About Mountain Sense

 Our Philosophy

The mountains are a sacred place for us. We take tremendous joy in sharing them with others and unlocking their true beauty for all to see. It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to open someone's eyes to the potential within themselves via the mountain environment and we take great pride in doing just that.

In guiding, "Mountain Sense" is defined as having the ability to elegantly apply the right technique at the right time in the right place. We are mountain specialists. Through teaching and guiding, we provide a safe, but challenging avenue for people to do what they only dreamed was possible.

The Guides

Shaun King - Owner & Lead Guide

Shaun King

Originally from Ontario, Shaun grew up windsurfing and competing in track, x-country running and triathlons. After high school he moved to Vancouver to complete a degree in Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University and compete on their varsity track and swim teams. While shifting more of a focus towards climbing, skiing and kayaking, Shaun managed SFU's Outdoor Recreation Centre and eventually moved to Kamloops to complete the Adventure Travel Guide Diploma at Thompson Rivers University.

In 1997 Shaun became a member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and in 1999 moved to Calgary where he managed the climbing, skiing and avalanche programs at the U of C's Outdoor Centre for over 7 years. Having climbed and skied many of the well known (and not so well known) routes in the Rockies and Interior Ranges, Shaun knows these areas well. He has been teaching rock & ice climbing, crevasse rescue, avalanche and backcountry skiing courses for years and loves sharing his knowledge with keen learners. His patient nature and skilled pedagogy combine to provide a comfortable and fun filled learning environment. 

He has skied and climbed in the US, Asia and Europe (where he lived and guided for 7 months).  He has also heli-ski and cat-ski guided in Japan and Canada and completed many of the long ski traverses that Canada is known for.

Shaun is a professional ACMG / IFMGA Mountain Guide, CAA Level 2 Professional member, and CSIA Level 2 Ski Instructor. He lives in Canmore, AB and also bases out of Nelson, BC.

Jamie Whiteside - Guide

Jamie Whiteside

Jamie got his first taste of wilderness adventures in the early 80's and he's been hooked every since. A graduate of the adventure travel guide program at TRU he has worked for nearly two decades in the outdoor industry.

With a big smile and a love of life, he is always keen to share adventures and special places. His enthusiasm is infectious and his client care unsurpassed.  With a Masters in Leadership from Royal Roads University, he draws on many strengths working as an instructor and backcountry guide.

Jamie has spent many years guiding and teaching in western Canada where he makes his home, but an avid traveller at heart he may be found parts of the year as far away as Patagonia, the Indian Himalaya, or the High Arctic where he leads trekking, paddling, and ski adventures.

Jamie is a professional ACMG Ski Guide, Hiking Guide, CAA Level 2 Professional member, and telemark Ski Instructor.

Craig Hollinger - Apprentice Guide

Jamie Whiteside

Craig has been ski touring and ski mountaineering for more than 25 years and has completed numerous multi-week ski traverses in BC's West Coast Mountains and the Chugach of Alaska.

While pursuing an electrical engineering degree at UBC in the late 1980's, he was involved with the Varsity Outdoor Club and the Alpine Club of Canada in Vancouver. There he organized and led backcountry trips and taught telemark skiing, ski touring and avalanche courses.

In 2007 he left the engineering world to become a professional ski guide and has worked since then cat ski guiding and teaching ski touring and avalanche courses.

Today he divides his time between guiding, teaching and working at the Whitewater Ski Resort as a pro patroller.

Craig is an ACMG Apprentice Ski Guide, a CAA Level 2 Professional member and a CSIA Level 1 instructor. He lives in Nelson BC.

Other ACMG Guides or CAA members may be hired for certain activities. We strive to provide the best possible staff for all your adventures.

Guest Comments

“We were most pleased with your excellent preparation and organization towards our first Alpine adventure. We knew we would be well taken care of with you as our leader. The many hours of ascent to Cond Peak, the professional training of the mountaineering gear and its use on the glacier as well as the patient, quiet manner in which you encouraged us to keep moving was most appreciated. You were committed to our cause to reach the peak within the time constraints, yet allowed us the necessary breaks to assure pleasure and sustenance. This I very much appreciated.

We were also most fortunate for choosing you as our guide because you turned out to be a great cook! The meals were delicious and fit for kings - perfect after our first day on the mountain trails. Dessert was beyond our expectations, as was the ACC cabin.

This has been a most satisfying adventure, one that we will never forget. We highly recommend your guide services to anyone who is contemplating a visit to the alpine regions of Canada so they can experience true mountain air and wildlife seen through the eyes of a true professional.”
Anthony - Victoria, BC re: Kokanee Glacier Park

“We are all basking in the afterglow of our trek, and agree that it stands out as not only a summer highlight, but the pinnacle of our hiking careers. Four "Sixty-Somethings" achieved heights we never dreamed possible, marched up trails steeper than I would ever have agreed to had someone told me first, and marvelled at spectacular views most people never have the opportunity to gaze upon.

