be clean, well-groomed, courteous, honest, and reliable.
- Must possess a positive attitude that is friendly, considerate, strong, and energetic.
- Must be willing to work as a strong team member, assisting in the maintenance of group morale.
- Responsible for entering hours daily in our online timesheet system.
- Guides report to the Skagway Site Manager, Operations Manager and Program Manager.
Experience Required to Perform Job Requirements
- Prior guiding, leadership, and tourism experience helpful.
- Must be able to lift up to 60 pounds repeatedly throughout each day.
- Must be able to carry loads over uneven ground.
- Must possess strong work ethic.
- Must be punctual.
- Must be organized.
- Must have great, positive attitude.
- Must be comfortable speaking to large groups of people.
- Must be able to handle multiple, simultaneous groups of guests.
- Must be currently certified in 1st Aid and CPR at minimum (WFR or WEMT preferred).
This summary guide you through what are likely some initial questions you might have regarding the following: Employee Training, Professionalism, Training Courses, Mid-Season Operations, Living Space and Rent Structure, Program Equipment, Standard Dress Requirements, Pro-Deals, Pets, Travel and Logistics. These items are all outlined in detail in the Employee Manual. Please feel free to direct any questions to the AMG office by email or phone.
Staff training will provide a foundation for you to build & enhance your skills. It also serves to put in place a set of standards we expect all our staff to maintain. Prior to your arrival you will receive your Employee Manual and complete all AMG-specific employment paperwork. Upon your arrival to Skagway you will complete all remaining U.S. employment paperwork.
The Skagway training is structured with the expectation that guides complete the preseason reading and familiarize themselves with the other applicable material before they arrive in Skagway. There is a wealth of information in the required readings that provide the platform for the training and allows the training to be efficiently covered over the course of 14-16 days.
All new employees must participate in Guides School Courses provided through the International Wilderness Leadership School (IWLS) for your chosen discipline (rock, rafting, etc.). As previously mentioned, IWLS is an accredited, recognized leader in experiential education. These courses will develop your technical, decision-making, and leadership skills. Successful completion of these courses will grant you IWLS certifications. These skills are transferrable and can be used with any similar employer or even for recreation purposes. For over 30 years, our clients have been participating in the same courses — often gaining college credit. You are not being charged for these courses.
After these courses, the training will focus on company-specific policies and procedures. This segment will take the skills taught in the IWLS portion and teach you how to utilize them successfully as an employee of AMG/CG. Training length may vary depending on class size and how quickly you demonstrate leadership and technical proficiency. Employment is subject to your successfully completing the IWLS courses.
IWLS courses for Alaska Mountain Guides Zip and Hike Guides:
- IWLS Ziplining Guide School, 7-8 days
- IWLS Alaska Guide School, 2-3 days
- IWLS Hiking Guide School, 1-2 day
- Proficiency and knowledge in climbing. If you have no experience, go to a climbing gym and get familiar with techniques and vocabulary
- How to apply IWLS skills in our system, including setup, SOPs, etc.
- Our rescue procedures
- Checkoffs on all programs
- Shadow a trip on both programs
- Get shadowed on a trip by a manager or senior guide
- Start working!
Paid Training for all guides, 1-2 days (Emergency Response, Dock Rep training, etc). You may be required to cross train and take additional training to expand your opportunities and provide greater flexibility.
AMG employees represent the company whether they are working with clients or sitting at a restaurant in Skagway. AMG expects employees to hold themselves to the highest character at all times and provide a leading example in the community for the type of behavior associated with the quality guide service that employs them.
Leadership and Guide Training Courses (IWLS)
These multi-day expeditions offer a great first look into the world of professional guiding. The courses also provide a great foundation for building skills to participate in other trips and programs besides the Skagway Climbing/Zip Line Program and are a requirement for paid internships.
Employees participating in other IWLS Leadership and Guide Training Programs will also be required to complete the Skagway specific guide training.
AMG frequently selects candidates who complete guide training courses to continue in other employment opportunities with the AMG companies. However, completion of a course does not guarantee the opportunity for future participation. AMG evaluates employees through all aspects of their employment and selects the best candidates for opportunities in other programs.
Early to mid-June through late August is the height of the cruise line season. In this period staff may be required to work 40+ hours a week.
During the height of the season-long periods of time off will likely not be able to be provided. This is the heart of the season and flexibility, and dedication are required from the staff to meet the demand of our cruise line clients and our other long-trip programs.
