It's our #1 priority.
Our guest's safety is the top priority in everything we do and every decision we make. Period.
Our team of guides consists of like-minded professionals who are passionate about showcasing the wonders of Alaska. Each member is carefully selected based on their professionalism, experience, skill set, and demeanor. Our guides take responsibility for your safety, manage helicopter logistics and impart their knowledge about the mountains.
At minimum, our guides possess Wilderness First Responder certification, AAA membership, and Avalanche Pro 1 or 2 certifications. The majority of our guides have pursued the AMGA track and hold full certifications as IFMGA or AMGA Certified Ski/Snowboard Guides. All guides have undergone comprehensive training in helicopter ski operations, mountain weather, high angle rescue, wilderness survival, remote medical care, and advanced top-down mechanized ski guiding techniques.
Collectively, our guides have skied on all seven continents, received training from numerous public safety departments, attended trauma conferences, and organized major events worldwide. These endeavors aim to share experiences, contribute to the larger community, and continually refine their guiding expertise and knowledge.
We understand the importance of protocols, continuous learning, professional development and helicopter operations to ensure the highest standards of safety and expertise.
At the start of every week, before embarking on any activities, our team conducts thorough safety briefings with every guest. These briefings cover essential safety protocols, rescue gear training, helicopter operations, emergency procedures, and any specific risks or hazards relevant to the week's activities.
Every morning, the team holds a meeting to discuss the day's plan. This meeting involves guides, pilots, fueler and support staff. We review weather conditions, snow conditions, group dynamics, logistics, gear needs and any possible changes to the days itinerary. It is an opportunity to address any concerns, clarify roles and responsibilities, and ensure everyone is well-prepared for the day ahead.
At the end of every day, we have a meeting to evaluate the day's activities and discuss any notable changes or observations. This allows us to reflect on the day's successes and challenges, make improvements if necessary, share any valuable insights among the team and prepare for the days ahead.
Efficient logistics play a crucial role in ensuring a smooth and safe operation. Our team meticulously plans and organizes transportation, equipment, and supplies needed for each day's activities. We prioritize proper equipment maintenance, regular inspections, and adherence to transportation safety guidelines.
Our flight following procedures ensure constant monitoring of our helicopters and groups in real-time. Our dedicated team constantly tracks and communicates with the pilots, guides and AOC, providing updates and support for safe and efficient operations.
Weather conditions play a significant role in our daily operations. Our team closely monitors weather forecasts, both short-term and long-term, to assess the feasibility and safety of planned activities. We prioritize the safety of our guests and adjust plans accordingly if adverse weather conditions arise. Our guides receive comprehensive training in interpreting and understanding mountain weather patterns.
Snow conditions are thoroughly evaluated to ensure safe skiing and snowboarding experiences. Our guides possess extensive knowledge of snowpack analysis and regularly assess the stability and quality of the snow. They employ industry-standard techniques to identify potential avalanche hazards and mitigate risks. Our commitment to snow safety includes ongoing monitoring and participation in local avalanche forecasting networks.
Fueling procedures are conducted with the utmost care and attention to detail. Our trained staff follows industry best practices when handling fuel, including proper storage, transportation, and fueling of helicopters. We ensure compliance with safety regulations and conduct routine checks to maintain fueling equipment in optimal condition.
Our pilots are highly experienced and trained professionals with a deep understanding of the unique challenges of operating in Alaska's mountainous terrain. They undergo regular training and assessments to enhance their skills and maintain a strong focus on safety. They closely monitor weather conditions, communicate effectively with the guides, and make informed decisions regarding flight operations.
Our aviation provider meticulously maintains their fleet of helicopters for optimal and reliable operations. Their experienced maintenance team follows strict schedules, adhering to industry standards and manufacturer recommendations. By prioritizing preventive maintenance and prompt repairs, we are dedicated to the safety and satisfaction of our guests. Fly with us, knowing you're in safe hands and a meticulously - maintained aircraft.
Our guides and pilots receive specialized training in helicopter ski operations. This training covers topics such as aircraft safety, heli-skiing protocols, top-down guiding techniques, remote communications and coordination between base, pilots and guides to ensure smooth and secure operations in mountainous terrain.
Conducted by industry experts and professionals, these sessions cover a wide range of topics related to safety, technical skills, emergency response, and customer service. By participating in these events, our team members stay up-to-date with the latest practices and advancements in their respective fields.
Cross training allows our team to develop a broader skill set and gain a deeper understanding of different aspects of our operations. For example, guides have the opportunity to learn from our pilots, and vice versa. This cross-training fosters collaboration, improves communication, and enhances the overall safety and efficiency of our operations.
We prioritize the highest standards of safety and professionalism. Our team members possess a range of certifications that equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their daily activities with excellence.
To enhance preparedness and response capabilities, we conduct mock drills and simulations regularly. These exercises simulate real-life emergency scenarios, allowing our team members to practice their skills, test their decision-making abilities, and identify areas for improvement. Through these drills, we continuously refine our emergency protocols and strengthen our team's ability to handle unforeseen situations.
This process allows us to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement, providing targeted training and support as needed. By continuously assessing and nurturing our team's skills, we create a culture of ongoing growth and improvement.
The industry standard WFR enables our guides to provide essential medical care in remote and challenging environments. Many of our staff are EMT's, Paramedics or Registered Nurses.
Our guides stay up-to-date with the latest research, techniques, and advancements in avalanche safety through the AAA. This allows us to actively engage with a community of professionals dedicated to promoting and exploring the most up to date research, techniques, case studies, avalanche education and awareness.
Our team members are encouraged to pursue external certifications and courses relevant to their roles and responsibilities. This could include certifications in wilderness medicine, avalanche safety, mountaineering, ski instruction, technical climbing, and other specialized areas. By investing in these external certifications, we ensure that our team members have the most up-to-date knowledge and skills necessary to deliver safe and exceptional experiences to our guests.
Our guides have earned one or both of these certifications, demonstrating their expertise in assessing avalanche terrain, snowpack stability, rescue procedures, effective communication, weather factors and the implementation of effective safety measures.
The majority of our guides have pursued the rigorous training and assessment programs offered by IFMGA or AMGA. These certifications are recognized worldwide and signify a high level of competence in technical climbing, skiing, and guiding.
Our team members hold various additional certifications depending on their specific roles and responsibilities. These may include certifications in high-angle rescue, wilderness survival, remote medical care, and advanced top-down mechanized ski guiding techniques.