My Journey to Becoming an International Mountain Guide

I grew up here in Utah skiing and playing in the mountains from an early age.  I was a bump skier in high school and even competed on the Bud Pro Mogul Tour and in the Utah Winter Olympics in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  In college I became more of a ‘soul’ skier and took up telemark skiing, which soon lead me into backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering.

My wife Winslow and I lived out of our truck on and off for nearly a decade. The main focus during this time of my life was chasing powder and playing in the mountains. We enjoyed skiing the volcanoes of the NW, exploring the Tetons, exploring Alaska, and becoming familiar with Utah’s backcountry skiing.

On one ‘never to forget trip’, Winslow and I went to Europe to ski in the Alps.  Our goal was to ski the classic Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt.  During this formative trip we met an IFMGA American Mountain Guide, Ramsay Thomas, who took us under his tutelage and taught us about mountain guiding.  We learned a lot from Ramsey and guided a group of friends across the Haute Route.  When we came home from this trip we moved to the Cascades and got jobs as mountain guides.

 

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We both got hired on with Alpine Ascents International.  That first summer we guided Intro to mountaineering courses on Mt. Baker.  I soon started my education with the American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) and began Ski guiding for Exum of Utah.

After 9 years of guiding for Alpine Ascents I was a senior guide, guiding trips like Denali and Cho Oyu, laps on Mt. Rainier and Mt. Vinson in Antarctica.  In 2009, after nearly a decade of mountain guiding and ski guiding under my belt, I finished the AMGA Rock Guide, Alpine Guide and Ski Mountaineering Guide certifications and became the 62nd IFMGA American Mountain Guide.

Also in 2009, I decided I wanted to work for myself and to guide in new places.  So, I started my own guide company, (In The Company of Guides LLC) and began guiding trips all around the world.  I have guided all the 7 summits, which are the highest peaks on each of the 7 continents.  They are, along with my total ascents of each:

  • Kilimanjaro in Africa(1x)
  • Elbrus in Europe (4X)
  • Aconcagua in South America (2X)
  • Denali in North America (22X)
  • Carstensz in Oceana (7X)
  • Vinson in Antarctica (24X)
  • Everest in Asia (2X).

Under the ITCOG banner I have not only guided the seven summits, I have also guided in:

  • New Zeleand
  • Ecuador
  • The European Alps
  • Antarctica
  • Boat based Backcountry Skiing trips in the Lyngen Alps
  • Helicopter skiing and couloir skiing in Valdez Alaska

I now live between Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood Canyons of Utah’s Wasatch mountains with my wife Winslow and my son Bodhi.  I have made the Wasatch Mountains my home in large part because of the skiing. I have skied in most of the iconic ski destinations around the world, yet my favorite is my own backyard.

About Todd Passey

Todd is America’s 62nd IFMGA licensed mountain guide with more than 20 years of experience. His guiding has taken him across the globe, from the Arctics of Svalbard to Antarctica’s South Pole.

Todd has guided all the “Seven Summits” including 2 Everest summits, 22 Denali summits and 22 summits of Antarctica’s Mt. Vinson. Todd has 10 first ascents in Antarctica’s sentinel range, and climbed test pieces like Denali’s Cassin ridge and the Walker spur on the Grand Jorasses.

Todd is an accomplished skier who’s stomping grounds include Valdez Alaska, the French, Italian and Swiss Alps, Norway and of course his backyard, Utah’s Wasatch mountains.

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