We are a small company of guides and staff living at the end of the road in the Methow Valley of Washington state.
We pride ourselves on being a heli-ski company run by riders, for riders and use that as the bar by which we measure ourselves. We consistently hear from our guests that our combination of professionalism, "laid-back" attitudes and intimate size are the reasons they ski or ride with NCH (and many come back year after year).
Our backyard is the rugged east side of the North Cascades — an amazing location for powder skiing and riding, touring and adventure. We have been skiing and riding these mountains for many years and truly enjoy sharing the goods, and good times, with all of our guests. We go out in small groups of five and come back with big grins.
Ken was born in Seattle and from age 2 has been skiing the Cascades. In high school, Ken was hired to teach skiing at Alpental ski area and has worked in the ski industry ever since. In 1985 on New Years Day, after a single heli bump from Whistler followed by a 4,000-foot powder run, Ken was hooked. Heli-ski guiding became the focus. After graduating from the ski area management and instruction program at Wenatchee Valley College, Ken went to France to teach with his full certification as a ski instructor. Returning to Washington, he guided on Mt. Rainier and in Alaska. While touring from Paradise one day in 1992, he heard that North Cascade Heli was looking for investors. This seemed a perfect match since Ken already owned property in Mazama. His nine years of experience on the Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol was ideal for the avalanche control work, snow stability evaluations and first aid skills requisite for a heli-ski guide.
Paul Butler has been guiding in the North Cascades since 1990. In addition to being co-owner at NCH, Paul is also a co-owner at North Cascades Mountain Guides in Mazama. Originally from Minnesota, Paul moved out to the Pacific Northwest in the late 1980's to purse a life and career focused on outdoor activities, especially climbing and skiing. While raising two kids just across the river from the heli-barn with his amazing wife, Bo Thrasher, Paul spent nearly ten years running the local weekly newspaper in addition to his guiding work. Lately Paul has been spending time stand up paddle boarding on various rivers and trying not to hurt himself too badly in this latest outdoor endeavor.
Scott moved to Washington State in 1985 from Minnesota when his love affair with the mountains began. He spent as much time as he could climbing and skiing in the Cascades and around the world, including expeditions to Tibet, Argentina, India, and Ecuador. He worked for 15 years as an Instructor and Program Director for Outward Bound before he began guiding for North Cascade Heli 12 years ago. Scott holds a Canadian Avalanche Operations Level 1, Wilderness First Responder, and Level III Heli – Ski Guide Avalanche Forecasting (Northwest Avalanche Institute). When not guiding he enjoys spending time with his two kids and still enjoys lacing up the skates for a little hockey.
Larry Goldie has been making a living as a mountain guide for more than two decades. He has climbed, skied and guided extensively in the North Cascades, with additional experience in the European Alps, Sierras, Rockies, Alaska and throughout Canada. Larry is one of the owners of North Cascades Mountain Guides in Mazama. As an instructor and examiner for the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA), as well as a pro trainer for AIARE (American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education) he also works to help train the next generation of mountain guides. He is an internationally (IFMGA) licensed Mountain guide and AMGA certified guide. Larry has guided for North Cascade Heli since 2003 and now divides his time between guiding and running the snow safety program.
Joshua Cole has been guiding professionally since 2003. Josh is a risk management consultant for numerous local and national organizations, teaches wilderness medicine courses, and is a working emergency medical technician (EMT). Josh has worked as a professional ski patroller in Montana and New Zealand, and has a former life as a research geologist. Josh holds an AIARE Level 3 avalanche certification, is an AMGA Certified Ski Guide, Single-Pitch Instructor and is working towards his AMGA certification in the rock and alpine disciplines. While not quite as exciting as the heli, Josh loves shredding the Loup Loup poma lift with his wife and two young kiddos.
Michelle, a Washington native, made her first turns at Snoqualmie Pass. At a young age she discovered backcountry skiing and the bliss of endless mountains of untracked powder. Her skiing adventures have taken her as far north as Valdez, Alaska and as far south as the volcanoes of Chile and Argentina. Michelle works year round as a mountain guide and 2019 will be her 15th season as a guide at North Cascade Heli. She holds AIARE Level 2 avalanche and Canadian Avalanche Association, Avalanche Operations Level 1, Wilderness First Responder, and Outdoor Emergency Care certifications. Following heli-skiing season she leads expeditions to remote corners of the world, and enjoys the beauty of living in the Methow Valley.
Jeff has been a full-time mountain guide since 1995. As a fully certified AMGA and IFMGA licensed guide Jeff has been able to guide in a variety of places throughout the world. He has guided heli-skiing in Canada, steep skiing in La Grave, France and ski touring all over North America and Europe. Jeff has spent more than 35 years skiing in the Pacific Northwest and is convinced it offers some of the best skiing on the planet. In the summer months he teaches courses for the American Mountain Guides Association, leads expeditions to Alaska and guides climbers up routes in the European Alps and North Cascades for North Cascades Mountain Guides. On his days off you can often find Jeff in the mountains with his wife Kristen and his nine-year-old daughter Allison.
