It's that time of year again, the forest has grown quieter, the pulleys have been maintenanced and the orange helmets are lined up awaiting our fresh faced recruits. The future Ziptrek guides are arriving from all over the world, coming here to dedicate their summer to making sure you have the best time of your life ziplining.
So what does it take to become a Ziptrek guide? Naturally, a love for the outdoors, respect for the environment, commitment to fun and above all - the ability to put guest experience and safety first.
The rest, we can teach. The guides go through weeks of training, hiking and ziplining all over the course day in and day out until they have learned all about the flora and fauna and can explain the Natural Step in their sleep. Our Lead and Senior Guides are responsible for the training, passing on years worth of knowledge from observing and learning about the local ecosystem. The trainees get to know and grow to love our famed trees- Big and Little Doug and learn everything from how to tell a western hemlock tree by bark pattern to how Marbled Murrelets raise their young. It's a lot of study and the learning doesn't end when the day is done. Our trainees put in time with their manuals learning the intricacies of the coastal temperate rainforest to ensure they are a source of knowledge for our guests. Not only do they become experts on the environment but also on Whistler itself- learning the peaks, the history of the town and the way the valley itself was shaped during the last ice age. Not all work and no play, they can also tell you the best places to après!
Alongside the eco training, guides learn how the course was built to have the smallest impact on the forest possible and the mechanics and operation of the ziplines and braking system. This is no small feat, a smooth braking technique takes weeks of practice - often become a point of pride. They learn how to tandem zipline a guest (for kids who don't meet the weight requirement) by practicing on their full grown peers, always the most entertaining part of training. Next, the guides are challenged with reversing the fifth zipline on the Bear Tour. That's 425 ft of pulling their entire body weight from the bottom of the zipline to the top using a hand over hand or side to side technique. This not only builds strength but is helpful in telling if someone is ready to meet the physical demands of the job.
Lastly, they participate in shadow tours. Before we release our guides into the wild they must be signed off by a Senior or Lead Guide on a tour with real guests. If a trainee isn't ready the senior team can then support them in the areas they need to develop in. We put a lot into our training because we want every guest to walk away from a tour having had fun, learned something interesting and pushed their boundaries without ever having to think about their safety. It's also important to us that we develop our guides skill set ensuring no matter what they do in the future they've learned fundamental skills such as critical thinking, teamwork and public speaking.
Now you know next time you're on a Ziptrek tour that your guides have gone through one of the best training programs in the industry and committed endless hours to making sure you have the best zipline experience possible!
If this sounds like a job for you, we're still hiring for summer! Apply for positions here.