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.
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.
Born and bred in Alaska, Ari has been an Alaskan ski bum and river guide since earning his biology degree from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. Ari has worked seasonally as a commercial fisherman in Bristol Bay and Prince William Sound, a fish biologist on the Yukon River, a remote fly fishing guide in western Alaska, and a ski guide in the Chugach and now enjoys taking clients on Alaska Glacier Tours with Chugach Adventures.
He met his wife, Melanee on top of Cornbiscuit Mountain in the Chugach Range while ski touring and they have three adventurous young kids, Mia (13), Col Dov (10), and Taz (6). He has called Girdwood’s Glacier Valley home since 2006.
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.coreyandersonphoto.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.
Kyle jumped into guiding after leaving his master’s program in Fisheries & Wildlife Biology in 2009 seeking a career change that utilized his knowledge and experience in a more fun manner. Kyle has worked many tourism and service industry jobs since then but has returned back to his roots, rowing guests across glacial lakes and down wild rivers while showcasing his comprehensive knowledge of the local flora and fauna. Kyle joined Chugach Adventures in 2018 as a Lead Guide. He has rowed whitewater rivers all over the state and pack-rafted many more. Kyle has a passion for human-powered adventure and is aiming to complete a traverse from the Canadian border to the end of the Alaska Peninsula (~1200 miles) with his pack-raft one 14+ day trip at a time. Kyle brings hard-earned experience and knowledge to his tours along with a few “stories” of his own antics.
Jac is a 21 year old student who was born in Fairbanks, Alaska and has lived in the state his entire life. Jac grew up outdoors with his family. Often he would go kayaking, hiking, or doing other activities outside, and as a result, he feels deeply connected to Alaska. He is currently attends college classes at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and spends his summers enjoying the midnight sun.
Emily was born and raised in Girdwood, Alaska, and has been adventuring the surrounding mountains and rivers for as long as she can remember. For the past three years, Emily has been working at Chugach Adventures guiding and in the kitchen. She’s currently studying biochemistry at the University of Southern California, however will be back in Alaska to play in the outdoors all summer long. While she’s unsure where she wants to end up, she knows that she wants to keep adventuring as long as she can.
Jacobs first memories were shredding the slopes around his home town of Girdwood Alaska. Jacob has always had a passion for the outdoors including camping hunting and fishing across the great state he calls home. He is currently studying Civil and environmental engineering at the University of California Davis.
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 6 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.
Kendall began guiding with Chugach Adventures in 2018. She grew up running and skiing in Alaska’s playful mountains. She is a junior Biology major at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. In the summer, she spends her free time climbing, hiking and running with the midnight sun. At work, you can find her with coffee in one hand and a donut in the other.
Hannah is a born and raised Alaskan. Growing up in the mountains of Girdwood, competitive skiing she found her love for the outdoors. Hannah started guiding for Chugach Adventures in 2017. Currently studying Microbiology at the University of Vermont (Class of 2020). She is hoping to continue her studies in medicine after and come back to Alaska to work as a physician in the rural villages. She is CA’s dance party enthusiast, donut fanatic and loves her coffee.
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.
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.
In 2018, Molly welcomed the most adorable, Oakley Atlas Soronen, into this world. We hope to see her back on the rafting sticks this next season, but know she has bigger responsibilities with her little big guy now. Oakley joined us for his first rafting trip this past season as an infant only a couple months old.
Robert has been guiding with Chugach Adventures since 2017. He was born and raised in Alaska and spent his childhood adventuring throughout much of the country by snowmachine, snowboarding, backpack, sea kayak, raft and pack rafting. He graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2018 with a degree in Outdoor Leadership and Adminstration. He recently launched an adventure tour business called, Northern Exposure Adventure Tours, that specializes in snowmobiling tours in the winter. He is one of our lead kayak guides and a true capable Alaskan guide.
Past Guide – Kat Jacobs Cuthriell
Kat worked for Chugach Adventures for 3 years as an office & part-time guide. Her experience with Chugach Adventures helped her & her husband, Adam Cuthriell, launch Fish Hound Expeditions, a Fly Fishing Outfitter North on Willow Creek, who also operate remote fishing trips throughout Alaska. Kat still lives in Girdwood and occasionally part time guides and salmon bakes when we need her.
Past Guider: Eli Brudie
Eli started guiding with Chugach Adventures in 2018. He was born and raised in Alaska and spent most of his youth hiking and skiing in the outdoors. He is currently studying Hydrology at Colorado State University and aiming to work with the USGS. He’s had the opportunity to explore big rivers in Arizona and Idaho including, the Grand Canyon. In his family, he is considered to be an expert in making chocolate chip cookies and popcorn.
Past Guide – Justin Siemens
Justin has been guiding with Chugach Adventures since 2012. His favorite trip with Chugach Adventures is our remote Heli-Assisted 20 Mile River trip. Justin’s favorite activity is snowboarding or snowmachining(or together!) in the winter and pack rafting in the summer. In the winter, Justin is Operations Manager and Lead Guide for Glacier City Snowmobile Tours here in Girdwood. 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.
Justin Siemens and Erin Henszey own and operate Glacier City Snowmobile Tours. Justin was “Just-a-Guide” when he first started working for Twirl seven years ago – now he and his wife Erin have taken up partnership with Glacier City. They will continue to keep the torch alit as they fully take over Glacier City at the end of the 2020/2021 season.
Past Guide – Erin Henszey
Erin started guiding in 2011 in Talkeetna and later in Copper Center rowing the Talkeetna, Chulitna, Klutina, Tazlina, and Copper Rivers among others. She was raised in Fairbanks, but made Girdwood her home in 2014. Guiding with Chugach Adventures since 2013, she has enjoyed watching the business grow and guiding all the different trips. Erin’s parents wrote a field guide to Alaska’s grasses and loves all plants that flourish in the short Alaskan summers. In the off-season she teaches yoga/children and in 2020 purchased Glacier City Snowmobile Tours with her husband, Justin.
Past Guide: Daniel Pekich
Daniel rowed with us for 4 seasons. He was one of our youngest guides starting as High School Senior & Rowing for thee years during College Summers while attending Willamette College in Oregon. He graduated in 2017 from Willamette and started a career in the tech computer sector in Portland. We miss him and hope to have him back as a cameo guide each & every year. His explanation of blue ice is unmatched and his slam poetry, lyrics about Trestle Rapids are priceless.