Guide Bios

Zeb Blais, Blackbird Guides Lead

IFMGA Bergfuhrer Logo American Mountain Guides Association IFMGA International Certification Wilderness First Responder certification A3 American Avalanche Association

Zeb Blais

Qualifications
IFMGA / American Mountain Guide (AMGA)
AIARE Level 3 Avalanche
AIARE Course Leader
WFR (Wilderness First Responder)
A3 American Avalanche Association Pro 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. He 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 Squaw Valley 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

 

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! 

 

Ali Agee is an AMGA Assistant ski guide and apprentice alpine guide for Blackbird Mountain Guides in Truckee California

Wilderness First Responder certification A3 American Avalanche Association

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.

 

Wilderness First Responder certification A3 American Avalanche Association

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.

International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations IFMGA Certified Guide American Mountain Guides Associations IFMGA Certified Guide Wilderness First Responder certification A3 American Avalanche Association

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

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

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

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.

 

 

Will Sperry guide for Blackbird Mountain Guides

Wilderness First Responder certification A3 American Avalanche Association

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

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.