Many of our guides have been with us for 10+ years. Come meet our family!


We love our jobs, and want to show you how great our mountains are


Your safety and enjoyment are at the heart of our guiding culture

Our backcountry guides love their jobs, who wouldn’t? Not only do we ski and ride powder for a living, but on a daily basis we get to see the smile on your faces while helping to satisfy a passion for getting deep in the fresh powder of the Steamboat backcountry.

You will find that we are skilled, professional and friendly leaders. Our goals are to provide the safest tour while allowing for a fun filled experience. Our guides have a minimum of Wilderness First Responder and Level I snow safety training. Several of our staff are advanced snow safety professionals and instructors with AIARE – The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education.

Your guides are also: parents, loyal Steamboat Springs residents, carpenters, comedians, fisherman, raft guides, EMT’s, politicians, real estate agents, mountain bike racers, landscapers, excavators, long distance hikers, entrepreneurs, writers, dedicated ski bums, surfers, film makers, small business owners, surveyors, vagabonding travelers, professors, photo journalists and farmers.

Most of our guides have been with Steamboat Powdercats for many years and we have become close friends united in what is Steamboat Powdercats.

Have fun browsing through our current guide list and feel free to request a guide during your next Steamboat Powdercat trip.

Eric Deering

Director of Operations

Started working at SPC in 2001
From California, loves all things snow
Raising his daughter and son with Caroline, his gorgeous wife
Favorite snowcat run is Skeeters


Kent Vertrees

Master of Chaos

Started working at SPC in 2000
From Ohio, loves rivers more than snow, believe it or not.
Raising two amazing daughters with Jules, his hot wife.
Roxy is Kent’s golden retriver who haunts the office on most days.


Todd Dills


Started working at SPC in 2003
From Missoui, loves turning the ski slopes and mountains into his playground
Enjoys spending quality time with his wife Sarah and dogs
He studied Resort Management at Fort Lewis College in Durango


Rex Schiesser

Road Builder Extraordinaire & Maintenance Team

Started working at SPC in 1998
From Glenwood Springs CO

Owner of All Haul Tucking and Excavation


Mike Rakowski

The Godfather of Snowcat Skiing Guides

Started working at SPC in 1989
Moved to Steamboat Springs in 1979
Married to Sarah and owns a sailboat in the Keys
Knows every inch of Buffalo Pass


Pete Scully

Backcountry Ski Guide

When I started ski patrolling at the age of 15, I never thought it would take me to such an amazing job.

I started working at Steamboat Powdercats in 2000 and somehow have held on to the job thus far. Even though my parents are horrified, being a ski bum is perfect for me. Four months of snow just isn’t enough.

I’ve been a raft guide in the summer since 1999 and with that I get to enjoy the snow, as melted goods one more time, when the waves lap up into my face, reminding me of the face shots I got during the winter with you.

Buffalo Pass is a magical place to ski and I work with a great group of guides.


Rob Bannister

Backcountry Ski Guide

Rob has been guiding with us since 2002, and he couldn’t imagine a better job. He has an AAIRE avalanche cert II, and was a PSIA cert II instructor at steamboat for six years.

Originally from Connecticut, he grew up skiing in Vermont, and studied at UVM and Grenoble France. His love of the mountains and skiing was cemented, and he made his way to Steamboat for a winter after graduating. After a year and a half of travels and a stint in Maui, he finally succumbed to the Yampa Valley curse, and has made Steamboat his home since 1996.

In the offseason, Rob is a land surveyor (Landmark Consultants Inc.) and enjoys mountain biking, kayaking, backpacking and camping with his family.

In 2009, Rob married his long time honey, Candice, who is the director of our local history museum, the Tread of Pioneers Museum. You are invited to come visit! Rob and Candice spent their honeymoon trekking in Nepal (high manaslu) with his sister who’s company specializes in off the beaten path treks in the Himalaya (check out her website at

March 26, 2011 goes down as the greatest day of Rob’s life, when his daughter Leah Juel was born a healthy 7lbs 15oz., and 29 inches long! Powder skiing has been bumped down to second place as his favorite activity, and hanging with Leah #1.

Luc Strickland

Backcountry Ski Guide

Luc Strickland grew up in Alpharetta, Georgia and was hooked on skiing out West during his first trip to Colorado when he was 13.

He followed this passion by going to school at the University of Wyoming and found Steamboat Springs while skiing with buddies. The Yampa Valley became a scapegoat from the high windy plains of Laramie and he decided to call Steamboat Springs home in 2007.

He has been a river guide in Colorado and in the Southeast since 2005 making the Yampa, Colorado and Chattooga Rivers his playground. After some summers in the Pacific Northwest, Luc has moved full time back to Colorado where he is a Colorado River Ranger in the off season.

His first season with Steamboat Powdercats was the 2009.10 season and he is looking forward to a long and infamous career by guiding and skiing the fresh powder fields on Buffalo Pass.

Kyle Pietras

Backcountry Ski Guide

Kyle became a guide here at Steamboat Powdercats in the fall of 2010. He would like everyone to know that he thanks his wife and the Steamboat Powdercats crew for upgrading his powder hound status to one of “guide”.

From his Western Mass home base, Kyle hot dogged bump runs all over New England since the mid 1970’s when he first learned to ski.

