JOSEPH SHULTS — PROGRAM DIRECTOR, GUIDE
Joe has been a professional ski patroller, snow saftey director and guide for over 30 years. He started his outdoor career as a ski patroller in Washington state and moved to Telluride in 1990. Joe has climbed and skied on 5 continents, descended rivers throughout North America and dabbled in ultra-distance mountain bike and running races. He currently stays fit by chasing his 9 year old daughter around the San Juan Mountains and surfing whenever he can.
BRIAN MILLER — SENIOR GUIDE / CO-FOUNDER
Speed moved from Minnesota to Telluride in 1976. His easy-going demeanor soon led to the nickname “Speed.” In 1982, he and three backcountry ski partners created Telluride Helitrax. Since that time, Speed has been involved in all aspects of the organization. He is an avid backcountry skier and consummate avalanche forecaster of the tricky San Juan snowpack. In his spare time, he swears at his computer (a.k.a. “the confusor”) and plays a repertoire of Rolling Stones songs on his guitar.
BILL ALLEN — GUIDE
Bill has over fifteen years of experience leading mountaineering trips throughout the world, including Antarctica, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, South America and over twenty expeditions to Alaska. Prior to working at Helitrax, he spent ten years combined as a snow safety team member for the Park City and Silverton Mountain ski patrols. In addition to guiding the earth’s largest mountains, Bill periodically works as a heli-ski guide with Chugach Powder Guides in Girdwood, Alaska. He is the co-owner of Mountain Trip International and lives in Ophir’s famous “Cabin 3” with his wife Sonja.
ANGELA HAWSE — GUIDE / SNOW SAFETY
Angela has worked full-time as a professional guide for over 25 years. She has an M.A. in International Mountain Conservation and was the 6th woman in the U.S. to become a fully licensed IFMGA Mountain Guide through the American Mountain Guides Association. Her endeavors have taken her from ski traverses of Lapland, to first descents ski mountaineering on the Antarctica Peninsular, to the South Summit of Mt. Everest at 28,875ft. She has guided over 20 high altitude expeditions, including 5 on Denali and 3 of the other coveted “7 Summits”. She’s spent her life exploring, climbing and skiing throughout the U.S., Alaska, Canada, the Andes, Patagonia, Karakoram and Himalaya. Angela also works as an Instructor and Examiner for the AMGA guides training program and a Senior Guide for Exum Mountain Guides. She has pursued the highest level of avalanche education available and is certified both with AIARE Level 3 and the Canadian Avalanche Association Level 2 programs. Her passion for the mountains is contagious and there is nothing she enjoys more than sharing that with others.
MATT STEEN — GUIDE / SNOW SAFETY
Matt has been working in the outdoor industry since the mid 90’s. After earning a degree in outdoor leadership with instructional emphasis he instructed Outward Bound trips throughout Colorado, Wyoming and California. He began ski patrolling in Crested Butte, then moved to Telluride in 2001. As a ski patroller and snow safety supervisor in Telluride, he helped the ski area expand into new and uncharted terrain. He finished his patrolling career with an avalanche and feasibility study mapping Bear Creek, a backcountry playground adjacent to the ski area. From 2011-13 he was the North and South San Juan’s backcountry avalanche forecaster for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. In the summer, Matt gets to run through sprinklers as the owner of Telluride Irrigation and San Juan Backflow Services.
MARK RIKKERS — GUIDE
Mark grew up skiing and then spent winters in Alta and Crested Butte before going to college. He received his MS in snowmelt hydrology from CU-Boulder, where he was a research assistant at the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research. Before joining Helitrax, Mark was an avalanche forecaster for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center for seven years. He completed his MBA at Thunderbird in 2011 and is currently Executive Director at the dZi Foundation, a Colorado based not-for-profit that partners with remote, underserved Himalayan communities to build civic infrastructure and increase local prosperity. Mark lives in Ophir with his wife, Corinne, and daughter, Sonja. He speaks German and Spanish, and is trying to learn Nepali.
SONJA NELSON — GUIDE
Sonja moved from Maine to Colorado in pursuit of good skiing-she never left. She has been a ski professional for the past decade: ski patrolling at the Telluride Ski Resort, ski guiding at Silverton Mountain and exploring the mountains of her Ophir home. Sonja spends the summer in Alaska working as a biologist on salmon fish studies and guiding whitewater raft and sea kayak trips. She also manages personal fishing trips from her tiny boat Gabriella. Sonja has traveled the world to climb and ski and recently skied off the summit of Denali on an all girls “goofing off for fun” trip.
DREW LUDWIG – GUIDE
Drew has been working as a professional mountain guide for the past ten years and with Helitrax for the past four. When not ski guiding or teaching avalanche education in Telluride, Drew works for Mountain Trip as a guide to the Seven Summits. He has spent the past nine seasons in Alaska leading remote routes up Mount McKinley and has also guided climbing trips to Antarcticaʼs Vinson Massif and South Americaʼs Aconcagua. Drew works as a photographer, artist and activist during the remainder of the year and occasionally finds time to train for an endurance ski or running race with his dog Ruth. His love for the mountains is infectious and he delights in sharing this with anyone stoked to hop in the helicopter or head out for a tour.