Guides and Partners

Sawback has grown from a one-man show in the mid-90s to one of Canada’s most successful guiding operations offering high end ski touring trips in Western Canada as well as the far-flung regions of the world. This is thanks to a crew of outstanding guides and partners. Here’s a list with short bios as an introduction.

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Tom Wolfe
Owner / Lead Guide Mountain Guide ACMG/IFMGA

Tom began Sawback in 1995. He spends his winters ski guiding across Western Canada, and running ski and sail trips in Norway’s arctic. Summers are a split between guiding climbing trips in the mountains of British Columbia and guiding paddling trips on rivers in Canada’s western shield country including northern Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nunavut.

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Rob Coppolillo
Mountain Guide AMGA/IFMGA

Rob partners with Sawback to bring his US guests across the border to experience the amazing powder skiing Canada has to offer. He also joins us every spring in Svalbard for our annual arctic Ski & Sail expeditions. Rob operates Vetta Mountain Guides out of Boulder , CO and is the author of The Mountain Guide Manual.

Christian Schlumpf Mt. Balfour
Christian Schlumpf
Apprentice Mountain Guide ACMG

Christian has dual Canadian and Swiss citizenship. In his former life he completed a degree in Engineering Physics and worked for an engineering firm in Switzerland. It was there that he decided to change courses dramatically and become a mountain guide. He returned to Canada 6 years ago to pursue this dream and hasn’t looked back.

Heather Allen
Heather Allen
Apprentice Ski Guide ACMG

Heather is a long time ski bum and recently-minted ACMG Apprentice Ski Guide.  Heather enjoys long glacier walks, summits in the sun and steep and deep pow turns.  Heather has worked in the ski industry, mainly as ski patrol and snow safety, since 2007. In the offseason she is a journeyman Millwright and backcountry lodge cook.

Roger Yim
Roger Yim
Ski Guide ACMG
Roger Yim is a ACMG Ski guide. He has skied and climbed all over North America and other parts of the world. He works at various ski touring lodges, cat- and heli-skiing and the CAA Industry program. Roger loves good vibes and powder snow.  Let’s make it a positive and rewarding time in the mountains.
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Konrad Scheiber
Mountain Guide IFMGA/ACMG/VOBS

Konrad was born and raised in Obergurgl, Austria where he trained to be a IFMGA/UIAGM Mountain Guide. He has been guiding since 1996. Most of his career has been spent in the winter in Canada heliskiing, including many years at CMH as the Lodge Manager at the Adamants as well as Selkirk Tangiers. Summers are spent guiding in the Alps, Nepal, Africa, and South America. Konrad lives in Revelstoke with his wife Kristen and two young children Eve and Rio.

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Will Mackaness
Ski & Rock Guide ACMG

I specialize in adventure ski touring, nothing beats the slow, social, human powdered and mountain appreciation that only ski touring can provide. I’m also a passionate rock climber and Rock climbing guide, I started my climbing guiding career on the limestone cliffs of the Canadian Rockies. Besides all the ACMG certification I also have a Bachelor of applied science in Adventure Eco Tourism, and an Adventure Guides diploma from Thompsons Rivers University.

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Sylvia Forest
Mountain Guide IFMGA/ACMG

Syl is an ACMG/IFMAGA Mountain Guide, living in Parsons, BC. She worked in Visitor Safety for Parks Canada for 23 years. She guides for the Alpine Club of Canada, teaches for the CAA, and works as a heli ski guide for Great Canadian Heli Skiing, as well as private guiding. Syl is currently the President of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides.

emelie stenberg
Emelie Stenberg
Ski Guide ACMG

Emelie is a skier at heart and has followed her passion into the mountains all around the world. She has skied and worked extensively in the Canadian Rockies, the Columbia and Coast Mountains of British Columbia, the European Alps, the Caucasus in Russia, the Pamir Mountains in Central Asia, the high arctic of Iceland, Svalbard and beyond. She was born and raised in Sweden and came to Canada in 2004 to experience BC powder skiing, and was immediately hooked. Emelie is an ACMG Ski and Hiking Guide and lives in Revelstoke, BC.

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Massimo Candolini
Mountain Guide UIAGM

I’ve been mountaineering since I was a child and I have scaled many peaks in the Alps, with a preference for winter, especially for skiing. I’ve been a Mountain Guide since 2003 and, from the beginning, I have devoted myself to traditional guide work, teaching and sharing, seeking to transmit my passion for mountaineering to others. My love of snow and ice now takes me to the polar regions, in the never-ending search for the perfect excursion!

Conrad Janzen on Generosity aka Freefall
Conrad Janzen
Mountain Guide IFMGA/ACMG

Conrad works mainly as a Public Safety Specialist with Banff National Park and mixes in ski and alpine guiding into his schedule.

jorg wilz
Jörg Wilz
Mountain Guide VDBS/IFMGA

Jörg runs OnTop Mountaineering out of Canmore, AB. Originally from Heidelberg, Germany Jörg settled in Canada many years ago attracted by the incredible heli-skiing. He still heli-skis winters in western Canada and operates his guiding business world-wide.

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Joel McBurney
Ski Guide ACMG

Residing in Nelson, BC with his wife and two boys, Joel spends the winter as a Lead Guide for Baldface Lodge in addition to Big Country Guiding trips. With over thirty years of backcountry experience, including two decades of guiding, he never tires of grabbing his skis or splitboard and heading out of a day in the mountains.

