Guide Bios

Zeb Blais, Blackbird Guides Lead

Zeb Blais

Zeb is an IFMGA / American Mountain Guide. He has traveled the globe, from Alaska to Antarctica, Hokkaido to the Himalaya, skiing, climbing and guiding in the great ranges of the world. Whether its soaring through the hills on skis, crimping rock or swinging tools on ice, Zeb loves moving in the mountains and working with people. He is fired up to work with you on your next adventure!

​Qualifications​
IFMGA / American Mountain Guide (AMGA)
AIARE Level 3 Avalanche
AIARE Course Leader
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)

​Notable Climbs and Ski Descents​
Mt Everest (8,848m), 2 summits via Northeast Ridge, 2016, 2017
Cho Oyu (8,201m), 1 summit and full ski descent via West Face, 2016
Lobuche East (6,171m, Nepal), 1 summit and ski descent, 2015
Denali (20,320', Alaska Range), 4 expeditions and 1 ski descent from summit
Aconcagua (6,995m, Andes), 3 expeditions
Pico de Orizaba & Ixtaccihuatl (Mexico), 3 expeditions each
Ishinca, Nevado Urus, Pisco Oeste (Cordillera Blanca, Peru), 1 expedition
Mt Whitney (14,505'), California Sierra Nevada. 5x via East Face, Mountaineers Route w/ ski descent
Mt Rainier (14,411') 100 summits and ski descents via 4 routes (Fuhrer Finger, Sickle, Success Glacier Couloir, DC)
Grand Teton (13,776') 5 summits via Upper Exum, PG, OS, Cathedral/North Ridge and ski descent via Ford Stettner
Mount Fuji (12,388') winter summit with ski descent
Multiple rock, ice climbs in WA, OR, CA, NV, WY and Canada

John Littleton

John's passion is teaching people about snow science and how to travel
safely in the mountains. As an American Institute of Avalanche Research
& Education (AIARE) Lead Instructor, John holds his AIARE Level 3
Certification and is a professional member of the American Avalanche
Association. Having called Lake Tahoe home for over fifteen years John
has been both a Professional Ski Patroller at Squaw Valley Ski Resort
and an Outdoor Educator teaching Experiential Education at Primary,
Secondary and College levels. John maintains both EMT and WFR
certifications.

Qualifications
AMGA Apprentice Ski Guide
AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide
AMGA SPI (Single Pitch Instructor)
AIARE Level 3 Avalanche
AIARE Course Leader
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)
EMT (Emergency Medical Technician)

 

Ryan Huetter

Ryan Huetter grew up near the coastal tidewaters of the Puget Sound in Washington State but has since traded moss and rain for the sunshine and splitter cracks of the Sierra Nevada. Since graduating from Western Washington University in 2006 with a Bachelor's degree in Outdoor Adventure Management, he has called the Sierra home. Ryan is an IFMGA mountain guide certified in the rock, ski and alpine climbing disciplines, and enjoys the unbelievable year-round skiing and climbing the Sierra is known for.  He has also climbed around the world, from Yosemite Valley, where he has climbed over 20 different big wall routes, to seven seasons in Patagonia, where he has made many major ascents, including Fitz Roy and first ascents of remote alpine walls. But year after year the Sierra Nevada remains Ryan's base and he loves introducing people to the Range of Light.

​Qualifications​
IFMGA / American Mountain Guide (AMGA)
AIARE Level 3 Avalanche 
AIARE Course Leader
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)

 

Sarah Newsome

Sarah began splitboarding after years of competing in half pipe, slope style, and border cross contests for her college Women’s Snowboard Team. In the more recent years Sarah spends most of her time on her splitboard in the backcountry. In the summer she is a blueberry farmer and a Lead Guide for Pocono Whitewater where she guides rafts while kayaking. In the fall she tries to travel. She has spent a time surfing the coast of Brazil, trekking in Nepal, kayaking the Mae Wong River in Thailand, and backpacking in Northern India. Sarah is a nationally certified remote EMT and a certified MPIC.
Sarah appreciates a good laugh, a good conversation, and good views. Her favorite part about being an avalanche educator is sharing the knowledge she has as well as learning from others. She is excited to be a part of an organization focused on building a community of strong, confident, educated women in the outdoors.

​Qualifications​
AMGA Apprentice Ski Guide
AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide
AIARE Level 3 Avalanche
AIARE Course Leader
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)
EMT (Emergency Medical Technician)

Mark Speicher

Mark grew up in the “mountains” of Pennsylvania where his passion for snowboarding became competitive. He competed in freestyle snowboarding throughout College and later Big Mountain events.  He has a B.S. in Environmental Science from Westminster College in Utah, which led to his interest in snow science. With the snowpack as his subject, there is always something exciting to do in the winter; from endless hours digging snow pits and tracking snow, to pushing his limits in the Sierra Nevada.   Mark was previously a coach, snowboard patroller, and has been guiding and instructing in the Tahoe area for the past five years. He has relevant snow experience in Utah, Montana, Washington, Oregon, California, Wyoming, and Colorado.

​Qualifications​
AMGA Apprentice Ski Guide
AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide
AIARE Level 3 Avalanche
AIARE Course Leader
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)
EMT (Emergency Medical Technician)

 Will Sperry guide for Blackbird Mountain Guides

Will Sperry

Will grew up in California making the fun pilgrimage to Tahoe snow whenever possible. After a few key climbing and splitboarding experiences, Will found that teaching and sharing moments in the mountains was his calling and a passion to be pursued.
Will has seen the transformative power of the mountains first hand and works to provide experiences to his guests that will challenge their comfort zone and their perception of possibility. Whether this comfort zone is going for a long hike, or spending 5 nights on the side of a mountain, the power of stepping out is undeniable and, in Will’s point of view, essential for a well lived life.
Whether you want to discuss the intricacies of vapor transfer in a snowpack or what goes into making the perfect turn happen, Will is your guy.

​Qualifications​
AMGA Apprentice Ski Guide
AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide
AIARE Pro 2 Avalanche
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)