Our Team, Our Staff, Our Big Family
We believe the skiing experience and how much fun you are having is not only made up of how good the snow is but also determined by the people that surround you. We are super thankful to be able to spend the winter months here in the BC wilderness with the best group of people. We love our staff, they are all part of our big family and we hope that they also add to your heliskiing experience with us.
Martin grew up in the Swiss ski resort of Meiringen-Hasliberg. He is an enthusiastic skier, snowboarder and mountain biker and has skied in many places around the world. His passion for the outdoors, sports and travel sets his standard high for ski vacations, which is what we do at Skeena Heliskiing.
Martin worked for over a decade for Scott Sports in marketing, events and product management. His past experience has created the ideal teammate for Skeena. He is knowledgable with our equipment, companies, and the evolving world of sports.
Since 2011 he has lived in the Kispiox Valley just 40 minutes from the Bear Claw Lodge. He now calls this area his home. Martin oversees many logistics of the operation from the moment our guests book to when they arrive and enjoy their heli skiing holiday.
Martin is fluent in German, English and French. He has several certificates that compliment his position at Skeena.
Giacum (Jake) Frei
Jake was born and raised just 3 hours south of the Skeena Mountain range to Swiss parents. Jake left Canada at a young age and started his career as a professional skier and guide in Europe. In 2003 he started exploring the new skiing terrain of the Skeena and subsequently launch Skeena Heliskiing.
Working in the heli skiing industry for over 20 years, Jake has also been involved with many other heli skiing operations, various avalanche control activities, ski resort safety planning and numerous year round guiding activities around the globe.
Jake’s experience in the industry and commitment to developing a world renowned heli skiing operation has helped him develop the best possible team to ensure our clients safety and enjoyment in the air and on the snow.
Born and raised in an Austrian ski village, Robert has been on skis since the age of three. After finishing his ski instructor and guiding certificates, the search for endless powder made him move to Canada in 1994 - where he has guided heli skiers ever since.
Skiing and guiding at numerous operations in BC and Alaska gave Robert a good understanding of how to put together a great heli skiing program. The promise of exploring new terrain combined with the relaxed atmosphere at Skeena Heliskiing brought Robert to our team here, where his years of experience will flow into the program offered at Skeena Heliskiing.
Robert and a group of Canadian downhill racers still hold the world record for the most vertical feet skied in one day.
Martin was born in Austria and started skiing at the age of three. Fully committed to the skiing cause, he completed and became a fully certified Austrian ski instructor, ski guide and ski coach.
Martin has been working in the ski industry for over 25 years and moved to Canada to become a heli-skiing guide in 1999. During this time until he started guiding for Skeena Heliskiing, he worked at Mike Wiegele, Pantheon and Klondike Helicopter Skiing.
Martin never really stops skiing, he basically skis all year. After the heli skiing season, he is a ski coach working in New Zealand or Australia during the summer and in Sweden and Austria during the fall.
Born on the west coast of BC Daryl inherited a great love of the mountains and wild places from his parents. He has been a guide and member of the ACMG for over 30 years and continues to enjoy sharing the magic of the mountains with anyone who wishes to experience it. Guiding since the early days of heli skiing and being involved of every aspect of the business, Daryl knows what it takes to make a great ski experience.
A chance telephone conversation and a similar vision of what heli skiing can be, brought Daryl to Skeena Heli Skiing. Intimate groups, commitment to safety and service and the exceptional family atmosphere of Bearclaw Lodge were the right combination to lure him North.
Daryl also guides ski touring in Whistler, is active in the local mountain rescue community and lives a portion of the year on the ocean off the East coast of Vancouver Island in a new house he and his wife are just completing. He enjoys sea kayaking, fishing, expedition white water rafting and of course mountain biking.
Lee started skiing in Oz in his late teens at Mt Buller. Later he went on to St. Anton in Austria were he spent over 10 winters. We are sure that the snow quality and mastering the German language were not the only reasons for his extended stay. Nevertheless, he completed his ski guiding courses in Austria and moved over the Atlantic to discover Canada. Lee started guiding at Big Red Cats and later at Mike Weigele Heli-skiing.
After spending 8 years in Rossland, Lee now lives in Smithers and is a first class carpenter during the summer. Lee loves vegemite, Richmond Tigers and the colour green.
Assistant Ski Guide
Martin grew up skiing the local mountains around Vancouver and loves nothing more than to be on a pair of skis in the back country. He has spent the past eighteen winters working on skis as a heliski guide, ski instructor and ski patroller. In the summer months Martin is a paramedic and a member of the Squamish Search & Rescue team.
Craig has been with Skeena Heliskiing since its inception and has over 10,000 hours of flying time. His local knowledge and experience with our Heliskiing operation ensures that our clients access the best possible terrain for the conditions.A local man from Terrace BC Craig has a love for all engines from the smallest to the biggest ones. His favorite mode of speedy transportation during the winter months is his beloved "Enticer" snowmobile (Circa 1971).
Gene and Joy Allen
Bear Claw Lodge Owners / General Managers
Local identity, renowned bronco rider, local fishing guide, Gene and his wife Joy have been involved with Skeena Heliskiing since its inception. Gene is a true host, making sure your stay is full of laughter, great stories and memories.
Additionally Gene is a Director on the Quality Waters Strategy Board, Skeena Fisheries Angling Committee and the Skeena Watershed Coalition. He’s involved with the Land Resource & Management Plan for the Forest District and the Swan Lake Wilderness Area. Gene has initiated many clinics for rodeo athletes and has taught and recommended rodeo athletes to colleges and universities. Gene is a past president of the British Columbia Rodeo Association and won the Lifetime Achievement Award in Rodeo.
In October of 2011, he was awarded the "Rodeo Person of the Year" in B.C.
Gene is a fishing guide, coordinates the mountain pack trips and is involved in every aspect of the Bearclaw Lodge.
Joy has always had an active life with horses, competing in both rodeo and horse shows. She conducted barrel racing clinics for many years and was the Director of Women‘s and Children’s events for B.C. rodeos.
Joy has served as President of the Kispiox Valley Rodeo Club for nearly 30 years and is the Vice President of the local Community Association. Joy won the "Today’s Woman Award" for Community Enrichment for the Yukon and B.C. Interior and was the first recipient of the Hank Vogel: Rodeo Person of the Year Award in B.C. She initiated the Conservation Camps for kids at Bearclaw and continues to be actively involved in all facets of the lodge programs.
Bear Claw Lodge
To view all the staff at Bear Claw Lodge, have a look at their team page:
Joy and Gene Allen - Owners / General Manager
Kaleigh Allen - Marketing Manager
Paul Aiken / Heather Muir - Chef
Natasha Erbel - Sous Chef
Danielle Bradford - Guest Services
Amelie Lafortune - Massage Therapist & Guest Services<
Eve Jones - Massage Therapist
Photos from our Team Album