Our Coaches and Backcountry Snowboard and Ski Guides in Chile and Argentina

PowderQuest is proud to have an outstanding team of international backcountry skiing guides for our Off Piste and Backcountry ski tours and fully certified snowboard and ski instructors and coaches on our Progression Adventures. Personality, experience, and safety have set our instructors and certified alpine skiing guides apart since 1999.

PowderQuest Guides

PowderQuest guides Maxi, Phil, Mo, David, Vicho, and Mike in La Parva, Chile

Lead Backcountry Ski Guides: Certified by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA), the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG), the Canadian Ski Guides Association (CSGA), and/or are professional members of the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA).

Assistant Ski Guides hold Canadian Avalanche Association Ski Operations Level 1 certifications (or similar certification from associations in other countries), have extensive wilderness first aid training, and speak English and Spanish.

David Owen: PowderQuest Founder – Assistant Guide

Guide David OwenFrom the day he first stepped into a pair of skis back in 1976, David was hooked.  After discovering snowboarding with his friends Adam, Erin, and Blaise, the addiction carried beyond Dar’s ski weekends and the powder at “Powerlines”; it was the soul of it all.  He carries these memories today as his passion to ride and dreams to travel have taken him on his own PowderQuest. The mountains and volcanoes of Colorado, Wyoming, Canada, Alaska, and Chile and Argentina have been his main focus.  In 1994, David’s wanderlust began, and before he knew it, he had explored, surfed, and snowboarded 15 Latin American countries. After landing in South America’s outdoor adventure mecca, Pucon, Chile in 1998, he built an adventure tourism company, learned Spanish, and established residence in this mystical country.

  • Home Country: Chile
  • Certifications: Canadian Avalanche Association Ski Operations Level 1, Wilderness First Responder
  • Backcountry Experience: 13 years
  • Languages: English, Spanish
  • Favorite Places to Ride: Andes Backcountry and Jackson Hole
  • Hobbies: Surfing, photography, music, travel

Mike Gajda: Ski Guide

Guide Mike GajdaMike has been backcountry skiing since the mid 1980′s and employed as ski patroller and heli-ski guide in the Whistler, BC area since 1994. He consults as an avalanche forecaster near his home town of Pemberton, BC and continues to guide for the local guides’ bureaus and Canadian Heli-ski companies. Mike’s depth of experience comes from ski tours in the Alps and the Andes to a solo ski decent from the peak of Alaskas’ Denali. Mike joined the PowderQuest team in June of 2003 with strengths in customer care and emergency 1st aid.

  • Home Country: Canada
  • Certifications: ACMG Ski Guide, CAA Level 2, Outdoor Emergency Care, WCB Blasting Certificate, CSGA Level 2 Ski Guide
  • Backcountry Experience: 23 years
  • Languages: Spanish, English, French
  • Favorite Places to Ride: BC, Canada, France
  • Hobbies: Climbing, Reading, Travel

Mo Rasiah: Ski Guide

Guide Mo RasiahAn Australian born and bred skier, Mo Rasiah grew up skiing a small resort called Thredbo. Falling in love with skiing during university, the mountains eventually brought him to Whistler where he discovered the bliss of powder skiing. Teaching skiing, avalanche courses, and guiding to pay for his travel and skiing, he has ski toured in Australia, Canada, Alaska, Europe, Chile and Argentina. He has gone over 10 years without a summer.

  • Home Country: Canada
  • Certifications: Association of Canadian Mountain Guides Ski Guide, Canadian Avalanche Association Ski Operations Level 2, Canadian Ski Guides Association Level 3, Fully Certified Ski Instructor (APSI Level 3), CSIA Freeride Level 1, CSCF Level 1 Coach, CASI Level 1, Outdoor Emergency Care, Advanced Wilderness First Aid
  • Backcountry Experience: 8 years
  • Languages: Spanish, English
  • Favorite Places to Ride: Las Lenas ski area, Whistler
  • Hobbies: Rock climbing and doing anything to get more powder face shots!

Philippe Gautier: Ski Guide – Risk Management Project Manager

Guide Philippe GautierPhil is a certified ski guide by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and has been guiding with PowderQuest since 2006. He has worked as a mountain professional in Quebec, Western Canada, South America and Europe teaching professional avalanche courses for the Canadian Avalanche Association, avalanche forecasting, ski guiding, as well as consulting on risk management projects and for media productions. As a heliski guide he has been involved with the development of new programs in British Columbia and Quebec. In the South American Andes, Phil has skied extensively and has lead ski touring and ski mountaineering expeditions from the central ranges to Tierra del Fuego. Since 2010, he has been involved with an adventure skiing television show and acts as their consultant and researcher as well as on camera participant and guide.

