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MEET OUR GUIDES

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Best In Class

Sun Valley Guides’ staff is one of the best in the industry. We have five full time guides who are certified by the American Mountain Guides Association – AMGA - including our owner and operator. Additionally, all guides are required to be certified Wilderness First Responders, are licensed by the Idaho Outfitter and Guide Board, and have extensive avalanche forecasting and rescue training. Sharing the joy of the backcountry while caring for the comfort and safety of our guests is our mission. Find out more about the IOGLB and AMGA licensing credentials of our guides here.

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ZACH CRIST
OWNER

Sun Valley has long been known for its lineage of great skiers.  Zach Crist was born into a family of passionate skiers, growing up in the mountains of Idaho. At 18 he was named to the US Ski Team and soon climbed the ranks to the Alpine World Cup Circuit where he competed for 7 seasons.  He later became one of the pioneers of ski cross, winning X Games gold, silver and bronze medals.  Beyond competitive pursuits, Zach has been exploring the world as a backcountry skier and an AMGA certified ski guide. His adventures regularly appeared in magazines, ski films and TV shows featuring first descents in the Himalayas, New Zealand, Greenland, Alaska and at home in Idaho. In 2018, Zach became the owner and operator of Sun Valley Guides, one of Idaho’s oldest outfitters.  Established in 1982, the company leads skiing, biking and hiking trips in the local backcountry and to far off destinations for adventure travel.  Off the career path, Zach is a proud husband and father of 4, forever living in Sun Valley, Idaho.

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KELLY CAVANAUGH
OPERATIONS MANAGER

From exploring and tracking wildlife in the High Arctic to managing guest relations for avalanche technology and heli-ski companies, Kelly loves bringing her passion for exploration and adventure to the Sun Valley Guide team as the Ops Manager. Kelly’s certifications include:: NOLS WMI Wilderness First Responder, Adult/Child CPR, AED & Airway Management, Epinephrine Auto-Injector, Wilderness First Aid, American Avalanche Institute Level 1, Concealed Firearms Permit, and she is a lifelong motorcycle rider.

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CHRIS MARSHALL

Chris Marshall fell in love with skiing during his sojourns to the icy forested slopes of New England’s mountains. Fortunately, his love for mountains and powder skiing drew him out West. Chris is a Certified AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA), the highest credential for mountain guiding in the world. He has guided and instructed in the lower 48, Alaska, Canada, the Alps, and Antarctica and is psyched to continue worldly mountain pursuits. He holds a professional level 3 avalanche certification from the American Avalanche Institute and is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association.

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MIKE HATTRUP

Mike, one of the first Americans to become a certified AMGA Ski Mountaineering Guide, currently guides trips in Sun Valley, Norway, the European Alps, Canada and Washington’s Cascades. Hattrup spent over 20 years working for K2 as the Global Backside Director and is now the Backcountry Specialist for Fischer Skis. Prior to his guiding career, Hattrup was a mogul specialist for the 1988 US Freestyle Ski Team, and starred in over a dozen ski films including the classic, Blizzard of Aahhh’s. His travels in search of fresh tracks have taken him to all of the alpine countries of Central Europe, as well as Turkey, Norway, Bolivia, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Greenland, and Canada.

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GERRY MOFFAT

A Scottish native, Gerry Moffatt is an internationally-acclaimed expedition leader and has spent 35 years guiding in the Himalayas and around the world. He is the first person to descend all the major rivers in Nepal and Bhutan and National Geographic considers Gerry to be the “most experienced river guide in the Himalayas.” His skiing exploits have taken him from his home in Sun Valley, Idaho to South America, Greenland, Alaska, Europe and above 20,000 ft in the Himalayas. As a professional cameraman, Gerry has summited Everest twice from the North and South Cols. Gerry was recently appointed Nepal’s first International Goodwill Ambassador for Adventure Travel & Tourism.

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JESS SIMON

Jess grew up in Vermont and was introduced to the world of sliding on snow at a young age. He graduated from Johnson State College and was heavily influenced by two professors from the Outdoor Education and Leadership department. Deciding to give up on a more traditional career in an office, Jess chose the mountains. When Jess isn’t working he spends his time climbing, skiing and mountain biking.

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PATRICK MCCORMICK

Pat McCormick began his guiding career in 2006 on the Wild Rivers of Idaho while pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering. Since then he has worked as a Ski Guide, Patroller, Avalanche Educator and Forecaster in several unique mountain ranges. Pat and his girlfriend Suzanne now live and play in Hailey with their dogs Ruby & Osa. In the off-season Pat runs a custom home-building company and coaches the local high school mountain bike team. Although he enjoys the summer and loves any time spent on water, Pat spends most of his time pursuing steep boot packs and deep turns in the mountains surrounding his home in Hailey, ID. Pat is a Professional Member of the AAA, a National Avalanche School graduate, Licensed EMT, and an IOGLB Level II Ski guide.

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Jon Preuss

“JP” has been guiding in the Sawtooth National Forest since 2010 and continually sets out to explore its vast mountain ranges. He strives to deliver the best overall experience of powder, great views, laughs, challenge, education, and personal growth for those he spends time with in the mountains. JP is a certified Ski Guide through the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA), and is continuing his education to become an IFMGA guide. JP is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association (AAA) and received a Level 3: Advanced Avalanche Training for Professionals by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). He also volunteers his time with the Blaine County Search & Rescue, helping people find their way back from the mountains.

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Joe St Onge

Joe earned a BA in Outdoor Education from Prescott College in 1994. Since then, his talent and ambition as an educator and mountain guide have taken him to many of the world’s great mountain ranges. Joe is a certified Ski Mountaineering Guide with the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA), holds a professional Level 3 Avalanche certification with AIARE and is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association (AAA).

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Niels Meyer

Niels Meyer was raised in Chicago and at a young age found his love for the mountains in the Wind River Range of Wyoming. With a need to explore new places, he lived and worked all across and the U.S. and France. He graduated from Prescott College in 2013 with a degree in Environmental Studies and Adventure Education and went on to work as a ski guide for Sun Valley Trekking in Idaho. Niels spent three summers guiding rock and alpine climbs for Mountain Madness in the North Cascades but now lives full time in Ketchum, Idaho. When he is not guiding or playing in the mountains, Niels works as a firefighter and carpenter. Niels has his Avalanche level 3 and Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician certifications. He is pursuing AMGA Ski and Alpine certifications.

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FRANCIE ST. ONGE

Francie has been guiding wilderness expeditions throughout the Inter-Mountain West and Alaska since the mid-90’s. She co-founded a winter environmental education program in Crested Butte, Colorado, and worked as a naturalist in Denali National Park. Francie completed an MS degree in Recreation Resources-Environmental Education at Utah State University. In 2009 Francie started the first Wolf-Ecology program based in Sun Valley.