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Jun Yanagisawa
Ski Guide ACMG

Born and raised in Tokyo, Jun was an avid skier from childhood.  In search of wilderness, Jun eventually immigrated to Whistler, British Columbia where he has worked for close to 30 years in the ski and tourism industry, moving between his native Japan and western Canada’s heli- and ski-touring world.

brad schalles
Brad Schalles
Mountain Guide IFMGA/ACMG

Brad is passionate about showing guests the joy and freedom of backcountry skiing. Whether you’re new to the ski touring or looking for assistance on a remote multi-day ski traverse, Brad is a confident and supportive guide whose goal is for you to have safe and memorable experience. He’s skied throughout the world, including in France and Argentina but is happy to call Revelstoke home.

Larry Stanier Mountain Guide
Larry Stanier
Mountain Guide ACMG/IFMGA

Larry has worked as a guide since 1986 and in the avalanche industry since 1981. He still loves the work and sharing the mountains with guests. His favorite trips are exploring new places with enjoyable people. South Georgia Island, Soviet Georgia, Iceland, Kashmir, Kamchatka and Japan are on the list for the next couple of years.

Nino Guagliano, AMGA
Nino Guagliano
Mountain Guide IFMGA/AMGA

Nino graduated from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA and began working as a commercial photographer while simultaneously pursuing his passion for the mountains. After climbing at an elite level for years, Nino turned his attention towards teaching and sharing his knowledge with others. Nino completed his mountain guide training in 2022 with the AMGA in the USA, but lives in Golden, BC which he calls home.

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Mel Makepeace
Ski Guide ACMG

Mel is an ACMG Ski Guide from Fernie BC. She has worked with Sawback previously, guiding the Bow-Yoho and Selkirk Lodge trips. Mel operates her own guiding business, Mountain Addicts, which also provides avalanche education and is a heliski guide with Last Frontier Heliskiing in northern British Columbia.

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Ken Bélanger
Ski Guide & Hiking Guide ACMG

Ken Bélanger was born and raised at the foot of the Rockies in Calgary. He has attained Association of Canadian Mountain Guides Ski & Hiking Guide certifications and has spent a significant portion of the previous three winters guiding ski touring, heli-skiing, cat-skiing, and off-piste in Hokkaido. He is also the Partnership Coordinator for the ACMG. He lives in Canmore with his wife Julie and young child.

Mike Blarowski
Mike Blarowski
Apprentice Ski Guide ACMG

Mike is an ACMG Certified Apprentice Ski Guide living in Canmore with his wife Alicja and two cats. He has been in Canada for 28 years and started ski touring 20 years ago.

When he is not guiding, he is designing websites and helping companies with digital marketing.

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Andrea Fusari
Mountain Guide UIAGM

“I have always considered the mountains as my real home, as a place without borders, having to be 100% yourself. In fact, I don’t have a precise memory of when I really started going to the mountains, certainly from a very young age thanks to my parents and grandparents: first on foot, then on skis, to then get to rock climbing and finally to the ice of the falls. winter and high mountains. I have been a Mountain Guide since 2014.”

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Gianni Dorigo
Mountain Guide UIAGM

“I have been going to the mountains since I was a boy and I practiced many sports, until I dedicated myself body and soul to the mountains, my great passion. I have been an Alpine Guide since 2009 and I immediately began to devote myself to this noble profession: the intention of being able to communicate my enthusiasm for mountaineering together with the necessary technical knowledge to others. I am lucky enough to visit so many beautiful places, which every time become a great discovery and adventure.”

Roger Laurilla
Roger Laurilla
Mountain Guide IFMGA/ACMG

In 1979 Roger started working for Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) in the Bugaboos. He developed an interest in the mountains, which later turned into a professional career. In 1986 he became a member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, and has since become an Internationally Certified Mountain Guide. After 12 years of managing CMH’s premier lodge “The Monashees” Roger has since retired, and is now operating Battle Abbey, a ski touring hut north of Golden B.C., with his partner Loree. Throughout the rest of the year he can be found working on photography projects and guiding private clients.

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Christoph Gnieser
Expedition Leader

Chris left a comfy university position for the vagaries of guiding a number of years ago. Research expeditions, tour guide engagements or private adventures have lured him to the Arctic and Antarctic at least for some time of each year ever since 1985. His engagements with Oceanwide Expeditions date back to 2003. He holds degrees in Geography, Geology and Cultural Anthropology. Research engagements for a Master’s degree investigated the impacts of industrial development on permafrost dynamics. His Ph.D. and later research emphasis, however, focused on Recreation Ecology of Polar Ecosystems – investigations on the environmental consequences of recreational activities at both ends of our planet.

Phil Wickens, PhD
Phil Wickens
Expedition Leader

Phil studied biology at Imperial College in London, England. After completing his PhD in plant pathology, he worked for two winters and three summers as a field guide for the British Antarctic Survey, combining his passion for natural science with that of mountain exploration and photography. He has led numerous climbing and skiing expeditions to Antarctica, Tibet, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Peru, East Greenland, the Caucasus and Canada, and was Vice President of the Alpine Club in 2006-7. Phil works as a freelance photographer, polar guide, expedition leader, naturalist and lecturer in expeditions, polar geology and history. When not working or playing in far-flung places he lives in England on the edge of Peak District National Park.

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