Guide Bios

Zeb Blais, Blackbird Guides Lead

IFMGA Bergfuhrer / International Federation of Mountain Guides Association Certified Mountain Guide American Mountain Guides Association IFMGA International Certified Mountain Guide Wilderness First Responder Certification A3 American Avalanche Association Professional Member

Zeb Blais

Qualifications
IFMGA / American Mountain Guide (AMGA)
AIARE Level 3 Avalanche
AIARE Course Leader
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)
A3 American Avalanche Association Professional Member

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 gliding slopes on skis, crimping rock or swinging tools on ice, Zeb loves moving in the mountains and working with people. His favorite thing about guiding is building unique adventures for his clients and finding ways to explore the great mountains of the world.

​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

 

Wilderness First Responder Certification

John Littleton

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)


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 Palisades at Tahoe ski resort and an outdoor educator teaching experiential education at primary, secondary and college levels. John maintains both EMT and WFR certifications.

 

Jason Smith Guide Bio headshot

Wilderness First Responder Certification A3 American Avalanche Association Member

 Jason Smith

Qualifications
AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide
AMGA Apprentice Ski Guide 
AIARE Instructor 
AIARE Pro 1
WFR (Wilderness First Responder) 
A3 American Avalanche Association Member

Jason knows the Truckee backcountry as well as anyone.  He grew up skiing here and has enjoyed exploring the backcountry in Tahoe and beyond for years. Jason's passion for pursuits in the mountains and love of teaching fits his role at Blackbird Mountain Guides perfectly! 

 

Wilderness First Responder Certification A3 American Avalanche Association Member

Ali Agee

Qualifications
AMGA Assistant Ski Guide
AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide 
AIARE Instructor 
American Avalanche Institute Pro 2
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)
A3 American Avalanche Association Member

Growing up just outside Lake Tahoe in Reno, skiing has been keeping Ali motivated her whole life. As she grew older and gained more appreciation for moving through the mountains, whether it be on skis or via long alpine rock routes, the journey toward becoming a ski guide has only been a natural progression.

On this journey, she’s had the opportunity to ski and rock climb in multiple venues including the Sierra Nevada, Cascades, Tetons, Japan, Canada, and beyond.

Ali has experienced firsthand the transformative powers that guided trips can have on someone looking to break through comfort zone barriers. She is passionate about sharing similar soul-filling, life-changing experiences with others.

Ali is currently an AMGA Assistant Ski Guide, Apprentice Alpine Guide, Certified Single Pitch Instructor, AIARE Avalanche Instructor, Pro 2 Avalanche Professional, Wilderness First Responder, mountain biker, and type-two fun seeker living in Truckee, CA.

 

Brandon Seymore AMGA Certified Rock guide, certified alpine guide & assistant ski guide based in Washington
AMGA Certified Alpine Guide - American Mountain Guides AssociationAmerican Mountain Guides Association AMGA Certified Rock Guide Brandon Seymore Wilderness First Responder Certification 

Brandon Seymore

Qualifications
AMGA Certified Alpine Guide
AMGA Certified Rock Guide
AMGA Assistant Ski Guide
AIARE Pro 2
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)

Brandon grew up in the foothills of the ancient Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. It was here, amongst the heavily vegetated, glacier sculpted, granite peaks and craggy rivers that Brandon’s love for the outdoors was cast. Graduating from the State University of New York with a degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership and privileged enough to have attended an Outdoor Educators semester at the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander Wyoming, he was armed with the skills to begin his internship in alpinism.

Brandon has climbed and skied extensively in most of the major ranges in the contiguous United States with many technical climbs and ski descents in the North Cascades, Cascade Volcanoes, High Sierra, Tetons, Wasatch, Canadian and Colorado Rockies and desert Southwest bolstering his resume. Brandon is a lifelong alpinist with a strong belief that the mountains are cathedrals, in which one’s character can be clearly viewed and positively altered.

In mountain guiding, Brandon has made it his niche to develop the skills of other climbers and skiers. He is in his element working with his clients on long term progressions in which skills can be honed and lasting relationships founded.

When he is not out climbing or skiing, Brandon enjoys archery hunting, flyfishing and woodworking. Brandon works within his scope of practice through the training of the American Mountain Guides Association and the Wilderness Medical Institute.

 

Wilderness First Responder Certification A3 American Avalanche Association Member

Sam Rubin

Qualifications
AMGA  Apprentice Alpine Guide 
AIARE Instructor 
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)
A3 American Avalanche Association Pro Member

Spending years as a professional ski patroller and pushing hard in the mountains in Tahoe and the Eastern Sierra, Sammy loves sharing the mountains with climbers and skiers as a guide for Blackbird Mountain Guides. She is drawn to sharing climbing and splitboarding as a way to empower people to explore the beauty of our planet!  In the summer, Sammy loves the rock climbing the granite cliffs of Tahoe, the Eastern Sierra and Yosemite Valley. Beyond guiding and youth education, Sammy has a background in environmental sciences and chemistry.

Jan Czyzewski AIARE Avalanche Course Leader and AMGA Asst Ski Guide

Wilderness First Responder Certification A3 American Avalanche Association Member

Jan Czyzewski

Qualifications
AMGA Assistant Ski Guide
AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide 
AIARE Course Leader
AIARE Pro 2
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)
A3 American Avalanche Association Professional Member

Jan grew up in New Jersey and attended college in northern Vermont. After a few years of exploring the green mountains, out west was naturally the next step. Jan has lived in North Lake Tahoe for over a decade and has been working in the mountains since 2016. When not ski guiding at home, Jan can be found down in the eastern Sierra chasing blank spots on the map or up at Mount Shasta farming corn in the spring. 

