The Valdez Heli-Ski Guides are recognized as some of the best in their field and represent leading industry qualifiers such as Heli Ski U.S., the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and the American Avalanche Association. All are trained in first aid: Wilderness First Responder, Outdoor Emergency Care, and/or E.M.T. Many have skied in the Chugach’s Thompson Pass since the inception of the heli-skiing in the early ‘90s . Some have won or placed in the World Extreme Ski Championships. All of them have skied and climbed in the greatest mountain ranges of the world: the Himalayas, Alaska Range, Alps and Andes.
VHSG’s guides have been hand picked because of their commitment to the art of guiding. With VHSG you can rest assured that your guide has the requisite skills to take you down our biggest peaks. Unlike many heli-ski operators, where only the “lead guide” has the skill set to assess safety and open runs, all of our guides are fully qualified professionals. Whether you are in the first group or the fourth, you will ski untracked ramps, faces and couloirs on the biggest peaks in the Chugach. Only at Valdez Heli-Ski Guides.
Scott Raynor since 2000
Scott Raynor has been the owner and operator of Valdez Heli-Ski Guides since purchasing the company from Doug Coombs in 2000. He began his Alaska heli-ski guide career in 1996, as an avalanche forecaster and has since been a VHSG lead guide, avalanche forecaster and operations director. Scott has worked as a heli-ski guide in New Zealand, Chile, Greenland, and as a guide on Denali. He is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association and when not guiding in Valdez, Scott can be found ski-touring and ski-mountaineering in the Chugach, Wasatch and Selkirk Mountains.
Kirsten Kremer since 2000
Kirsten Kremer has not missed a ski season in the Chugach since her first visit in 1993 and has worked and guided for VHSG since 1996. Kirsten’s motivation and exploits are legendary: she has flown a paraglider off the North Face of the Augille de Midi in Chamonix; climbed first ascents in Yosemite Valley; skied first descents on Denali; and is an extreme skiing champion. Kirsten also guides for Mountain Trip and Alaska Denali Guiding in the summer.
Don Sharaf since 2001
VHSG turns to Don Sharaf for avalanche and weather forecasts. Don is the president of Teton Avalanche Consulting, is a certified AMGA ski mountaineering guide, and an American Avalanche Association (AAA) certified avalanche educator, and a bona fide ski bum. Don presents avalanche research at the International Snow Science Workshop and the AAA. When not skiing in Valdez, Don resides in Victor, Idaho, and is known for breaking miles and miles of trail through the Tetons each winter.
Jamie Weeks since 2001
One of the country’s first snowboard guides, Jamie started guiding with VHSG in 2001. Currently Jamie is a lead guide and avalanche forecaster for Togwotee Snowcat Guides in Jackson Hole as well as a guide for Jackson Hole Alpine Guides. A lifelong Class 5 whitewater river guide, Jamie has guided commercial river trips in West Virginia, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, New York and Maine. He has completed Professional Avalanche Level 3, Winter Weather Forecasting, AASI Level 2 snowboard instructor, and the AMGA ski-mountaineering guide course.
Doug Workman since 2004
Doug has worked as a ski guide, avalanche forecaster and avalanche instructor for organizations such as the Utah Avalanche Forecaster Center, International Mountain Climbing School and the National Outdoor Leadership School. He has completed Professional Avalanche Level 3 certification, the AMGA’s ski-mountaineering course, and is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association. He has international alpine climbing experience and has skied the Grand Teton many times, twice via the Otter Body.
Jed Workman since 2007
Jed Workman is a talented climber and skier with a resume riddled with everything from 5.13 red points to first ascents in Pakistan and Alaska. In 2000 he started his guiding career teaching at the National Outdoor Leadership School and is currently a lead Denali guide for the Alaska Mountaineering School and a ski-mountaineering guide for courses at Alaska Pacific University. Jed is a also professional member of the American Avalanche Association. After spending time with Jed in the mountains, you are unlikely to forget his infectious laugh!
Jeff Zell since 1997
Jeff Zell has skied and guided in the Chugach longer than any other guide on Thompson Pass. Jeff’s history in the area dates back to 1993 when he placed second in the World Extreme Ski Championships; he has been a fixture at VHSG ever since. Jeff has skied over 100 days a year for the last 25 seasons, some seasons tallying as many as 250 days. As VHSG's most-seasoned guide, he can calmly guide you down any run in the Chugach. Jeff, a certified PSIA Level 3 ski instructor, teaches skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and is a professional ski patroller at Snow King Ski Resort. He also guides for Togwotee Snowcat Guides.
Dan Starr since 2013
Dan is excited to return for his third season of heli-ski guiding in the Chugach (2013). A professional backcountry ski guide and patrolman based in Jackson Hole since 2000, Dan has guided many distinct, high-angle ski tours and descents on the Grand Teton. His guiding experience has stretched far beyond the Tetons to the Antarctic Peninsula, Argentina’s Tierra Del Fuego, Morocco’s High Atlas Range, and the Canadian Rockies and Rogers Pass. In 2005 Dan guided expeditions on Denali’s West Buttress and Nepal’s Lobuje East. Dan has taught avalanche courses for the American Avalanche Institute and is currently a certified AMGA Aspirant and Alpine guide.
Jim Conway since 2012 (1993 -1999)
One of VHSG's orginal guides, Jim worked along side founder Doug Coombs for the companies first six years. His Alaska Heli-Ski Guides experience then broadened with positions at Teton Gravity Research as their lead helicopter guide and risk management consultant, and at Chugach Powder Guides as its operations manager. Currently Jim provides avalanche education services for professional skiers and snowboarders and consults the U.S. Marine Corps on a number of risk management projects. Jim is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association.
Gary Kuehn since 2014
Gary has travelled and worked throughout the world as a guide. He loves being on skis and now travels between New Zealand (current home) winters and the northern hemisphere… again for winter! He is planning on making March and April in Alaska as part of this pattern. “Working with the talented team at VHSG in amazing Chugach terrain is a dream come true.” He is equally at home heli-skiing, ski touring or ski mountaineering having traversed Denali and the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap on skis and done numerous ski descents in North America and New Zealand. Gary is an IFMGA guide, and professional member and certified instructor of the American Avalanche Association.
Karen Bockel since 2014
Karen is excited to be spending her first season with Valdez Heli-Ski
guides. She grew up Germany and has lived in the US for the past 20
years. She found her passion for skiing in Telluride, Colorado, ski
touring the San Juan backcountry and ski patrolling at the Telluride
Ski Area. She has climbed and skied many of the Colorado Fourteeners,
the Grand Teton, and Denali, along with trips to the Canadian Rockies,
Alaska, the European Alps, and the high Andes in Chile.
Karen works year-round in the mountains, guiding for Exum Mountain Guides in Grand Teton National Park, for Mountain Trip in the Alaska Range, and for San Juan Mountain Guides in Colorado. She is an AMGA Aspirant Ski guide and Certified Rock guide.
Dan Corn since 2014
Dan Corn began guiding in 2004 in New England then in 2008 he headed west to Jackson, WY where he works for the American Avalanche Institute and Exum Mountain Guides. Spring brings him up to Alaska to ski and guide trips for the Alaska Mountaineering School on Denali. He has completed a Level 3 avalanche course and is an AMGA certified guide working towards his IFMGA certification. Favorite ski descents include the Otter Body on the Grand Teton, the East face of Teewinot and the SW ridge of Peak 12,200 in the Alaska Range. In 2009 he received the Hans Saari Grant for a ski attempt on the South Face of Denali. He has traveled from Tuckerman Ravine to Chamonix and the Alps to ski and follow his passion for the mountains.