Guides

Pacific Crest Snowcats has handpicked its staff from the veteran patrollers, backcountry guides and avalanche forecasters who call Lake Tahoe home. You can relax and enjoy your day on the slopes in the hands of our professional guides, all of whom are first aid certified, highly trained in avalanche forecasting and control work, and experts in high and low angle mountain rescue techniques.

In addition to finding the best snow conditions, our guides are continually studying the snowpack to become intimate with its various layers and degrees of bonding.

Your guides will tell you what they are doing and explain each run as you go. Guests are trained in the use of an avalanche beacon (which is provided as part of the trip cost) and walk away from the day more knowledgeable about backcountry travel techniques.

"Happy" Dave Rintala

A lifetime guide and founder/head guide of Pacific Crest Snowcats, this reformed Squaw Valley ski patroller’s attitude is infectious to say the least. Happy serves as an avalanche forecaster and consultant for film and industry, and his skill set is overshadowed only by his enthusiasm for the alpine environment. Happy was one of the pioneers of heli-skiing in Alaska and helped developed standard backcountry protocols with other veteran Alaska heli-guides.

Ward Chesnut

Ward is a longtime Lake Tahoe local who has served as a patroller at ski resorts on both coasts. He is the current Operations Manager for Pacific Crest Snowcats and a mechanical wizard who knows how to make the cats purr. In addition to driving and wrenching, Ward is also a first-rate guide.

Robin McElroy

Robin McElroy is a veteran ski patroller at Squaw Valley and a professional skier with several extreme skiing contests under her belt. Her skill as a guide is immediately apparent to anyone who skis with her, and her personality and spirit elevate the fun factor on any adventure in the backcountry.

Ken Manuel

Ken started skiing at the age of four and was a ski patroller at Squaw Valley longer ago than anyone can remember. He has worked as a heli-guide in Alaska and managed backcountry operations there and elsewhere. We are extremely lucky to have him as a lead guide at Pacific Crest Snowcats.