Your glacier expertise, knowledge of mountain geography, geology, flora and fauna, really enriched our days. The care you took in picking routes over challenging off-trail terrain, as well as glacier traversing to ensure a safe journey was appreciated by everyone.
We are so glad we took the meal option; your cooking was delicious and we looked forward to the 'haute cuisine' after long days on the trail.”
Catherine - Kelowna, BC re: the Abbot Pass Traverse

“Thank you again for your assistance last winter. The prep work you did with me prior to my Avalanche Operations level 1 course was invaluable. I felt a lot more comfortable starting the course after going into the backcountry with you and getting a better understanding of what I was getting into.

The day out ice climbing was exceptional, I learned more in that one day with you than I have in 2 winters in Ontario! Your professionalism, knowledge and instructional ability are clearly the result of a lot of experience and dedication and I truly appreciate your assistance with everything.”
Jeremy - Barrie, ON

“Superbe guide de montagne. Jérémi, André et moi-meme avons bénéficiés de ses services durant l'ascension du Mt-Victoria, Lac Louise en 2010 et c'était hors de ce monde. Tres pro.”
Robert - Laval, Quebec

“You ‘walked the talk’ and gave us lots of examples of communication repeatedly putting our newly acquired knowledge to the test. The beacon buries were great but the constant ‘what do you see’ questions as we toured were the best.”
Mike - Nelson, BC re: Avalanche Skills Training 1

“I would like to say I was very impressed with your professionalism, skill and patience. The best part though was your instructional techniques using minimal gear and ingenuity.”
Peter - Nelson, BC re: private mountaineering at the Silver Spray cabin in Kokanee Glacier Park

“Thanks for all of your excellent guiding, support and friendship on this trip. Gord and I certainly appreciated it and I was really happy to see him on the summit of Magog (a dream come true for him!) I would enjoy going on more trips with you in the future.”
George - Calgary, AB re: private Assiniboine trip

“It was a great trip and I really appreciated your help and excellent guiding skills! Thanks again for a great trip to Mt. Assiniboine and I will look forward to doing more next year – hopefully in the Bugaboos!”
Gordon - Calgary, AB


Alpine Club of Canada Gazette - Huts Ad
Canadian Alpine Journal - Silver Spray Alpine Climbing
Kootenay Mountaineering Club - What's in Your Pack?
Alpine Club of Canada Gazette - West Kootenay Ice
Route Building 101


The Association of Canadian Mountain Guides is the ONLY international governing body for Hiking, Rock, Alpine, Ski* and 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. There are specific terrain guidelines for each discipline and a code of conduct that every ACMG guide must live by.

All of this regulation is in place to ensure that when you hire an ACMG guide, you are getting the very best, safest and most highly trained guides possible. Beware of imposters! 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!

*Note that CSGA guides are not certified for backcountry ski touring.

Frequently Asked Questions

What elements comprise the total cost of hiring an ACMG guide?

  • Training & Certification - in Canada it costs ~$30,000 to become a Mountain Guide and takes as long or longer than becoming a doctor
  • Group & Guide Equipment - ropes, racks, tools, skis, clothing, safety gear
  • Insurance - active ACMG guides carry $5 million liability insurance
  • Permits - National & Provincial Park permits must be renewed every year
  • Reference Materials & Resources - guide books, maps, photos, CD roms
  • Ongoing Training and Recertification - 1st aid, CPD, staff training
  • Administration Time - hours of logistics and planning required for most field days
  • Seasonal Nature of the Work - the busy seasons are relatively short

What kind of fitness / ability do I need for these trips?

Attempts have been made within the wording of the trip descriptions to give you an idea of what to expect or the average length of the days, but generally you should be used to carrying a 20-30L pack for day trips and a 40-60L pack for multiday trips.  We find that people usually have a pretty good measure of their abilities and if anything tend to underestimate what they are capable of.

If you are uncertain of the physical requirements or whether a given trip is reasonable for you, please do not hesitate to contact us and we would be more than happy to answer all your questions.

The course I am interested in says min. 3 people, but I am alone.

Let us know the course you are interested in and your availability and we will attempt to partner you up with others who are also interested in the same course at that time.

Where can I rent equipment?

Many of our instructional courses include basic equipment. For those that don't we have some gear available for rent on our Contact & Booking page. Ski touring equipment can be rented at ROAM Shop and Valhalla Pure Outfitters in Nelson, BC and at Gear Up Sports in Canmore, AB.


Canmore - Winter & Summer Programs

Nelson - Winter ski touring and Avalanche Courses

Cell: 403-707-5566

E-mail: info@mountainsense.ca