In 1995, Dean founded the family owned Alaska helicopter skiing company H2O Guides in Valdez, Alaska, surrounding the Prince William Sound. Dean has developed the highest standards in mechanized guiding, top down terrain management protocols to avoid avalanches, and mountain safety education. His research and development efforts in the Chugach Range enable H2O Guides to share with skiers, snowboarders, and mountaineers the remote and pristine Chugach Range — one of the snowiest, most glaciated ranges in the world. Dean continues to define and refine remote guided aircraft operations standards and protocols.
Dean is a prominent and tireless leader in outdoor safety and avalanche awareness education. He won the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market People’s Choice Awards Educator of the Year in 2011 and 2012, was runner up for the award in 2013, and is a member of the Snowsports Industries America Backcountry Task Force.
Utilizing his experience and knowledge of remote guided aircraft operations, Dean established the North America Mechanized Ski Guide (NAMSG) training program in 2004. The NAMSG course is held annually in locations including Valdez and the Wasatch Range, Utah. It is a synthesis of guided rotor wing operations, mountaineering, avalanche assessment, and search and rescue skills. Dean is the Lead Guide and Director of this course, which is open to anyone with an interest in pursuing a career in heli ski or snowboard guiding, or to backcountry enthusiasts who desire to build their mountain skills and knowledge.
Dean lives year round in Valdez with his wife Karen and their three children, Wyatt, Tesslina, and Brooke. During the non-winter months, Dean is an avid fisherman, hunter, white water kayaker, rock climber, and enjoys taking his children on ATV excursions in and around Valdez.