So you are already a pretty confident skier, but for your next winter getaway you want to try something new, like venturing off piste for the first time. You know you’re going to need someone to show you where to go, but should that be a guide or an instructor – and what exactly is the difference? |
In a resort like Morzine, which is famous for both its on piste skiing and its off piste adventures, you’ll discover that, when heading off piste, you have the choice whether to hire an instructor or a guide during your winter getaway. It is important to consider what exactly you want from your experience before you make your choice.
Hiring a Guide
As the name suggests, a guide is responsible only for ‘guiding’ you off piste, not teaching. They will be IFMGA qualified (an internationally recognised qualification for mountain guides) and are experts in safe exploration of mountain areas.
Your guide will be aware of snow conditions, weather, terrain and your level of skiing and confidence and put all this together to create a rewarding experience for you.
What a mountain guide will not do is teach you. For this reason, Guides are only really advised if you are at a high, confident level of skiing. If you have any concerns at all about your ability to ski off piste then you should consider hiring an instructor, as a guide will be unlikely to spend time perfecting your technique.
Hiring an Instructor
An instructor is qualified to teach and therefore is the perfect person to hire if you are looking to improve in any way. Bear in mind that instructors will also know the area very well – this means they will know where the best snow is to be found and which areas are safe to ski off piste on any given day.
While mountain guides will only take you off piste, an instructor will be happy to take you anywhere. If you are particularly keen to improve your powder skiing, then it is worth mentioning this at the time you book. Some instructors will specialise in off piste and powder skiing (although most instructors will be well up to the task if you’re not looking for anything too advanced).
If you decide that you would benefit from a bit of instruction then you’ll also need to decide whether you would prefer a private lesson or an instructor-led guide.
The difference here is really down to the intensity of the teaching. A private lesson will usually be around two hours in which your instructor will focus on your technique and how to improve it.
On an instructor-led guide, the main emphasis will be on taking you around the resort, with the occasional tip on improving your technique. Guide sessions usually run for a day or half a day. For a full day session your instructor will find you a good mountainside restaurant in which to eat lunch before setting off again.
How to Get to Morzine
Just 50 miles from Geneva airport, getting to Morzine for your winter getaway couldn’t be easier. There is a good range of flights to Geneva from all major UK airports and the flight time is less than two hours.
From Geneva, the quickest and most convenient way of getting to Morzine is by airport transfer with a company like Shuttle Direct. Book online and let us know what ski equipment you’ll be travelling with – we’ll take it to the resort with you at no extra cost at all. This means that you can start your winter getaway with the minimum of hassle.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. For those heading off on a winter getaway, wherever you choose to holiday, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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