Adventure Guide Studies

Thompson Rivers University in Canada offers - in cooperation with Keilir Health Academy in Iceland - offers an eight-month unviversity program for adventure guides. The program is an introduction to adventure sports and the adventure industry with extensive time on field activity courses and compressed and modularized classroom course instruction. This is the ideal program for entry-level adventure students and students wishing to explore their career interest in adventure-related fields.

The program is a 60 credit intensive education building on local and international expertise within the field and using the unique and accessible natural environment in Iceland as a practical class room.

We are currently accepting applications with study start in August 2018

  • Why should you consider the Adventure Sport Certificate?

    The program is a solid foundation for all major parts of adventure tourism and benefits especially those that are interested in:

    • an introduction to adventure sports
    • improving current adventure sport skills
    • exploring the adventure industry as a career
    • a relatively short course of study
    • transfering credit earned into further studies
  • Course Description

    Information about individual courses, both theoretical and on-site training courses.

    • Rafting 1

      The general objectives of this course are to enable the participants to safely guide and operate, paddle powered commercial river rafts in Class 2+ rapids. Course topics include rafting equipment, maintenance, paddle rafts, case studies, raft management, and guest management. Upon completion of the course, students will be awarded the “Trainee” status through the International Rafting Federation.

    • Whitewater Kayak 2

      This course is structured for students who have prior whitewater kayaking experience and are comfortable manoeuvring in class 2+ whitewater (novice/intermediate level). Emphasis will be placed upon intermediate skills development including: group and self-rescue, eddy turns & ferrying, surfing, group management and leadership. This course will prepare students to safely paddle up to class 3 waters independently and safely lead small groups on class 2 whitewater river sections. It is a prerequisite for all students wishing to progress on to ADVG 2530 and the Level 1 Kayak Instructor through Canoe Kayak B.C.

    • Rock Climbing 1

      This is a rock climbing personal skill development course designed to build a foundation in industry standard systems. Areas that are emphasized include hazard management, related communication and movement skills, rope & equipment handling, knots and systems, traditional and fixed protection use, belay systems and anchors, and leading strategies. Students will have the opportunity to lead climb on both bolted and gear routes by the end of the course. Upon completion of the course the student may be recommended for the Canadian Mountain and Ski Guide - Climbing Gym Instructor Level 1 and Tope Rope Climbing Instructor certifications.

    • Sea Kayak 1

      A 10-day introduction course (2 days in the classroom and 8 days in the field) designed to expose students to the fundamentals of sea kayak guiding. Emphasis is placed on: navigation, rescue techniques, surf zone skills, open coast skills, weather, leadership and natural history. Upon completion of the course, students have the opportunity to be awarded the ISKGA Fundamentals Level 3 certification, obtaining a number of modules necessary to become and ISKGA Coastal Guide. 

    • Mountaineering 1

      This is an 8-day mountaineering skills development course, covering mountaineering equipment, glacier travel, mountain safety, snow anchors, mountaineering techniques and peak ascents. On the last day, students will have the possibility of being examined and obtaining their Hard Ice 1 certification through the Association of Icelandic Mountain Guides (AIMG).

    • Ski Tour 1

      A 6-day ski touring skills development course.  This is a preparation course for the ACMG training scheme.  Areas that will be stressed include:  navigation, tracksetting, emergency winter camping, downhill skiing, basic avalanche terrain assessment and avalanche rescue skills.  It is mandatory that students have prior downhill skiing experience.

    • Avalanche Skills Training Level 1

      In this course students will learn how to recognize avalanche terrain and how to self-rescue. An AST 1 is 2 days in the classroom and 1 day in the field. Students will learn about avalanche formation and release, identify avalanche terrain, the basics of trip planning, optimal use of tools and resources like the avalanche forecast to mitigate the avalanche risk, use appropriate travel techniques in avalanche terrain, and introduction to companion rescue.

