Dean Cummings

Name: Dean Cummings

Gender: Male

Nickname: The Commander

Where were you born: Los Alamos, New Mexico

Current Location: Valdez, Alaska

Hobbies: Hunting, deep sea fishing, white water kayaking

Motto: Ride the wind before it's gone

Discipline: Remote mechanized guiding operations

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/Director of NAMSG, which is open to anyone pursuing a career in heli ski/snowboard guiding, to all backcountry enthusiasts who desire to build their mountain skills and knowledge, and to those who work in avalanche terrain.

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.

Favorite SCARPA product: Freedom SL

What other SCARPA product do you use: The Phantom 6000 and 8000; Spark GTX; Tech Ascent GTX, The Crux

Your biggest influence growing up: My Father teaching me about the outdoors

Biggest idol in your sport growing up: Patrick Vallençant, Scot Schmidt, and Reinhold Messner

What age did you start skiing: 5

How would you describe your style: Depends on the type of terrain

What can’t you live without: Mountains

What keeps you motivated: The elements

If you could be a super hero who: Spiderman

Guilty pleasure song: F-Stop Blues

Strangest medical issue: I get cold in warm buildings and stay warm in cold temperaturs outdoors

Favorite junk food: Corn chips

Favorite post activity drink: Jameson on the rocks with a splash of ginger

Best excuse to skip training: Go skiing

Go-to dance move: Move with her hips

Favorite ice cream: Velvet Chugach powder snow

Coffee or tea: Breve latte with cinnamon

What do you do on off days: Enjoy time with my kids

Last movie to make you cry: A documentary on the Gulf of Mexico

Favorite classic movie: Legends of the Fall

What’s on your ipod: No thanks

Hidden talent/party trick: Playing baseball with the kids

What kind of car do you drive: Dodge 5500

Personal Website: H20 Guides

Instagram: h2oguides

Won the Powder Awards Line of the Year

Recognized in Powder Magazine as one of the 48 most influential skiers of our time

Won the 1995 World Extreme Skiing Championships in Valdez, Alaska

Avalanche Educator Of the Year 2012 and 2013

First descents in Alaska's Chugach Range that have have not been seconded: The Tusk, West Face of Meteorite and Mount Francis

Trained the Marine Corps for remote snowmachine operations and safety in the Alaska Range

Tought avalanche backcountry travel to the Anchorage Waste Water Utility Department

Tought avalanche backcountry safe winter travel to USGS in Fairbanks, AK

Provided location scout, location management, high angle safety, water safety, and aerial photography heli support for a Wild Turkey Bourbon commercial filming production directed by Klaus Obermeyer

Managed all film production including location scout, avalanche safety, safety rigging, flight operations and logistics for “Bear” Grylls “Man Vs. Wild” Discovery Channel Production

Tought remote flight operations and risk scene assessment for avalanche hazards and glacier travel training for the Para Jumpers 175th Wing of the Air National Guard

Assisted the Snow Safety Team at Snowbird, Utah

Provided practical avalanche training to Snowbird Mountain Ski School in Utah