A Guide's Life for Me
William Chitty | On 29, Mar 2016
A Guide’s Life for Me
My mountain sledding addiction all started innocently enough 6 months after my arrival at Jasper, AB in 2003. A good friend (Slater) and I sat enjoying a cold beer after a long work week when conversation turned to plans for the weekend. Slater invited me along on what he referred to as a quick rip up on Bell Mountain in McBride, BC. Being an avid snowmobiler (flatland) I jumped at the chance to prove myself to the mountain riders and experience the backcountry for the first time. One ride is all it took and I was hooked, I spent every spare cent I had on rentals that season learning just how different mountain snowmobiling was from the trail riding I had done in Ontario.
Sledding evolved quickly for me from weekend warrior to daily rider, and when I was given the opportunity to tail guide for Jasper Snowmobile Tours I didn’t hesitate. Owner Lauren Currie brought me under his wing and showed me that with some dedication and hard work my passion for sledding could become a career. That year I learned a ton, and we spent many long days on the mountain followed by late nights in the shop fixing sleds so that we could do it all again the next day.
Knowing this was the career path I wanted to be on I continued to guide and teach new riders until 2007 when I started riding with longtime friend Curtis Pawliuk. It was with his help and mentorship that my focus changed from guiding to avalanche education. For three years we worked together as Snow Hosts in the Valemount, BC area traveling through our maintained areas, educating riders on Avalanche conditions as well as area boundaries. It was through these years with Curtis that I learned the art of digging a snow pit, and was encouraged to pursue my Level One Operations—the first step in my professional avalanche education. Fast forward almost a decade later and that dream is still my reality. I am an active member with Avalanche Canada and a full-time member of the team at Frozen Pirate Snow Services, where we spend our entire winter season teaching AST courses, guiding and riding.
The moral of my story is to never give up. There were several years when it cost more than I earned to do this job but I never lost sight of the dream. If you want something bad enough anything is possible. A huge thanks is in order for all the sponsors Polaris, Spectra Power Sports, ArcticFx, MBRP Powersports and the folks at Highmark by Snowpulse, for giving a small town guy a chance to prove himself. Also Ineed to thank all the family, friends and my wife who who never once let me think about giving up and going back to the normal 9-5.