  • Home Country: Canada
  • Certifications: Association of Canadian Mountain Guides Ski Guide, Canadian Avalanche Association Level 2, Professional Member of Canadian Avalanche Association, Canadian Ski Coaches Federation level 1, Canadian Ski Patrol System operational member, Advanced Medic First Aid interprovincial level 3, Wilderness First Responder, Justice Institute of British Columbia Search and Rescue Manager
  • Backcountry Experience: Since 1999
  • Languages: Spanish, English, French
  • Favorite Places to Ride: British Columbia and Nevados de Chillan
  • Hobbies: Hockey

Max Artoni: Assistant Ski Guide and Ski Instructor

Guide Max ArtoniMax Artoni was born and raised in San Martin de los Andes, Argentina where he began skiing at the age of four at the local ski hill, Chapelco Ski Resort. In high school he started doing more mountaineering and skiing in the backcountry of beautiful Patagonia. In 2004 he started going to Whistler Ski Resort in Canada where he continues to work as a ski instructor and has been living the eternal winter ever since.

  • Home Country: Argentina
  • Certifications: Canadian Avalanche Association Ski Operations Level 1, Aadides ski instructor Level 2 (ISIA), Wilderness First Responder
  • Backcountry Experience: 8 years
  • Languages: Spanish, English
  • Favorite Places to Ride: Las Lenas, Chapelco, Whistler
  • Hobbies: Rock climbing and mountain biking

Ingrid Backstrom: Ski Coach and Host of the Women’s Freeride Ski Camps

Guide Ingrid BackstromIngrid grew up in Seattle and skiing with her family. She moved to Squaw Valley to spend just a season, but it took only a few freeskiing contests to realize that she had found her passion. At the 2013 Powder Magazine Awards, for the 8th year, Ingrid won the prestigious Reader Poll award and 5th time, Best Female Performance, in Matchstick Productions, Attack of La Nina and Sherpa Productions, All.I.Can.

Leah Evans: Ski Coach

Guide Leah EvansLeah Evans is not only an inspiring athlete but also a conscientious member of the ski community. With an appreciation for the benefits she has earned through her determination and her love for skiing, Leah strives to give back to the sport as one of her main focuses. She has filmed with Salomon Freeski TV, Ride Guide TV, Underexposed TV, competed on the freeskiing circuit for several years and can boast titles including first on the Freeride World Tour in 2011 and Canadian Freeskiing Open champion in 2010. You can see Leah published in all the top ski magazines including Powder, The Ski Journal, SBC Skier, Freeskier, National Geographic and many others.

The 26-year-old Rossland B.C. native has traveled to Kyrgyzstan, Spain, South America, Turkey, and Japan to ski and film. However, she sites her proudest achievement to date as starting Girls Do Ski, whose mission is to encourage and strengthen female skiers and to motivate women as confident members of the ski community.

Leah is an inclusive and enthusiastic skier and she is stoked to be able to pass along her expertise by coaching.

Vicho Fernandez: Assistant Ski Guide and Ski Instructor

Guide Vicho FernandezVicho, Originally from Santiago de Chile, started skiing at the age of five in the Three Valleys area. (El Colorado, La Parva, Valle Nevado). After finishing school Vicho decided to spend every winter possible on skis, and in 2004, he started to work as a ski instructor in La Parva ski resort. Now Vicho lives in Northern Patagonia with his family, seeking nature and new backcountry experiences on the southern volcanos.

  • Home Country: Chile
  • Certifications:Canadian Avalanche Association Ski Operations Level 1, ENSICHAG LEVEL II (ISIA), Wilderness First Responder
  • Languages: Spanish, English
  • Favorite Places to Ride: La Parva and Santa Tere slackcountry
  • Hobbies: Mountain biking and surfing

Max Gaal: Snowboard Coach

Guide Max GaalBorn and raised in the San Francisco bay area, Max spent his childhood driving to and from Lake Tahoe. After high school, he decided to simply stop driving and stay permanently in a gem of a town, Truckee. Max has spent 10 years working as a snowboard instructor at Boreal Mountain Resort and Woodward Tahoe. Life quickly became all about finding ways to live the endless winter traveling to Chile and Argentina in the summer and Tahoe in the winter. Max loves nothing more than snowboarding with his friends and making new amigos while in the mountains.

  • Home Country: USA
  • Certifications: USASA Level 100 Coaching Certification, AASI Level 2 Certified Snowboard instructor, AASI Resort Trainer, AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Safety
  • Languages: Spanish, English
  • Favorite Places to Ride: Las Lenas, Tahoe
  • Hobbies: Travel

Shin Campos: Snowboard Coach

Guide Shin ComposShin Campos has been snowboarding over 2/3 of his life. His love of travel has led him to snowboard and experience many different regions of the world that have mountains and snow. Some of his favorite places include Alaska, most of British Columbia, Canada, Russia, Austria and especially South America. That’s why he has jumped to the opportunity to help show others some of his favorite places.

Argentina and Chile have great mountains and snow conditions when up north in Canada or the USA its summertime. For the powder hungry person The Andes are always a great place to continue the endless winter. That’s why I’ve joined up with PowderQuest who’ve been doing these type of adventures for many years. Whenever I’ve been there recently I always hook up with them because we have a great trip. We’ve stayed at great places, eaten great meals and above all had great powder in the infamous Andes.

  • Home Country: Canada
  • Certifications: Level 3 OEC First Aid, level 1 certification with the Canadian Avalanche Association
  • Languages: Spanish, English
  • Favorite Places to Ride: British Columbia
  • Hobbies: Travel