After finally getting a clue, Kyle found himself moving to Steamboat Springs, choking on the powder rich season of 1995/96. Then his powder addiction was born.

Though Kyle’s favorite is powder skiing, his alternative hobbies include crazy passion for mountain biking and cycling with his two daughters Ella and Norah…also with his hottie wife, Christine, and dog, Poncho.

Can we ski now?

Nick Kuchulis

Backcountry Ski Guide

Originally born in Colorado Nick was ripped out of his natural mountain environment and was forced to grow up in the Pacific Northwest rainforest. After graduating from the University of Oregon, Nick moved back to Colorado (2007) and discovered champagne powder and has been hooked ever since.

From 2008-11, Nick has spent his winters working as a certified ski and snowboard instructor. He spent two summers of raft guiding leading trips all over northwest Colorado. He spent two long summers (2010 & 2011) working as a fisherman in Alaska.

Nick spent time working all over western US as a mountain bike guide with Western Spirit and as of 2015 Nick balances his Powdercats guiding with Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue as a fire fighter EMT.

Landing the guide job with Steamboat Powdercats in 2011/12 was a dream come true for Nick because not only is it his dream job, but now he finally gets to put his degree in psychology to good use.

Britni Johnson

Backcountry Ski Guide

Britni joined Steamboat Powdercats during the winter of 2012/13, and is a native of the Chicago-area flat lands, where she grew up frolicking in cornfields and dreaming of becoming the next Mia Hamm. After her childhood soccer glory days came to pass, it was on to Big Ten athletics, where she walked-on to the Michigan State University Varsity Women’s Rowing team during her freshman year of college. Four years later and ever eager for the next adventure, Britni packed her bags and headed west to Colorado.

As is the case with most Yampa Valley transplants, she quickly fell in love with the Rocky Mountains and the subsequent lifestyle they afford. Skiing, rock-climbing, mountain biking, and high-alpine escapades soon became her new passions, while various seasonal employment stints outlined her financial ticket to living the mountain town dream.

In 2016, her pursuit and long-standing dream of farming in the Yampa Valley finally became reality when she accepted the job as “Farm Manager” for Cloverdale Farm and Restaurant – a 1-acre diversified vegetable farm that grows produce and raises animals as part of a farm-to-restaurant model, the first of its kind in the area.

When not guiding or farming, holistic wellness and nutrition, rural living, cooking, outdoor adventuring and rhythmic gymnastics round-out some of her many other interests. Yet, once the snow begins to fly, she looks forward to the opportunity to share the joys of powder skiing with locals and tourists alike, while working alongside some of Steamboat’s most notable “professional ski bums.”

Steamboat Powdercats Brynn Gotchey

Brynn Gotchey

Backcountry Ski Guide

Brynn is a true Steamboat local, moving from Florida to Steamboat Springs at the ripe old age of 4. She was instantly cursed by the Yampa Valley as the mountains, rivers and outdoor world of Northwest Colorado quickly took over her soul.

The Ute Indians who originally inhabited the valley proclaimed that “If you live in the Steamboat Springs area and leave, you will forever want to return and will not find the same level of happiness in any other place.” For Brynn however, it was a no brainer. It’s Ski Town USA and being the being a lifelong ski bum that she is, Steamboat Springs will forever be home.

As you do though, after graduating from Steamboat High, Brynn spent a few seasons working as a whitewater rafting guide on the Green, Colorado, and Yampa Rivers and she spent 5 winters working in Park City, Utah as a ski patroller and avalanche safety technician.

Now back in Steamboat Springs for good, Brynn says “I couldn’t be more excited to be home working for the best company around, learning from a great group of guides and in the best town in the world. Cheers to the Champagne Powder and the Yampa Valley Curse! See you on the snow.”

Phil Howard

Head of Maintenance – Backcountry Ski Guide

Phil started working with Steamboat Powdercats during the 2015/16 season.  His main role with us is in the operations department as a Mr. Fix Anything type of guy.  Our cats require a bunch of maintenance during the Fall and throughout the season and Phil is there to help us put out any problems the cats and other machines may see.

Also, as all of us do here, Phil will be guiding as well because you just can’t work here and not get to get out on the snow.

Phil comes to us from Durango, Colorado where he works as a daily operations manager during the non-winter months with Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep tours.  He has spent a couple winters in Crested Butte ski bumming and loves everything outdoors.

As a graduate from Ft. Lewis College in the department of Environmental Studies, Phil’s background in the outdoors fits perfectly into the crew here at Steamboat Powdercats.

Our 3 heated cats allow us to group our guests by skiing ability so everyone is at their comfortable level. Our terrain, located on Buffalo Pass Colorado, is conveniently located just 25-min from downtown Steamboat Springs, so we are typically on snow by 9:15 am. We look to match terrain to your ability level and that of the group so it’s very important to figure out what snowcat you should be on.

Buffalo Pass, our point of operations, annually records some of the deepest snow depths in Colorado. In May of 2011, Buffalo Pass actually had the deepest snowpack levels ever recorded in Colorado’s history. The cold, dry and stormy weather in Steamboat Springs makes for localized orographic uplifting conditions that provide us with, at time, extraordinary snow quantity and quality.