Guides

team_picOur guides are some of the top professionals in their field. Some are local Alaskans who reside here much of the year, and others have returned for over a decade to guide each year and witness the formation of the snowpack, and how the changing seasons affect our playground. All hold US Avalanche II or III certifications or Canadian Level II certifications, have WFR, OEC, WEMT, EMT or other medical certifications, have been trained in rope skills and crevasse rescue, and are familiar with safely traveling in mountainous and glaciated terrain. All our guides are “lead” or senior guides who will have you skiing fresh tracks and untouched runs throughout the day.

With all our guides, we can safely say they have the skills, training, and experience to provide you with the best day of skiing or riding in your life!

 

THE TEAM

Jerry Hance

jerryOne of the original heliski guides in Alaska, Jerry has more descents and first descents in the Chugach Range than anyone on the planet. Not to mention his 36 years of skiing experience in the US, Canada, and South America. Jerry’s quiet nature and relaxed style allows you to be comfortable and relaxed as he takes you to the most exciting terrain imaginable. A professional heli-ski guide in every right! Jerry has been forecasting and guiding in Alaska for 22 years now! Along with heli-ski guiding Jerry has over 20 years of Avalanche Hazard Reduction experience in Montana and instructing public and professionals alike in a number of different Ski/Mountaineering and Forecasting classes. Jerry is also a Certified American Avalanche Association Instructor, and holds Wilderness First Responder and Outdoor Emergency Care medical certifications.

 

Tim Ellis

timTim has been leading backcountry snowboarding trips since 2001. In 2007, he began heli guiding in the Chugach, which he describes as “the pinnacle” of his guiding career. In addition to backcountry snowboarding, Tim has led mountaineering and rock climbing trips in the Sierras, North Cascades, and the Chugach as well as sea kayaking in Baja, Puget Sound, and South Central Alaska. Tim is a Wilderness First Responder, and has certifications from the Canadian Avalanche Association, and AIARE Instructor Training Courses.

 

 

Andy Brooks

andyAndy started his guiding career working for Rendezvous Backcountry Tours on the westside of the Tetons. Andy was 21 when he first stumbled across Thompson Pass. Since then he’s been back to Thompson Pass 7 of the last 8 years. Andy has guided heli-skiing on Thompson Pass the last 4 seasons. He currently spends his Winter guiding around the island of Hokkaido, Japan skiing many of its “not so well known” powder stashes. Andy holds a Level III certified mountain guide certificate from the American Avalanche Institute and a Wilderness First Responder from the Wilderness Medicine Institute.

 

Steve Schumm

Steve grew up in the mountains of Montana and has been a backcountry and heli guide since the mid 80’s. He has been heli guiding on skis or snowboard in Alaska since 91′ and most years to date. He has also guided in the western US, Canada and Japan. Skiing from a young age his mountain knowledge is built from a lifetime of experience investigating weather, snow, terrain, avalanches and searching out the POW! He enjoys sharing his love of the mountains, helping others feel comfortable and finding the best lines possible for every standard level of the group. Steve has been accepted by the American Avalanche Association as a professional member and a Wilderness First Responder.

 

Brian Warren

Brian is a passionate climber, skier and mountain guide. He has been climbing since 1998, and has spent the last several years skiing as many days as possible. Brian works as a professional mountain guide year round in various parts of the world including Jackson Hole, Pacific Northwest and the European Alps. He has also climbed and guided in Alaska, Canada, South America and the Himalaya. Brian presently holds IFMGA/AMGA Aspirant status, and enjoys alpine traverses, desert rock and technical ski mountaineering. He is always excited to guide and help individuals obtain their personal goals of mountain travel.

 

Josh Parker

 

AJ Puccia

A native of Lake Placid, New York, AJ grew up ski racing and training across the east coast before a successful career as the Captain of the NCAA Div. I Alpine Ski Team at St. Lawrence University. Persuaded by his teammates to forgo a corporate career and move to the mountains, where AJ quickly made the transition from ski racing to free-ride, and has spent the past eight seasons exploring the Teton Range, California, and the Canadian Rockies. AJ holds a Level II AAI Avalanche Certification, is a NOLS certified Wilderness Outdoor First Responder, WMI CPR and AED certified, and is currently pursuing AMGA accreditation in Alpine Guiding. Off the hill, Aj is the Wine Director and Sommelier of the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, as well as an associate winemaker in the Napa Valley. Aj lives in Teton Village, WY and is an avid cyclist, climber, fisherman, triathlete, kayaker.
Partners: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Volkl Skis, POC Armor, Exodus Reps

 

Aaron Ollivier

Partner/Co-Owner Aaron Ollivier is a Utah native and grew up skiing at Sundance Resort, near Provo UT. Business Entrepeneur and owner in some 8 companies including Precision Concrete Cutting. His love for skiing and the mountains developed into a passion for rock climbing, river rafting and eventually climbing big mountains all around the world. After being a river guide in Moab, UT for 3 years, he traveled to three continents to climb the largest mountain on each of those continents. Aaron first came to Valdez in 2004 to heli ski and instantly fell in love with the Chugach Range. He’s been heli skiing and involved with heli skiing operations since 2009, where he’s merged his business acumen with his passion for skiing and sharing that passion with others.

 

Josh & Tabatha Swierk

josh_tabJosh and his wife Tabatha are also partner owners/founders of Black Ops Valdez and the Robe Lake Lodge. Josh and Tabatha came to Alaska from Maine in 2004, and have been here since. Josh worked for VHSG out of the Tsaina Lodge for 7 seasons, where he also started snowmobile guided trips and snowmobile accessed skiing and snowboarding during the early winter months and on “down days” when the helis could not fly. In 2008 they built the Robe Lake Lodge and in 2010 they added snowcat skiing to their snowmobile operation. In 2012, BOV worked with TGR on “The Dream Factory” film about Alaska. Black Ops Valdez has come full circle and added their own helicopters for what originally brought he and Tabatha to Alaska in the first place…the best heli-skiing in the world! Tabatha and Josh live full time in Valdez with their two daughters, Rachel Lee and Alana May.