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Our Family 2017-12-15T22:25:31+00:00

FAMILY

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

PASSION

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

SAFETY

Our guides and gear are all up to date to make sure you stay safe in the backcountry

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

Eric has been leading people in the outdoors for more than 20 years now. He began his career as a mountaineering instructor for the Wilderness Education Association and Outward Bound. From there he developed and lead Backcountry ski, and mountaineering programs for Colorado Mountain College. There he met the woman of his dreams, and ran off to Scandinavia. He, and his now-wife Caroline, spend much of their summers in Sweden with their two children Freja and Matteus.

When he’s not skiing the fluffy stuff, Eric is out digging in it. As a confirmed “snow-geek”, Eric leads avalanche courses for the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education.

Eric is also President of CatSki US, a professional organization dedicated to making the US Cat Ski industry the best that it can be.

As the Director of Powdercats, Eric is fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the best crew in the industry.

Aside from the beautiful terrain and epic snow that make steamboat famous, it’s the people of SPC that keep our guests coming back year after year. Whether it’s “cold smoke” all day, or spring corn, we always have a good day. Hope to see you soon!

Kent Vertrees

Master of Chaos

After graduating from The Ohio State University (“OH”) with a degree in Fisheries Management, Kent decided to follow his passion for “living the good life” and became a guiding vagabond. Using Steamboat Springs as his home base, Kent spent several years pursuing his whitewater rafting, fly-fishing, snowmobiling and powdercat guiding dreams.

Kent now has shifted his focus from guiding on a full time basis, to working as Steamboat Powdercats “Master of Chaos”, where he oversees reservations, marketing, public relations, the website and lots of chaotic goodies for the company. His favorite job is working as the photographer during your trip, telling the story through imagery during the day.

Kent has been a leading advocate for recreational water rights, doing his best to preserve and protect local and regional rivers. He is also an adjunct professor at the Alpine Campus for Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs teaching river and canyon orientation courses along with a business class called, believe it or not, The Business of Ski Guiding.

Kent has 2 little girls, Josephine and Sophie, who are destined to become deep powder hounds and river rats. His wife Jules is a super hot, working mom who works in international sales and marketing.  She is way hot by the way!

Roxy, the Golden Retriever office dog, who you’ll probably meet when you come to Steamboat Powdercats is Kent’s dog – WOOF WOOF.

Kent’s most defining moment: “Climbing those last few steps toward Baxter Peak on Mount Katahdin to conclude my 2,100 mile, Appalachian Trail “thru-hike” in 1992 (trail name “Wasitu”).

Todd Dills

Adminstrator/Guide

Todd has been an outdoor professional for 14 years, since arriving in Steamboat Springs in 1997. He studied Resort Management at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO and has been with Steamboat Powdercats since 2003.

Todd has guided and instructed raft, kayak, mountain bike and ski trips throughout Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.  Before and after the ski season he teaches future river guides at Colorado Mountain College here in Steamboat.  Todd is an Outdoor Emergency Care Technician, and has extensive avalanche, snow cat operation, and hazard assessment training.

In the summer, Todd enjoys turning the ski slopes and mountains into a bicycle playground with his wife Sarah, and their good friends and family.

Rex Schiesser

Head of Maintenance Operations/Guide

Rex is now on his second stint here at SPC, coming out of retirement in 2010. As our head of maintenance operations, Rex is the man we call onto to keep the motor running, fix our machines and build or maintain the road system we use on Buffalo Pass.

Early season, Rex spends days wrenching on our cats in preparation for the lengthy season. Once the snow falls, his invaluable work preparing our road system is an integral part of the SPC experience.

Previously, Rex worked with us from 1998 to 2006 and helped pioneer many of our snow roads and guiding systems.

f you see Rex in the office or on the snow please give him a high five and thanks for all the work he does here at SPC.

During the summer months Rex owns All Haul Tucking and Excavation (970-846-8789) and spends most of the time on the back end of a shovel or in the cockpit of a track hoe.

Mike Rakowski

Backcountry Ski Guide

RI started skiing in 1972 at a small ski area in Illinois called Majestic Hills. In 1974 I became a Junior National Ski Patrol member and then moved to Steamboat in 1979, so to fulfill my life passion for ski bumming, which I’ve made a career out of.

In 1989 I got a job at Powdercats and as of today I still love this job and the family of guides and guests.

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.

GO PACKERS!

Kevin Owens

Backcountry Ski Guide

Hello, my name is Kevin. I am made from the finest ingredients the East coast has to offer. I contain no GMO’s, and I am dolphin safe. I’ve only gotten a couple snowcats stuck since 2000 when I started working at Steamboat Powdercats and I am never late for lunch. A man’s gotta eat right?

