Item: Decision making in the mountain environment
Title: Decision making in the mountain environment
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2004 International Snow Science Workshop, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Authors: Iain Stewart-Patterson, University College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, British Columbia
Abstract: Mountain guides are making decisions on a continual basis. Some of them are as seemingly simple as “Which boots should I wear today”? Some are as complex as “Will this slope avalanche and kill people, if I take my group down, across, or up it”? Statistics from the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA) Spring 2002 Meeting indicated that it may be more dangerous to ski with a mountain guide than without one. More people died while travelling in the care of a guide than did while travelling unaccompanied. Needless to say this was cause for some concern. The goal of this study was to identify the best practices that are currently being used in the development of quality decision-making processes in trainee guides. This research paper is significant in that mountain guiding activities, and specifically the training of the decision making process, have not been studied before in a formalized manner. There have been many instructor exchanges between IFMGA countries and the IFMGA Technical Directors meet on an annual basis, but there has not been a study, which highlights the various best practices. Training and assessing leaders in decision-making in mountain terrain is a complex task. There is a wealth of experience within the guiding associations of the member countries of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA). It was my intent to observe the training and assessment process and to exchange information with the instructor/examiner teams and the candidates.
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Keywords: decision making, training, coaching, assessment
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