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A Career in ADVENTURE Sports

For all those who enjoy that rush of adrenalin, the thrill of something reckless, a career in adventure sports is just the thing for you.
You’re at that point where you need to decide on a specific career but like everyone else you don’t want to be stuck in a regular nine to five. If you have an immense love for the outdoors then getting a diploma in mountaineering is the perfect opportunity to combine business with pleasure.
Courses in adventure sports are becoming quite the rage amongst youngsters today. Some pursue them as a hobby, to get away the hustle and bustle of the city while there are quite a few who want to make a lucrative career in the field. For securing admission to various basic adventure sports courses, the applicant must be extremely fit physically and be prepared for any kind of situation. Mountaineering is the most popular of adventure sports and a number of youngsters are leaving their jobs to make a career in mountaineering or trek in the snowy peaks in the Himalayas. For this purpose, the candidate should be between the ages of 16-40 years and for advanced courses, the candidate should have completed the basic course with ‘A’ grade.

How to get a certificate in adventure sports?
There are quite a few institutes which conduct these courses. One of the popular ones is
The Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali, which has been imparting training in various disciplines of adventure sports since 1961. It is the only government-run institute in the North that is conducting courses in various disciplines of mountaineering, skiing and water sports. The directorate and its centres provide training in rock climbing, rappelling, river crossing, trekking, camping, map reading, skiing, swimming, water safety and rescue, canoeing, kayaking, rowing, sailing, water surfing, skiing, white-water rafting, etc.

The 26-day basic mountaineering course starts on the first of every month, except in August, and the 28-day advance mountaineering course begins in the last week of every month. There are four batches in the basic course for men while there is one for women in a year. The duration of the water courses varies from three to 21 days. The 14-day basic course starts on the 1st and 16th of every month. The 21-day advance course in sailing starts on July 1 and the 14-day intermediate course in white-water sports start in October and November at Kulu, Aut and Sujanpur Tihra. The short-duration courses are of three to eight days, depending upon the requirement of a group or an individual. The basic, intermediate and advance skiing courses are conducted between January and April only. Special courses are conducted on request from clubs, other organisations and the armed forces. After the completion of the course, a certificate is given. For more details about both the above courses you can visit http://himachal.nic.in/dmas/Training.htm

Career Prospects
The tourism industry in India has boomed considerably in the past couple of years and a number of avenues have opened up for youngsters looking to make a career in the field. After a specific course you can start a career as a guide with a travel agency or start one’s own travel agency. This is because adventure sports is catching up among Indian as well as well as foreign tourists and is one of the fastest growing areas of the tourism industry. A regular tour guide is paid anything between Rs 6,000 and Rs 9,000 per month, depending upon the flow of tourists. The fee for the course can vary from Rs 3,100 to Rs 4,000, which includes boarding and lodging, training, etc. For Himachalis there is some discount on the fee if you decide to do the course from The Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports.

A Trekker’s View
Twenty four year old, Gargi Bhagwat, a solicitor by profession, is an avid trekker who packs her bags once every year to trek in the Himalayas. She does it as a hobby and because of her great love for outdoor activities. Gargi completed her basic certificate in mountaineering from The Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali in 2005 and definitely recommends it to everyone who is up to it. She says, “I really enjoyed the one month in which I completed my basic course in mountaineering. While most of the girls who were in my group were NCC cadets from various states, there were three other girls like me who had come just for the experience. They have made this course compulsory for all army officers who are stationed in the northern mountainous region nowadays. But I would only recommend it to those who are physically fit, willing to rough it out and willing to go under intense physical strain for one whole month since the course is pretty rigorous.”

Other Institutes in the Country
Some other institutes which also offer Mountaineering and Water Sports courses are the
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling
Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi
Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering,Batote, J&K
Regional Mountaineering Centre, McLeodganj
Winter Sports Skiing Centre, Kulu

Study Abroad
If you’re looking for an international certificate in adventure sports then you can check out the course available at the following institutes The Adventure Sports Institute at Garret College, USA (Adventuresportsi.org), The Adventure Sports Center International, Maryland, (USA) (Adventuresportscenter.com). Both of these have certified courses in rafting, kayaking, hiking, climbing etc. Otago Institute of Sport and Adventure, New Zealand (Otagopolytechnic.ac.nz) has interesting courses like Certificate in High Performance, Diploma in Applied Sports and Leadership, Diploma in Applied Sport and Exercise Leadership etc.

For mountaineers these are a few reputable institutes – Association of Canadian Mountain Guides where the Mountain Guide Program consists of three Certification Streams. Completion of both the Alpine Guide and Ski Guide certificates automatically grants you the Mountain Guide Certificate. The certification provides you with the skills and techniques necessary to carry out any mountain based activity in any terrain. (email acmg@tru.ca for more details). Another institute is Mountain Leader Training Association (UK) where you can avail the Mountaineering Instructor Certificate. This provides comprehensive training and assessment for individuals working as instructors in the mountains and is designed for the specific situations and conditions found in the UK. (visit Mltuk.org) You can also contact The Parbatiya Prashikshen Pratishthan Bikash Samiti, Mountani Academy Nepal is a mountain institute under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Government of Nepal for information on their mountaineering courses.

The Rush
A career in adventure sports will not just keep you physically, you’ll be fit mentally as well. All that lethargy you build up by sitting at your desk, glued to the computer will completely vanish and you’ll be more alert, brighter eyed and always ready for a new thrill. Moreover, you’ll be one of those people who actually enjoy going to work and doing their job. So what are you waiting for? Just pack your bags and your adventure gear and embark on a journey that will last a lifetime!

-Aditi Kotwal

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