Meet my mountain man: How ski guides can help you get more out of your snow expedition

Klaus Jehle is no ordinary ski instructor. In St Anton, he has near mythical status. Regular clients book him by name and guard him jealously. In fact, people arrange their holidays around Jehle 's availability. He's so good that he teaches the course that already very good instructors have to pass to qualify for the top level of Austrian ski instructors. If this were football, he would be coaching Sir Alex Ferguson to coach. And he makes fantastic honey.

Jehle is also a ski guide, and one of the best in the Alps. At €60 a day he is also one of the best value, so I could come back for more.

St Anton provides first-class skiing and has a legendary après-ski location: the MooserWirt, a place where the price of beer is high and the music is loud. By 4pm it's jammed. I showed a group of likely-looking Norwegians and Swedes (you know the type: rucksacks, helmets, the latest kit) where I had skied with Jehle. They seemed impressed. Of course, they had skied the off-piste area next to the Zammermoos lift and had cut some virgin trails from the Valluga lift. But we had skied two ridges beyond the extremities of the piste map.

Guides are adept at finding the best snow and the least crowded areas. They provide tips along the way to improve your skiing, and take you away from the up, down, up, down of the resort, opening up a whole new range of mountain experiences. "I need to make sure everyone skis quickly," Jehle announces as he plunges down 200m of challenging terrain in high-speed turns. He is making sure that the newcomers today can keep up. On the days I skied with Jehle, his other clients were all perfectly capable of finding the sort of off piste that any reasonable recreational skier can spot from the chair lift. What they were paying for was someone who would take them beyond this, to find the most radical un-skied terrain going. Crucial to this was doing it in safety.

After checking the snow, Jehle skips past the "Avalanche Danger" signs. At times, his instructions were to follow precisely in his tracks. At other times we were told to allow a gap between skiers. "More people to dig," he explains. Better one person is buried so the rest can dig them out.

Later comes a different order: "Fifty metres!" he shouts. A much bigger gap than usual. I pass the message on and look anxiously at the slope. Is this a slope he knows can slip? Not much time to think, Jehle is 50m away and I need to make sure I don't lose him.

At other times Jehle's instructions were simply to pick a line and let rip. We skied through trees, across huge open fields of powder, along forest tracks – and all with that wonderfully remote sensation that comes from skiing without a chair lift anywhere to be seen.

Guides need to know their patch inside out: they should know the angle of every slope relative to the sun, the history of that winter's snowfall and the direction of the prevailing winds. All this is crucial in finding clients the best spots to match their skiing. There is nothing wrong with cruising down prepared pistes for a week, but a day with a top guide can help you to get a lot more out of your skiing holiday.

So if you've got the legs to keep up and you can find him, give Jehle a call. I guarantee that you will remember this as one of your top five ski days ever – and all for less than a round of drinks in the Mooserwirt.

To book Klaus Jehle as your ski instructor, contact Ski School Arlberg (00 43 5446 3411; skischool-arlberg.com ). To ski off piste you must have proper equipment, including an avalanche beeper, shovel and probe. St Anton tourist office (00 43 5446 22690; stantonamarlberg.com )

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there