IFMGA Bergfuhrer / International Federation of Mountain Guides Association Certified Mountain Guide American Mountain Guides Association IFMGA International Certified Mountain Guide Wilderness First Responder Certification A3 American Avalanche Association Professional Member

Ryan Huetter

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

A3 American Avalanche Association Pro Member


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.



 

Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician Certification A3 American Avalanche Association Professional Member

Sarah Newsome

Qualifications
AMGA Apprentice Ski Guide
AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide
AIARE Level 3 Avalanche
AIARE Course Leader
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)
EMT (Emergency Medical Technician)
A3 American Avalanche Association Pro Member

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.

 

Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician Certification A3 American Avalanche Association Professional Member

Mark Speicher

Qualifications
AMGA Apprentice Ski Guide
AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide
AIARE Level 3 Avalanche
AIARE Course Leader
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)
EMT (Emergency Medical Technician)
A3 American Avalanche Association Pro Member

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.

 

 Will Sperry guide for Blackbird Mountain Guides

Wilderness First Responder Certification A3 American Avalanche Association Member

Will Sperry

Qualifications
AMGA Apprentice Ski Guide
AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide
AIARE Pro 2 Avalanche
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)
A3 American Avalanche Association Member

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.

 

 

Andrew Allisandratos guide for Blackbird Mountain Guides

Wilderness First Responder Certification A3 American Avalanche Association Member

Andrew Alissandratos

Qualifications
AMGA Apprentice Ski Guide
AMGA Apprentice Rock Guide
AIARE Instructor 
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)
A3 American Avalanche Association Pro Member

Andrew was born and raised in the skiing and climbing Mecca of Florida.  When swamps and alligators grew tiresome, he decided to trade it all in for bottomless powder days and splitter cracks. After moving to Tahoe a decade ago, he dove head first into splitboarding and rock climbing and continues to look for bigger lines and harder climbs while exploring the ranges across the Americas.

Despite his ramblings, he always finds his way home to the Sierra Nevada where he spends most of his time. The mountains are where Andrew feels most himself and he loves sharing the climbing and skiing experiences with his clients as much as he does moving in the mountains himself.  Sharing the knowledge he has gained in the mountains over the years is truly his passion.

 

Jason Champion AMGA American Mountain Guides Associations Certified Ski Guide

American Mountain Guides Association AMGA Certified Ski GuideWilderness First Responder Certification A3 American Avalanche Association Professional Member

Jason Champion

Qualifications
AMGA Certified Ski Guide
AMGA Apprentice Rock Guide
AIARE Course Leader
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)
A3 American Avalanche Association Pro Member

Snowboarding for 30 years Jason Champion first took to backcountry snowboarding in the late 1990’s. In 2000, along with his first summit on Mt. Shasta, he started focusing more on snowboard mountaineering. Around the same time he started Splitboarding and currently operates a guide service
called Sierra Nevada Splitboarding specializing in Expedition style “tour camps”
Jason has been professionally guiding for 14 years in the Chugach of Alaska, the Cascade volcanos of the Pacific Northwest and the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.

He is a certified A.M.G.A. Splitboard Guide, American Avalanche Institute Level III, Wilderness First Responder and a certified Mechanized Ski Guide. With his infectious attitude in the Alpine, Jason is defined by his experience. He’s enthusiastic about sharing the technique of mountaineering in “good style” that contributes to successful objectives in the mountains. He is constantly furthering his education in the field of guiding as well as teaching more Avalanche safety courses. 

Jason has worked for many guiding operations including Alaska Snowboard Guides, Shasta Mountain Guides, Alpine Skills International, and Splitboard Guides International. He has also built and managed remote tour camps both in Alaska and California and has experience with snowboard media production.

 

Bob Newcomb AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide and AMGA Apprentice Ski Guide

Wilderness First Responder Certification 

Bob Newcomb

Qualifications
AMGA Apprentice Ski Guide
AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)

Bob Newcomb enjoys skiing across the American west and particularly in the Sierra Nevada, but also enjoys more distant travel. He had tagged ski descents in Alaska, Canada, Russian, Japan, and the European Alps, as well as alpine climbs on the volcanos of Ecuador. In the off season, he enjoys whitewater rafting and kayaking, and has made several descents down the Grand Canyon, and even guided the White Nile River in Uganda.

Bobs favorite ski descents and climbs include:
Cosmiques Couloir, Chamonix France
Mountaineers Route, Mt. Whitney California
Dragontail Couloir, Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado 
North Couloir, McGown Peak Idaho
Fuhrer Finger, Mt. Rainier Washington
Southwest Couloir, Middle Teton GTNP
Summit of Cotopaxi, Ecuador

 

 

Eric Lee O'Brien Blackbird Mountain Guides Bio Photo

Eric Lee O'Brien

Eric is…not a ski guide. But he is a startup founder specializing in customer experience, marketing, and operations, a recovering attorney, a freeride ski athlete with extensive backcountry experience, and a member of the International Freeskiing Association (IFSA) board.

With deep connections in the ski industry, Eric is an athlete and media project producer for international resorts like Revelstoke, Palisades at Tahoe, Lake Louise, and Mt Baker to name a few, and is also an ambassador for ski brands including 4FRNT, TREW, Hestra, and POC.