About Us

Discover the benefits of heading into the backcountry with professional…

At Summit Mountain Guides, we provide our guests with professionally certified and experience guides & instructors (IFMGA / ACMG / CAA) who take pleasure in helping you achieve your personal goals. Our guides and instructors are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and the Canadian Avalanche Association. They are trained in the most current safety standard, mountain rescue and wilderness first aid. On every program you will be guided and instructed by professionals who have many years of working experience in the industry. Below you will find a bio of some of the guides periodically working for SMG.

Meet Your Guides

David Lussier, Owner, Manager & Mountain Guide (ACMG / IFMGA)

David’s love for high places has lead him to establish a career in the mountains.  Initiated to skiing and climbing at a young age, he continued to develop this passion into adulthood and has applied his skills to help others meet their mountain goals. He has been guiding guests climbing, skiing and mountaineering for more than 15 years. He has successfully guided clients on the highest peaks of Western Canada and Europe. His broad guiding background includes work for the Canadian Cat & Heli-ski industry, numerous backcountry ski lodges and ski mountaineering programs in remote mountain ranges.

As a guide, David looks forward to sharing his skills & passion for adventure with you. He is particularly invested in giving you the means to define and achieve your goals while safely maximizing your experience. He guides the majority of trips and courses we offer. When not skiing or climbing guiding, he enjoys exploring first ascents and descents in remote mountain areas. He is fluent in both French & English. He lives in Nelson BC with his 11 year old son.

Lila Jansma, Ski Guide (ACMG)

Born and raised in Nelson BC, Lila is at home in the mountains. Lila has been guiding professionally for 10 years. Her work as a ski guide has taken her to Northern BC to guide heli-skiing, to the Rockies to lead cadets in mountaineering adventures, and now back to the Kootenays to ski guide. She enjoys connecting with people in the mountain environment through backcountry skiing while providing a fun & safe adventure.

Bob Sawyer , Ski Guide & Ast. Alpine Guide (ACMG)

Bob has been guiding summer and winter programs since 1980. He is based in Rossland, BC and also enjoys skiing and climbing guiding throughout the Selkirks, Rockies, and the Purcell Ranges. He has guided at Canadian Mtn. Holidays and other operations. Bob’s wealth of experience and passion for safety in the mountains make him a wonderful person to ski or climb with.

Martin (Marty) Vidak, Ski Guide/ Hiking Guide (ACMG)

Marty has been an ACMG Ski Guide for 20 years. His home is in Golden, BC, an excellent base to explore the Selkirk, Purcell, and Rocky Mountains. Marty’s extensive experience includes 18 years as a Mountain Rescue Specialist, and his lengthy guiding career includes snow cat skiing, heli -skiing, and guiding at many of the backcountry lodges in BC. Marty has climbed and skied all over the world for the past 40 years, but his passion is for the deep untracked powder of the Selkirks. He enjoys sharing with guests what he has learned from a life in the mountains.

Marc Deschenes, Ski Guide (ACMG)

Marc is an ACMG Ski Guide and a professional member of the CAA. Marc’s passion for the mountain and skiing lead him into a ski guiding career which includes work at various backcountry ski lodge as well as helicopter skiing, snow-cat skiing operations throughout BC and the Rockies.  He also enjoys teaching and instructing professional level courses. He lives in Nelson with his family.

Jeremy Birse, Apprentice Ski Guide (ACMG)

Raised on the eastern slopes of the rockies, Jeremy brings years of varied experience climbing up and sliding back down mountains. In search of deeper snowpacks, & thicker bushwacks he now calls the Kootenays his home. Having spent the last 6 years in the guiding industry, he is eager to continue learning as well as share his experiences. His relaxed yet enthusiastic demeanour will charm away even the steepest uptracks. Party tricks include skiing his splitboard down just about anything.

IFMGA & ACMG background

The Mountain Guiding profession initiated in the European Alps over 200 years ago. The first ascent of mount Blanc by Jacques Balmat and doctor Michel Paccard in 1786 strongly contributed to an increased interest in recreational climbing and the need for guides. Over time, each country bordering with the Alps developed their own guiding association and professional standards. In an effort to standardize the ever growing profession, France, Austria, Italy & Switzerland created an International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA) in 1965. One of the IFMGA mandated would be to promote the most uniform & professional training possible, in order to facilitate the practice of the mountain guide profession abroad. Today the IFMGA has more than 20 member countries world wide.

Canada has over a hundred years of mountain guiding history. The first certified guides to visit Canada came from Switzerland in 1899. For various reasons, the need for mountain guides and simultaneously guiding standards were on the rise in the late 1950 early 1960. As a result, the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) was formed in 1963. Eventually, the ACMG became the first non European member of the IFMGA in 1972. Since then, Canadian mountain guides have been able to carry out their profession in all other countries members of the IFMGA.

Why you should hire a certified guide

The Association of Canadian Mountain Guides is the only internationally recognized governing body for professional climbing, hiking, backcountry skiing & mountain guides in Canada. ACMG guides have been examined to the highest level and are required to maintain their standard with Continuing Professional Development each year. In Canada, active guides spend over 100 days each winter ski guiding and instructing in avalanche terrain and upwards of 50 days each summer climbing guiding in the Alpine environment. ACMG guides are an incredible resource with a rich mountain background and wealth of knowledge. They are passionate about all mountain discipline and enjoy sharing their experience while working with individuals with various background and goals.

There are specific terrain & professional guidelines that applies to every ACMG guides based on their certification level. Generally speaking, assistant guides do not have the same ability to guide independently like fully certified Ski, Alpine or Mountain guides do. The type of terrain or trips assistant guides can do are normally shorter and less involved unless they are working under direct supervision of a fully certified Ski, Alpine or Mountain guide.

Professional guides who support this system tend to be members of the ACMG. To ensure that your guide is a member of the ACMG, you can search for them on the ACMG member list by clicking here. Only active ACMG members appear on the list and only active members may use the association logo. If your “ACMG certified” guide does not appear on the list then they likely do not possess the permits to guide in the National and Provincial Parks and are probably not adequately insured!