Aaron Brill serves as the Operator and Head Guide for Silverton Mountain Guides (SMG). Brill is well known in the ski industry as having a very comprehensive background in heli skiing with decades of combined experience as Head Guide, Avalanche Forecaster, Avalanche Blasting Technician, Avalanche Educator, Heli Avalanche Bombardier and Commercial Heli Pilot. Brill is best known for building the Silverton Mountain Ski Area from the ground up (Colorado’s sixth largest ski area, and the largest heli skiing operation in the U.S.) and for creating a comprehensive and innovative snow safety plan to manage extreme avalanche hazards. Brill has extensive technical and business experience and has developed specialized safety protocols and guide training techniques unique to SMG.
Aaron Brill enjoys the most challenging guide assignments and has guided and run safety for Warren Miller, Teton Gravity Research, Matchstick Productions, CBS 60 Minutes, NBC Sports, Fox, ABC, Discovery Channel and for multiple large scale events like the Red Bull Coldrush. Brill has intimate knowledge of a massive amount of terrain across a multitude of zones and is perhaps the most experienced heli guide with know-how of logistics of working into new terrain.
Professionalism is paramount to your safety. SMG is the only Alaska heli ski operation that provides two professional guides with each group as standard for additional safety. SMG’s standard procedure is to provide two highly trained guides for each group of four guests. The two-guides-to-four-guests ratio allows SMG to deliver a unrivaled personalized heli-ski experience for guests, with steady visual or verbal contact. Having two guides with each group provides twice as many guides to assess snow safety, avalanche safety, and helicopter safety for each group. Having two guides is a significant additional safety factor, much like having a co-pilot on airliners increases safety margin and, for that reason, is standard procedure. SMG is the only Alaska operator with the 2:4 ratio as standard procedure.
Having two guides with you is a dramatic difference. It opens up a whole new realm of run choices that your guide may not have considered if they were out in the field without the second guide. Additionally, with two guides loading and unloading the ski basket and monitoring both the front and back of the ski group (as we typically ski one at a time), the pace is much faster throughout the day. In addition to helping dramatically improve the overall safety, this will also ultimately increase your daily run count.
If you only have one guide with you and you can’t maintain visual or verbal contact with your guide the entire time, you have two choices: 1) Ride shorter pitches with more frequent stopping and less snowboarding to maintain contact with your guide, or 2) Compromise safety.
The professionalism and attentiveness of our guides, are one of the primary reasons we have extremely high volume of repeat guests. When not helicopter guiding in Alaska you will typically find the highly experienced lead guides serving as licensed avalanche blaster technicians, providing avalanche forecasting assistance, and guiding skiers and snowboarders at the technically challenging Silverton Mountain, Colorado*. Many of the guides can also be found lead guiding in South America and on Denali with diverse experience in a variety of snow climates. Rest assured that a Silverton Mountain Guide will be working in the field of snow all winter long and are not part-time journeymen who may roll in to act as a guide for just a few weeks a year (before going back to their day job).
Knowing your guide is an important part of any guided ski trip. The opportunity exists for clients to ski or snowboard at Silverton Mountain* prior to arriving in Alaska. This creates the opportunity for a level of trust to be formed between client and guide before stepping foot in Alaska. Silverton Mountain, Colorado is a great location for winter chairlift served adventure skiing and helicopter skiing. It’s a perfect spot for tuning up the mind and body in advance of an Alaskan heli skiing or heli snowboarding trip.
*Silverton Mountain is an independent and separate business from Silverton Mountain Guides.