Our Guides

Ari Stiassny

Ari Stiassny

Born and bred in Alaska, Ari has been an Alaskan ski bum and river rat since earning his biology degree from Whitman College. He met his wife, Melanee on top of Cornbiscuit Mountain in the Chugach Range while ski touring and they have two adventurous young kids, Mia and Col Dov, and a new baby born April 22, 2015, Taz.

Ari has worked seasonally as a commercial fisherman in Bristol Bay and Prince William Sound, fish biologist on the Yukon River, remote fly fishing guide in western Alaska, and ski guide in the Chugach. He has called Girdwood’s Glacier Valley home since 2006 and believes there is no better mountain town in Alaska.

Melanee Stiassny

Melanee Stiassny

Melanee was raised in the Talkeetna mountains, exploring Hatcher Pass and beyond. She has climbed and skied on Denali, been a raft and ski guide in Girdwood for over seven years, and has taught piano and guitar lessons since she was 15. She was known locally as “Supergirl,” playing in the Moby & Supergirl Show prior to giving up the limelight. She was asked to be on the National Geographic Reality TV Series that her father, Marty Raney, stars on, but told the producers “I don’t own a TV and don’t want to be on TV.”

Melanee loves sharing the magic of Alaska with visitors young and old. In 2013, she guided retired Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, unbeknownst to her until the end of the trip, and was told she was one of the most inspiring women that she had met in Alaska.

Justin Siemens

Justin Siemens

Justin has been guiding for three years. Justin’s favorite activity is snowboarding in the winter and rafting in the summer. He is also a sucker for a snowmachine ride through Hatcher Pass on a sunny blue-bird day – can’t beat it! Justin was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. Most of his family also grew up here with his grandfather’s roots going back to 1950. Some of Justin’s most notable experiences while guiding would be the Twenty Mile River Heli-Assisted rafting trip in summer of 2013. He has also done various expeditions throughout southern Alaska, his favorite being the Little Nelchina to Tazlina River. During the 2013 season, he ran sixteen different Alaskan rivers.

Erin Henszey

 

 

Erin Henszey

Before Erin became Queen of Spencer Lake, she guided in Talkeetna & Copper Center rowing on the Talkeetna, Chulitna, Klutina, Tazlina, and Copper Rivers among others.  Erin has lived in Fairbanks, Talkeetna, and now calls our sleepy little ski town of Girdwood, Alaska home. When she’s not showing the boys out on the river how it is done, Erin is a student finishing up her super senior year at UAA, and a lifelong student and practicioner of yoga. She has become the Chugach Adventures personal yoga instructor, one of the original instructors at the Girdwood Yoga Shack, and new this season starting up our newest Wilderness Yoga outing at Spencer Glacier.!

Corey Anderson

Corey Anderson

Corey has been a guide for over ten years; kayaking , rafting, & skiing from Southeast Alaska to Southcentral Alaska and the Chugach Mountains. His hobbies include anything H20… either sliding down it in frozen form or floating on it with the flow of gravity. Corey was drawn to Alaska by it’s combination of mountains and ocean in the same geographic locale. One of the highlights of his outdoor experiences includes a multi-week sea kayaking expedition circumnavigating Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Corey is also a top notch photographer, most of the photos from this website come from his portfolio.

Check out his website at www.coreyandersonphotography.com for some more amazing AK photos. He enjoys getting up close in front of glaciers that are thousands of years old in kayaks, rafts, canoes, or on foot; with his camera ready.

Kat Jacobs

Kat Jacobs

Kat is in her second year of rafting. She enjoys Skiing, fishing, camping, and running with her dogs. Kat worked in Antarctica for two seasons (she even has a tattoo of it & icebergs) where she met some folks who introduced her to how wonderful Alaska is. She decided to spend two summer seasons working here, and suddenly 6 years later she’s still calling Alaska home! She loves spending her days off on the Kenai and Russian river.

Illiya Pekich

 

 

Illiya Pekich

Extraordinary Guide, Trip Leader, Ultimate Salmon Baker, and lifelong Alaskan adventurer.  All of us at Chugach Adventures’ aspire to live life as full & fun as Illiya.  He is a mentor & inspiration to all guides at CA and a friend to everyone that meets him.

 

 

Daniel Pekich with his Father Illiya

Daniel Pekich

 

Daniel is our youngest, but  smartest guide.  He attends Willamette College in Oregon.  His explanation of blue ice is unmatched and his slam poetry, lyrics about Trestle Rapids are priceless.

Saraj Gottstein

Saraj Gottstein

Saraj is a 4th generation Alaskan bringing laughs and good times to every adventure. Born and raised in Girdwood, Ak, she is never too far away from fun. She is a outdoors kind of gal with experience ranging from guiding rafts down the Grand Canyon, to floating rivers, backcountry/heli skiing, and hiking in Alaska- she is ready to explore! Saraj is currently is studying to receive her Master’s Degree in Wilderness Therapy.

Emily Decker

Emily Decker

Emily grew up exploring the wilderness that is the last frontier.  She has been guiding kayaking, climbing, and camping trips throughout South Central Alaska for the past 3 summers, and adventuring around the state for as long as she can remember.  Currently studying Environmental Studies and Community Health at Tufts University in Boston, Emily enjoys skiing, backpacking, all things water, and anything that involves drinking coffee.

Molly Liston

Molly Liston

Molly grew up in Homer, Alaska, where the forest came down into her backyard, and Roseburg, Oregon, where the Pacific Crest Trail meandered only about 2 hours from her home. Her parents inoculated in her the skills to get outside by taking Molly and her siblings skiing as early as 3 years old. For Molly, the outdoors is not just a hobby. During the winter, Molly works as the Physical Education teacher at Pacific Northern Academy in Anchorage, Alaska. And when she’s not guiding in the summer, she’s helping teach outdoor classes at University of Alaska – Anchorage.