    • The Wilderness Environment

      The content of this 3-week classroom course is designed to give the students an overview of the elements that form our wilderness environment, as well as explore their relationships with adventure guiding. Geographic features, differing wilderness environments, mountain geomorphology, weather, climate, glaciology, current environmental concerns, etc., are subjects that will be studied. A portion of this course will also be devoted to current and future issues affecting the wilderness environment and their impacts on adventure guiding. As adventure guides, in depth knowledge of the wilderness environment is necessary from both a value added and a safety perspective.

    • Winter Camping

      The 3-day winter module builds on the concepts that were delivered and practiced in the Fall during Wilderness Travel. This module will focus on the skills unique to a winter environment, helping students to develop a foundation towards effective wilderness living skills in a winter environment. Personal preparedness, personal care and trip planning are the foundations of individual and group travel in the wilderness environment. This course will cover the theoretical and philosophical components of fundamental winter wilderness living skills and knowledge.  

    • The Adventure Tourism Industry

      This 3-week classroom course will explore the origins of the tourism industry and the adventure tourism sectors, explore their differences, their philosophical foundations and historical roots, past and future trends, as well as current issues. Students will also be exposed to key organizations, government agencies as well as explore career possibilities in the tourism industry and the adventure tourism sector.

    • Wilderness First Responder

      The Wilderness First Responder 8-day (80 hour) course is designed to provide participants with the tools to make critical medical and evacuation decisions in remote locations. Classroom lectures and demonstrations are combined with realistic scenarios where mock patients will challenge you to integrate your learning. Learning takes place both in the classroom and in outdoor settings regardless of weather conditions. Upon successful completion of the course, students will obtain Wilderness First Responder and CPR-C certification through Wilderness Medical Associates International. 

    • Expediction Planning

      This 3-week classroom course is concerned with the planning and leadership of local and international adventure expeditions. Aspects of expedition planning include research and analysis of local and international expeditions, finding inspiration and resources, goals and mission statements, risk management, equipment and communication, planning timelines and implementing schedules, creating and using a budget, sponsorship, food planning, physical and mental training, and permit acquisition. Aspects of expedition leadership include participant selection, expedition dynamics, leadership styles and group decision-making, expedition behaviour, commercial expeditions and client expectations, cultural considerations in an international setting, dealing with adversary and uncertainty, and recording and reflecting.

    • Guiding Leadership

      This 3-week classroom course explores the role of leadership as it applies to guiding in a wilderness adventure environment. Topics include philosophical origins of leadership, individual behaviour and motivation, emotional intelligence, effective communication, self-disclosure, leadership theories, group development and dynamics, problem solving and conflict resolution, teaching and instructing, facilitation, and decision-making.

    • Glacier Skills

      Glacier Skills is a 6-day training course for guiding on outlet glaciers in the summer under supervision by standards set by the Association of Icelandic Mountain Guides (AIMG). Students will show adequate performance in the glacier environment to guide under supervision on outlet glaciers with no snow cover in Iceland. This will involve equipment, route selection, client care, logbooks, rescue, and hazard management.

    • Whitewater Kayak 1

      This 5-day course is designed to introduce students to the foundational techniques and concepts of whitewater kayaking. Students will develop the skills and knowledge necessary to identify and manage river hazards and successfully navigate whitewater rapids up to class 3. Skill development in this course lays a foundation for future whitewater kayaking, rafting, and sea kayaking.

    • Swift Water Rescue Technician

      Swift Water Rescue Technician is a 5-day course designed to teach basic safety and rescue skills in a class 2/3 swift water environment. Students will train with shore and water-based rescue techniques, perform rescues in moving water, create improvised rescue systems, and utilize simple mechanical advantage rope systems. The course is taught through a combination of dry land classroom sessions, on-water skill development sessions, and practical rescue simulations. Successful completion of the course will result in an IRIA Swift Water Rescue Technician certification.

    • Wilderness Travel

      This course reviews the theoretical and practical aspects of wilderness travel and is an introduction to the organization of wilderness trips. It consists of a 5-day classroom theory component and a 5-day backpacking module. This course is the foundation of the program and a prerequisite for all other courses. Classroom topics include: theory related to clothing, equipment, navigation, environmental concerns, travel techniques, and trip planning. Field topics include: navigation, route selection, group management, pacing, minimum impact camping, and hazard awareness.