John Schaefer is a native of Washington State and has adventured in the Cascades since the late 90s and guided for the last 17 years. He has guided a multitude of disciplines from sea kayaking, fly fishing, rock climbing, skiing and heli-skiing. John worked five years professionally ski patrolling while being an avalanche dog handler at Stevens Pass. He has guided heli-skiing with North Cascade Heli for seven years. John is also a guide at North Cascades Mountain Guides. When not guiding John works as Field Scientist and Risk Manager for an environmental consulting firm based in Seattle. He has a Bachelors in Outdoor Recreation, a minor in Environmental Education, AIARE Level 2 avalanche certification and is a current Wilderness First Responder. John lives in Winthrop with his wife Adrienne and their two boys Tye and Reid.
Steph's first foray into ski guiding occurred in 2004 in Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains, a fairly surprising leap from her early roots skiing ice-clad hills in Michigan. Her work over a decade as professional ski patrol at Stevens Pass offered plenty of terrain and community to develop skills that would enable her to enjoy skiing in the wilds of places such as China, India, and Chile. Steph holds an AIARE Level 3 Avalanche certificate, co-developed and teaches North Cascades Mountain Guides women's backcountry ski clinics, teaches Nordic skiing in the Methow Valley, and is working her way through the AMGA Mountain Guide program. Steph also works as a field biologist, and co-founded and directs the Cascades Wolverine Project. She has a perennial fondness for remote expeditions, granite rock climbing, and her husband, Drew Lovell, affectionately known as DLove, with whom she resides in Twisp, Washington.
Sid is a Pacific Northwest native who has skied and climbed in the North Cascades for over 20 years. He's a full time mountain guide who has worked and skied all over the U.S. as well as New Zealand, Alaska and the Himalaya. He is currently working his way through the AMGA certification process in the alpine, rock and ski disciplines. Sid lives in Winthrop, Wa. with his wife and two daughters. When not out playing in the mountains Sid can be found encouraging his daughters eat veggies while trying to be a grown up.
A resident of the east side of the Cascades since 2003, Drew Lovell began ski guiding in the late 90s in Alaska. His background includes a decade as a professional ski patroller, experience as a highway avalanche forecaster, and work as a rock and alpine climbing guide. Drew has been an avid backcountry skier for 25 years, and has pioneered ski descents and traverses in India, China, and the varied ranges of Alaska, the Yukon, and northern British Columbia. He has been working with North Cascade Heli for five seasons and lives in Twisp with his wife Steph. Drew also currently works as an avalanche forecaster at a remote mine site, teaches Nordic skiing locally, and is involved in a winter wildlife monitoring program. He has completed an AMGA ski guides course as well as an AIARE Level 3 Avalanche certification.
Adrienne is a Washington State native and has worked in the outdoor industry for close to 20 years. She began her career working for the National Park Service and US Forest Service as a Trails Technician and later as a Climbing Ranger on Mt. Rainier. Her love of snow eventually led her to become a professional ski patroller and avalanche dog handler at Stevens Pass. When she moved to the Methow she saw a need for women's specific programming and partnered with co-guide Steph Williams and North Cascades Mountain Guides to develop the Women's Backcountry Clinic series. When she's not guiding, Adrienne works as the Partnership Manager for Methow Trails. She has a Bachelors in Outdoor Recreation, AIARE Level 2 avalanche certification and is a current Wilderness First Responder. Adrienne lives in Winthrop with her husband John and their two boys Tye and Reid.
Ryan Audett was born and raised in Washington State. He began his skiing career at the age of 4 at Mt. Spokane Ski Area. His travels have taken him all over the continental U.S., Alaska, Canada, and New Zealand. He was a professional ski patroller for 10 years and is a owner/handler of a currently certified avalanche rescue dog. Ryan has been guiding for North Cascade Heli for 5 years, is an AMGA Single-Pitch Instructor, and is currently pursing the AMGA Ski Guide track. His certifications include AIARE Level 2 Avalanche and Wilderness First Responder. Ryan lives in Winthrop, Wash., with his 2.6-year-old daughter.
Steph grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and honed her skiing skills on the icy slopes of the Pocono Mountains before moving out west in 2006. After 12 years of being employed as a professional ski bum for K2, Steph and her partner relocated to the east side of the Cascades to Leavenworth, and finally settled in the Methow Valley. Steph is an Ambassador for SheJumps and a member of the K2 Women's Alliance team. In between sending emails, and updating the heli-calendar, Steph can be found outside skiing with her dogs, Obi & Riddick, or looking for the next best nacho joint.
Our office manager Josh joined NCH in 2017. He's been a die-hard skier since 1983. Josh instructed skiing at Mission Ridge, Summit at Snoqualmie and Breckenridge. He's worked in the PR and branding industry and as a freelance writer and photographer. Josh was with a heli-skiing operation in Valdez, Alaska for five years as the director of operations and a guide. He lives up the Twisp River with Grizzly, his nine-year-old mountain dog, and is an avid mountain biker.