You know your sport. You're absolutely competent in your sport. In your own "neck of the woods" you have no issue planning and going out on your own, or even with friends and family. But there are times when using a professional guide is incredibly valuable. So, when should you consider hiring a professional guide?
When You Value Your Time
My husband and I have developed a deep appreciation for the fact that we now have more money than time. As younger travelers, we had more time than money so we could head out for adventures and slowly sort out where we were going, where the best hikes were, or where the snow was best for some backcountry skiing. Trial and error were fine, because, hey - there's always tomorrow!
Things change. Now you have a week, maybe two weeks for that dream vacation and you want to spend your vacation enjoying your vacation, not taking a day or more to re-think and re-design the whole plan.
A professional guide saves you time because they know the area, they know the conditions, they know the routes. Your professional guide can quickly re-think a plan or adjust the itinerary based on conditions.
For example, you plan a ski tour to the Alps, but when you arrive the snow conditions on that route are not ideal, or worse, just not an option. Ta-da! Your guide will know where the conditions are favorable and can match the groups' interest with a new route and you will get on your way.
Or, imagine arriving at a new rock climbing area and even with a guide book you still have to spend time puttering around, identifying the routes, scoping them out, finding the right walk-off trail, etc. Now imagine you arrive at that new rock climbing area with a guide who leads you right to the perfect climb and you are on the rock shortly after arrival!
When You Are Adventuring With Kids
Your kids are old enough to adventure with you - awesome! And, you've got the know-how to show them the sport you love. But, here are the benefits of hiring a pro with your kids:
Kerry is a travel consultant who designs custom trips for adventurous travelers.
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Each Wednesday I post a picture of somewhere in the world, but I don't identify the location. Let's have fun with this! Do you know this place? Let us know! Have you been to this place? Let us know! Is this place on your bucket list? Let us know!
And the answer is...
Lake Prags, Italy
What a beautiful photo of Pragser Wildsee, or Lake Prags, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites. Hike around the lake or up to the high routes and gaze into the clear, turquoise waters. Or, hop in a boat and soak in the incredible mountain views while floating on the lake.
I had an opportunity to ski in the Lofoten Islands of Norway last month and what a treat! The islands are above the arctic circle on the northwest coast of Norway and with help from the temperate waters of the Gulf stream, Lofoten has a milder climate than other places at similar latitude, such as Alaska. The peaks just jump right out of the exquisitely clear, turquiose blue water!
Bonus: For skiers coming from sea level, such as San Francisco, your ski days in Lofoten all start from sea level so there's no worry about acclimatizing to mountains. And, you still climb amazing peaks with stunning views and incredible skiing!
We enjoyed six days of guided ski touring throughout the islands. Half the days we were able to click in to our skies from the car, other days we had to do some hiking to get to the snow in the couloirs before skinning up to the higher and more open plateaus above.
Did I mention the views?? The top of each peak afforded a National Geographic cover-like view: ocean, fjords, white beaches, farms, rocky islands, and what looked like endless white peaks. What a delight. And the only way to enjoy all those snow-covered mountains is by human-power. Recreational snowmobiling and heli-skiing are prohibited in Norway and there are no ski resorts on the Lofoten Islands.
Spring skiing in Lofoten was pretty similar to spring skiing in Tahoe - we experienced all types of snow conditions. First day held corn snow on the south-facing aspect and chalky, north-facing snow on the way back to the car. No spring skiing is complete without breakable crust, right? We had that, too.
The last day of the trip was the most special! We took the boat to Trollfjord. The weather forecast was for clear skies. However, the peaks were creating their own weather system and we were dropped off at the back of the fjord in a localized snowstorm. Up we went into the whiteness. As luck would have it, by the time we reached our col, the clouds opened a bit, visibility improved greatly and we were all smiles as we descended the 3000' full of Norwegian, blowy POWDER! Can't wait to go back!