Living Space and Rent Structure
Employee housing is located in downtown Skagway, the grocery store and other local attractions are within walking distance from housing. Accommodations consist of shared rooms typically 2-4 beds to a room, although the largest room is a 6-occupant bunkroom. Each house features shared bathrooms, a kitchen area, and a living room. Employees residing in housing are expected to respect others and maintain a clean and respectable living area. Rent procedures are clearly outlined in the Employee Manual. The two downtown houses share a large yard and mountain views, providing a fantastic base for our team. Our mid-town house is the senior-staff housing option and affords a quieter space and more privacy than the downtown housing. Space in the mid-town house is typically reserved for employees who have been with the company for multiple seasons.
Each house has a specific house manager who will be responsible for the weekly chore schedule and chore completion check-offs. House managers will call attention to any issues within the housing unit and employees are encouraged to let their house manager know if they experience any issues.
- Bedding and personal items are not included
- Rent deductions are made twice a month with 50% of the month’s rent deducted from the 1stand 2ndpaycheck.
- Rent is prorated for the first month, rent for the last pay period will be deducted in full even if you vacate housing early.
- Employees must vacate housing within 72 hours of their final shift unless other arrangements have been approved by management.
- Pets – No pets are allowed in the AMG housing or on the AMG property unless otherwise approved by management.
- Failure to abide by rules outlined in the employee manual and housing agreement may result in immediate expulsion from employee housing.
Additional Job Responsibilities
Employees will be called on to participate in a variety of activities associated with the climbing and adventure park sites and operation, as well as residential upkeep. Routine maintenance at the climbing and zip sites includes course and route inspections, maintenance and route cleaning, documentation of inspections, trail work, and area development. Daily operations also include vehicle cleaning and washing as well as other maintenance.
Employees may be called on to share driving responsibilities and potentially other part-time office duties. Driving is an important part of the program and guides will be expected to not only be safe and abide by all local and state driving regulations but also to be entertaining for our guests. The drive to and from the climbing/zip site is an opportunity to enhance the guest’s experience by providing historical and interesting information about the city, its history, the beautiful outdoors surrounding us, and other types of trips and programs that the guests can participate in the future with AMG. Please see the requirements for CDL driving in the above CDL description.
Employees may also be called on to participate in Haines-based long-trip programs at any time. The opportunity to gather additional experience in any of these programs is a privilege. One of the key elements of the AMG and IWLS structure is the use of staff from Skagway for programs generally originating in Haines. The ability to be flexible with schedules and adapt to changes, sometimes with short notice, is a requirement and expectation of your employment.
Standard Dress and Professional Appearance
Alaska Mountain Guides requires guides to maintain a professional image at all times. As outlined in the Guide Manual, you will be issued guiding equipment and clothing that will be required to be worn at all times while working. Personal pants will be neat and clean without stains, holes or other frayed areas.
The standard Skagway uniform is your name tag, tucked in an AMG uniform shirt and/or guide jacket with guide or Carhartt style pants and closed-toed outdoor shoes/boots.
AMG requires staff to be clean with appropriate hygiene and appear professional while working. There are showers available in both of the guide houses and there are no excuses for not meeting these standards.
AMG provides the opportunity for employees to have access to top-end outdoor merchandise and equipment at discounted rates. AMG is pleased to work with Black Diamond, Mountain Hardwear and Sierra Designs to meet many of our program needs. These programs are a privilege and are considered a perk of the job. Abuse of these opportunities is taken very seriously and will result in loss of privileges and disciplinary action. Specific details will be outlined upon arrival in Skagway.
Travel and Logistics
Employees are responsible for their own travel arrangements to and from Skagway, AMG will assist wherever possible in helping outline necessary steps in travel plans. Please make arrangements with a few days on either end of the season for mishaps. Alaska weather can delay planes/ferries bound from Juneau or make driving conditions difficult or impassable.
Please plan to arrive in Skagway at least the day prior to your first day to training (unless directed to head to Haines for orientation); this will give us all time to prepare for the upcoming events.
In order to prepare better for your guide training and work this summer we STRONGLY suggest familiarizing yourself with some of the following books:
- Guide to the Birds of Alaska by Robert H. Armstrong
- The Nature of Southeast Alaska by Carstensen, Armstrong & O’Clair
- Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska by Pojar
- The Alaska Almanac published by Alaska Northwest Books
- Chilkoot Pass by Archie Satterfield
- Chilkoot Trail: Heritage Route to the Klondike by Neufeld & Norris
- The Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush by Pierre Berton
- The Skagway Story by Howard Clifford
- Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills by The Mountaineers
We encourage staff to learn as much about our area before arrival and will continue to encourage guides to improve their naturalist abilities to better themselves and the experience we offer our guests.
We hope this overview has helped to provide an initial understanding of the responsibilities and company overview. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office for additional information and assistance with any questions!