I ski powder every day at work. Every run. Every turn. If you follow me then the same will happen to you.

My goal is simple: To laugh, to roam, to share, to dare, to breathe deeply, to awe, to question, to discover, to bond, to exhaust, to never forget and to return safe and satiated.

I have proudly served over 7000 guests and have worked on Buffalo Pass over 1,000 times in my career as a ski guide. I can’t wait to meet and ski with you in the future and build upon the amazing memories, relationships and experiences I’ve had with Steamboat Powdercats.

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 kamzang.com).

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.

Patrick Meyer Steamboat Powdercats

Patrick Meyer

Backcountry Ski Guide

Patrick was born and raised in Northern Ohio, one of four children and grew up snowboarding the ice fields of Michigan. After spending 12 long years in catholic school, where he wore a sport coat and tie to school everyday, Patrick split to Ohio University and the liberal confines of Athens, Ohio.

During his schooling at O. U., Patrick completed the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Semester in the Rockies during the Fall of 2001. After graduating university in 2004 with a BBA in General Business and Environmental Studies, Patrick moved to Steamboat Springs for a “season or two”.

Like any good local, his path in Steamboat Springs has been full of various jobs including the fine role as sales tech at Ski Haus, a stint roof shoveling (not a good job if you like to ski), property management, and guiding rock and ice climbing. Patrick used to run climbing programs at the prestigious Steamboat Mountain School.

An past member of the Routt Country Search and Rescue, Patrick is also AAIRE Level Two avalanche certified and an individual member of the American Mountain Guide Association.

His passion for rock and ice has captured his interests so much that Patrick purchased Rocky Mountain Ventures, Steamboat Springs’ local climbing guide service operation in the Spring of 2008.

Patrick joined the Steamboat Powdercats team during the 2008/09 season and he is encouraged to continue his guiding career at the most professional level.

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.

Matt Weingartner

Backcountry Ski Guide

Matt grew up north of Boston and started skiing when he was 3 years old. In high school he joined the junior ski patrol at Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire. After a year in South America he got his first taste of guiding working for a mountaineering company in Pucon, Chile this experience fueled his decision to transfer from Hobart and William Smith College to Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia where he graduated from the Adventure Guide program. For the last few seasons Matt has spent his winters working for Mustang Powder and Powder Cowboy cat skiing up in B.C.

In the summer Matt works with Ocean Works Group on the R/V Stellwagen. As a licensed 100 ton captain work takes him from the Bahamas to Northern Maine doing marine mammal research and autonomous vehicle vessel support. Last Summer Matt worked as the tag boat captain with an international team on the NATO research vessel Alliance in the Mediterranean Sea tagging beaked whales in an effort to study the effects of sonar on whales.

When Matt’s not working you’ll find him with his girl Hollis sailing around New England or playing in the snow in Steamboat.

“It’s my first season in town (2009.10) and I’m stoked to be here – I’ll see you on the snow.”

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.”

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.”

Ben Saheb

Photo and Video Wizard

Born in Colorado, Ben has been playing in the mountains since he was a kid. Today, Ben has found fusion between his passion for the outdoors and his passion for photography and filmmaking.

In the Fall of 2014, Ben strapped on the skis to work as a photographer and filmmaker for Steamboat Powdercats.
During the summer season, Ben works on a river raft as a photographer and filmmaker for a water awareness organization called Rig to Flip.

Whether being on skis in the winter or on a raft in the summer, Ben is beyond blessed to be able to make a career documenting the unique stories around one of the most incredible watersheds in the world.

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.

Eric Haskell

Backcountry Ski Guide

Eric lives to share raw, wild experiences with others. He is a powder hound who has been guiding in the mountains since 2007 and joined the Steamboat Powdercats team in December 2016.

The feather-light snow of the Rockies cast a spell on Eric from an early age. Born and raised in Colorado, he grew up skiing. From there he continually migrated north. In Montana, he studied Philosophy, in Washington he started guiding on Mt. Rainier, and in Alaska he taught mountaineering in the Chugach. Despite his adventurous spirit, Colorado has always been home.

Throughout the winter Eric guides with Powdercats and teaches avalanche courses for the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education. In the spring he transitions to guiding ski-mountaineering. His summers are spent taking clients up rock faces.

Eric is an AMGA assistant ski, rock and alpine guide and a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician.

Stephen Bass

Backcountry Ski Guide

Stephen Bass joined us in 2018.

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.