Victor McNeil

Owner, IFMGA/AMGA Mountain Guide

Victor grew up in Western Oregon and after completing his degree at Southern Oregon University began working as a professional mountain guide in 2008. As part of this experience he has guided, skied and climbed around the world, including in Peru, Chile, and Japan. During the summer he currently works for Alpine Ascents International, guiding and leading courses on Denali, Rainier, the North Cascades and internationally in Peru. As part of this work he also teaches mountaineering courses and instructs guide training across the American West.

Since 2017 Victor has served as the Executive Director and Lead Forecaster for the Wallowa Avalanche Center in Eastern Oregon. There he runs and operates the center, organizing, fundraising and helping facilitate and lead AIARE Avalanche Courses.

Among his certifications, Victor is a fully certified IFMGA/American Mountain Guide through the AMGA, is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association, and is an AIARE Course Leader.

La Grande, Oregon is home for Victor and his wife Kelly, along with their two Golden Retrievers, Luna and Sadie.

  • Certifications

    AMGA Mountain Guide
    Level 3 Avalanche
    Wilderness First Responder
    CPR
    AIARE Instructor

Kelly McNeil

Owner-Guide

Kelly grew up in Eastern Wyoming where she started exploring the mountains at an early age. After receiving her PhD from Oregon State University in 2009 she began a career as a professor at Eastern Oregon University, where much of her work focuses on public health and research in outdoor physical activities including the study of behavior in outdoor environments. She has traveled around the world skiing, climbing, hiking and exploring, including to Peru, Mexico and Bhutan.

Since 2017 Kelly has helped organize and run operations at the Wallowa Avalanche Center, including teaching avalanche courses for both motorized and non-motorized users and serves as a Pro Avalanche Observer and Avalanche Forecaster.

  • Certifications

    AIARE Pro 2
    AIARE Avalanche Instructor
    Wilderness First Responder
    CPR

Caleb Merrill

Guide

Caleb Merrill grew up on the coast of Maine, eventually venturing west in search of more snowfall and vertical relief. He began his career in the snow and avalanche arena in 2006 as a ski patroller at Solitude in the Wasatch mountains of Utah. Early morning avalanche mitigation routes with explosives along exposed ridge lines are amongst the favored memories of this job. Caleb became a guide with Ruby Mountain Helicopter Skiing in 2014 and has enjoyed exploring the nooks and crannies of this hidden gem of a range while learning amongst some of the best guides in the industry. He is the creator, host, and producer of The Avalanche Hour Podcast- a side project aimed at creating more dialogue amongst the snow and avalanche community. Caleb is actively progressing through the AMGA ski guide program in hopes of certification. He completed an AIARE level 3 course in 2014, and is currently an AIARE course instructor. He looks forward to a winter in the Wallowas- getting to know the terrain, snowpack, and people.

  • Certifications

    AMGA Advanced Ski Guide Course/Aspirant Exam
    AIARE Course Leader
    Wilderness First Responder
    CPR

Tom Guthrie

Guide

Tom has spent the last decade backcountry skiing in the mountains of Northeast Oregon and beyond. Over the years Tom has worn many hats: working as a ski patrolman on Mt.Hood and in the Tetons to guiding backcountry ski trips in the Wallowas. When not skiing Tom pursues a career as a general contractor and carpenter. Tom has completed a level 3 avalanche course through the American Avalanche Institute and is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association.

  • Certifications

    Level 3 Avalanche
    AMGA Ski Guide Course
    Wilderness First Responder
    CPR

Nick Burks

Guide

Nick began skiing before he can remember. He started working on the Mt. Hood Meadows Pro Patrol in 2005 and became the Snow Safety Supervisor there in 2014. Nick spent the summers of 2016 and 2017 working as a ski area avalanche forecaster in the Cragieburn mountains of New Zealand. He has traveled to ski in Chile, Argentina and Japan.

  • Certifications

    Wilderness First Responder
    Outdoor Emergency Care technician
    AIARE Course Leader
    A3 Professional Avalanche Worker School

Sarah Jakober

Guide

Sarah grew up Darby, MT and earned a degree in Civil Engineering from Boise State University and a M.S. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has worked for the US Forest Service for the past decade as a wildland firefighter and has hopes of becoming a certified ski guide. She now calls La Grande OR a full time home and looks forward to exploring the range and spending time in the community.

  • Certifications

    CAA Avalanche Operations Level 1
    Wilderness First Responder
    CPR

Chris "Sunshine" Edwards

Guide

Sunshine has been working as a ski guide in the Wallowas since 2008. He currently spends most of his year living and working in Colorado, as a ski and river guide. Sunshine is a Certified Ski Guide through the AMGA and holds a Level 3 Certificate through the American Avalanche Institute. As a lifelong skier, Sunshine has been on ski expeditions around the globe, including locations such as France, Japan, and Alaska.

  • Certifications
    AMGA Ski Guide
    Level 3 Avalanche
    WFR/CPR
    AIARE Course Leader

Matt Healy

Guide

Matt grew up in New Hampshire and was first introduced to climbing and skiing in the White Mountains. While getting a degree in Hydrology he got his first taste of guiding, helping teach climbing and high angle rescue at the University of New Hampshire, and knew it was what he wanted to pursue. He moved out west in search of bigger terrain, and now splits his time between New Hampshire, Oregon, and Washington. He fell in love with the Wallowa’s after his first visit to the range and is excited to keep exploring the area.

  • Certifications

    AMGA Ski Guide Course
    AMGA Alpine Skills Course
    Avalanche Pro 1
    Wilderness First Responder
    CPR

Luna and Sadie

Guides

Luna and Sadie have been successfully leading groups to amazing stashes of powder in the Wallowas for years. Born across the Grande Ronde valley in Cove, OR these two golden girls have been drinking fresh meltwater coming out of the Western Wallowas since they were puppies. One of their many attributes as canine guides is "keeping the fall line real."

Current Openings Overnight Hut Trips: Jan 15-18, Jan 22-25, Jan 30-Feb 1, Feb 5-8, Feb 12-14, Feb 26-28, March 11-13, March 18-20

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