Black Ops Valdez
Ski, sled and shred in Valdez with Black Ops Valdez’ sled-skiing, heliskiing, or cat skiing trips!
Our 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” 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!
One 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 21 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 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 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 3 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.
Raised by parents who are guides, Nina heli-skied for the first time when she was five years old. She has been traveling to Valdez almost every season since then. By the time she was a teenager, she began working as an apprentice guide, building up her experience and skill. Nina holds a Wilderness First Responder and Level 2 Avalanche certification as well as Search and Rescue training. Based in Montana, she spends her free time skiing, rock climbing, ice climbing, horseback riding, and mountain biking.
Hunter came to Alaska to do maintenance for the Tsaina Lodge in 2012. After working the summer at the Valdez Fish Hatchery, he joined the BOV crew. Hunter came to AK to become a Big Game Hunting Guide. Hunter is the man who keeps everything going, from the fuel in the heli, to lodge and base ready to go each day. A position often overlooked, without him we could not operate.
Josh & Tabatha Swierk
Josh and his wife Tabatha are the owners of Black Ops Valdez and the Robe Lake Lodge. Josh and Tabatha came to Alaska from Maine in 2004, and has been here since. He 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. Last season Black Ops Valdez came full circle and added their own private helicopter for what originally brought he and Tabatha to Alaska in the first place…the best heli-skiing in the world! This season BOV will have 2 helicopters and be adding some new members to the team. Tabatha and Josh live full time in Valdez with their two daughters, Rachel Lee and Alana May.