S2.E02: Recognizing the value of a guide with Ken Bélanger

Recognizing the Value of a Guide with Ken Bélanger

Why should anyone hire a guide? If you are in the role of being a guide, do you know why people would want your help? These are two of the topics that we explore with Ken Belanger. Ken is the owner of Elevation Guides, and works around the world as a ski, hiking and cycling guide. Using his unique perspective as someone who has had a lot of guides and who has guided a lot of people, Ken shares with us why people hire guides and why having a guide is valuable.

Key Takeaways

Reasons why People Hire a Guide: They want to go somewhere they either can’t or don’t think they can access on their own. They want to improve their skills or learn something so they can be better at what they are doing. They want to get more out of the experience by having someone else there with them, who can help to structure the experience in a positive way.

Guides help us with all the little details: These are things we might not have thought of or known about.

Guides help us to fast-track improvement:  They do this by showing us the short cuts, the better way to do things, they can help us to become better technically and show us how to be more efficient.

Guides can maximize the experience: By making the most of the time we have and helping us to manage the risks more effectively.

Help to build connections: They can connect us to the place and the activity by increasing understanding of where we are and what we are doing. This boosts our sense of place and purpose.

Guides and instructors help us to go farther: than they otherwise could or believed they could on their own thanks to coaching, support, knowing where to go and how to do it.

Guest Links

Elevation Guides: www.elevationguides.ca

Ken Bélanger on Instagram: @elevationguides

Guest Bio

Ken Bélanger is an ACMG Ski, Hiking, and Via Ferrata Guide, CAA Professional Member, CANSI Level 1 Nordic Ski & Telemark instructor, CSIA level 1, and Advanced Wilderness Adventure Medic.

Although Ken grew up in Calgary not far from the mountains with his single father and two brothers, they didn’t have the financial means to explore them. It wasn’t until his late teens when he could self-fund trips that he finally discovered skiing and hiking.

He was immediately hooked. It was a steep learning curve to overcome his fear of heights and water, but within a few years he was instructing and guiding watersports, climbing, cycling, and nordic and telemark skiing.

Ken considers himself extremely fortunate to have learned under some fantastic guides and instructors along the way.

Now operating Elevation Guides with nearly 30 years of guiding experience in 23 countries, he couldn’t imagine a better career. Ken resides in Canmore, Alberta at the doorstep of beautiful Banff National.

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