This could be the start of something amazing. Adventure sports present an infinite variety of challenges and opportunities for people who are passionate about exploring the outdoors. There are adventure sports jobs everywhere you look.
What’s more, they pay well and often require high levels of physical fitness and technical expertise. If you have a knack for wilderness survival or a passion for climbing mountains like crazy, this could be the career for you! Are you ready to take your first steps?
What is an adventure sport?
Adventure sports are outdoor activities that are chosen for their inherent challenge and opportunity for discovery. Whether it’s orienteering, trekking, climbing, or surfing, these activities require skill, technique, fitness, and a healthy dose of courage.
Where adventure sports differ from other activities is the level of danger and excitement. Adventure sports also include a focus on the environment and conservation of natural resources, which makes them particularly relevant to youth and senior citizens.
A guide leads outdoor activities, such as hiking, trekking, and orienteering, to provide expertise, safety, and logistical support. While guiding, a guide is typically self-employed. Guides can work full-time or part-time. A guide’s primary source of income is through fees for guiding activities.
Because many guiding jobs are seasonal, many guides specialize in one type of activity, such as fly fishing, bird watching, or canoeing/kayaking. Like travel guides, guides can often help arrange accommodations and transportation.
A climber is someone who goes up—or attempts to go up—in the mountains. Climbing sports often involve rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, or bouldering. Climbing is a physically strenuous sport, and most climbers work in gyms and fitness centers to stay in shape.
Others become full-time climbers, working as guides, instructors, or guides for specialized companies. Those who enjoy the adrenaline rush of climbing can also become ski and wakeboard instructors, helping people learn these sports. Climbers can also find jobs as search and rescue volunteers or guiding mountain/ice climbers.
Heli-skiier or heliskier
A heliskier is someone who either skips or rides in a helicopter to access remote areas. While some heliskiers work for companies that offer heli-skiing adventures, many do it as a full-time job. For this, they need to be certified as pilots, undergo extensive training, and be certified.
The job also requires extensive know-how about the best landing sites, weather conditions, and route availability in order to minimize the impact of the activity on the environment. Heliskiers can work seasonally, full-time, or own their own business.
Most heliskiers work seasonally, either in the summer or winter depending on their geographic location. Depending on the season and the geographic location, heliskiers can make an average of $90,000 to $150,000 a year.
Backcountry skiing and snowboarding
Backcountry skiing and snowboarding are outdoor pursuits that require an expert’s knowledge of the best routes and terrain as well as experience and a specific level of skill. These sports are also called ski touring. Backcountry touring requires backcountry skiing skills and alpine touring skills for snowboarding.
The best backcountry ski tours are often found in national parks and wilderness areas. Backcountry ski tours range from short day trips to multiday expeditions. Backcountry snowboarding tours are similar with shorter distances, but longer duration.
Companies are also getting into backcountry touring, and some offer group and private tours. Backcountry ski and snowboarding jobs can range from guiding, teaching, and managing a program to being a full-time employee.
Kayak seat lifter or sea scooter craft operator
A sea scooter craft operator is a person who operates boats that are outfitted with scooters or seat-lifts to transport people or equipment over water or across rivers. Sea scooter craft operators often work for tour companies, transporting tourists to and from ports for day trips or multiday adventures. While sea scooter craft operators can work seasonally, many prefer to operate year-round.
Some sea scooter craft operators also offer water-skiing and wakeboarding tours. Like sea scooter craft operators, water-ski and wakeboard tour operators can operate seasonally or year-round. Depending on the geographic location and season, an average water-skiing tour guide can make between $50,000 and $100,000 a year.
Canoeist or paddler
A canoeist or paddler goes on canoe trips, usually on rivers and lakes. Some companies offer guided canoe trips and some operate as nonprofit groups. Canoe trips range from short day trips to multiday expeditions with camping.
Canoeists and paddlers can also work seasonally, year-round, as freelance guides, or for companies. Depending on the geographic location and the activity, an average canoeist or paddler can make between $25,000 and $75,000 a year.
Biker/Mountain bike guide
A mountain bike guide is someone who leads mountain bike tours, teaching people about the area’s natural landscapes, history, and wildlife. Some guide full-time, while others offer tours as a side job. Like all guides, mountain bike guides can work seasonally, full-time, or for companies. Depending on the activity and the location, an average mountain bike guide can make between $30,000 and $70,000 a year.
Adventure sports present endless challenges and opportunities for those who are willing to face them. The right combination of physical fitness and technical skill can help you earn a good living as an adventure sports guide, climber, kayaker, heliskier, backcountry skier, or guide for other outdoor activities. If you have the right combination, adventure sports jobs are a great way to make a living doing what you love.