  • Program Structure

    The program is delivered with extensive time engaged in field activity courses and compressed and modularized classroom course instruction. Approximately twelve weeks of classroom instruction and twelve weeks of field activity courses make up the program. All course credit completed in the Adventure Sport Certificate is transferable to other Adventure Studies Department programs at TRU. 

    Students who wish to continue their adventure studies at TRU may ladder directly into the Adventure Guide Diploma, the Adventure Management Diploma, or the Adventure Major in the Bachelor of Tourism Management degree.

  • Course Schedule for the Academic Year 2017 - 2018

    The schedule and dates may be subject to change.

    Course Schedule for the Academic Year 2017 - 2018 [PDF]

  • Thompson Rivers University (TRU)

    Thompson Rivers University is a comprehensive university located in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. It offers students a broad range of courses, career streams, and the ability to ladder credits from diploma programs into full degrees. TRU offers the finest and most extensive adventure studies training in the world. They create exceptional educational experiences to foster students' physical, mental and emotional development so as to be of service to the global commercial adventure industry

    For additional information regarding the Adventure Sport Certificate, Thompson Rivers University and possibilities for continuing educational programs, please visit the TRU website.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Thompson Rivers University in Canada offers - in cooperation with Keilir Health Academy in Iceland - an eight-month unviversity program for Adventure Guides. Here you'll find answers to frequently asked questions about the program. Feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions or comments.

    • How much does it cost?

      The cost for the Adventure Sport Certificate program is set by TRU and is ISK 1.458.000 (approximately 12.000 EUR) for the academic year 2017 - 2018. There is a ISK 75.000 non-refundable registration fee.

      The fee includes access to specialised equipment, as well as domestic travel, accommodation and meals during practical courses around Iceland. The fee does not cover living expenses and accmmodation during theoretical or on-site courses at Keilir Academy.

    • Can I attend the program alongside work?

      The Adventure Sport Certificate is full time studies and therefore we do not recommend that students work full time alongside the education. However some students work part time alongside the studies, but that is pending on workload and the student's organizational skills.

    • Do I have to have a matriculation exam?

      The same requirements apply for the Adventure Sport Certificate program as in Canadian universities. According to application requriements from TRU, students need to be at least 19 years of age and have completed at least half of the credits leading to matriculation examination in upper secondary education.

      Keilir will look at all applications individually and evaluate prospective students based on their education, prior experience and applicant interview.

    • When does the next course start?

      Study start for graduation in June 2019 will be in August 2018. For more information please contact the staff at Keilir Health Academy or follow notifications and news alerts on our website or facebook page.

    • Do I need to have any prior outdoor experience?

      No. This is a basic adventure studies training, although any prior experience can be beneficial for your study and training.

    • Who are the instructors?

      Most of the instructors and lecturers are graduates from Thompson Rivers University. All of them have extensive experience and knowledge within the tourist sector in general and adventure tourism in particular.

    • How much time for the theoretical part?

      In total four courses of twelve in the program are theoretical. Additionally two courses are partially theoretical. Theoretical courses are in many cases a combination of on-site and distance learning.

    • What equipment do I need to possess for the practical courses?

      Click here for the detailed list of required equipment.

  • Additional Information

    The Adventure Sport Certificate program started in Iceland in August 2013. Next course will begin in August 2017.

    • You'll find additional information about the program on the TRU website

    For more information please contact: Arnar Hafsteinsson, Head of Keilir Health Academy.

  • How much does it cost?

    The cost for the Adventure Sport Certificate program is set by TRU and is ISK 1.458.000 (approximately 12.000 EUR) for the academic year 2017 - 2018. There is a ISK 75.000 non-refundable registration fee.

    The fee includes access to specialised equipment, as well as domestic travel, accommodation and meals during practical courses around Iceland. The fee does not cover living expenses and accmmodation during theoretical or on-site courses at Keilir Academy.

  • How do I apply?

    The next study start for the Adventure Sport Certificate Program will be in August 2018 with graduation in June 2019. Applications can be submitted online here.