HOMETOWN: Johnson, VT | HOME BASE: Truckee, CA
Hi, I’m Zeb Blais ( /blāz/ ). As a skier, mountaineer and guide I love exploring mountains all over the world. I grew up in Johnson, Vermont, hiking the Long Trail, cross country skiing and winter camping in -20F temperatures. I began alpine skiing at age 15 and my interest in mountains skyrocketed. An early trip to Jackson, Wyoming made me realize I had a lot to learn about snow, skiing and climbing.
I took my first avalanche and first responder courses soon after that trip where I dug into snowpack, companion rescue and first aid (pun intended...sorry). After a season of ski patrolling on the east coast, the draw of the west’s big mountains and deep snow was too much to resist. I moved to Squaw Valley where I ski patrolled for 10 years.
The Sierras were my training ground and I spent every free moment on skis, climbing and skiing in Tahoe and the Range of Light. My love for the mountains soon became a year-round obsession and I began guiding on Mount Shasta. Guiding bigger and more involved climbs became my goal after an icy, late season ascent of Mount Rainier. Guiding has taken me all over the world including the summits of Denali, Cotopaxi, Pico de Orizaba, Aconcagua and others.
An opportunity to ski guide Ecuador’s high volcanoes came my way and this opened a door with Alpenglow Expeditions. In May 2016, I successfully guided clients to the top of Mount Everest with the company. In fall 2016, I lead a ski expedition to the world’s 6th highest peak, Cho Oyu (8,201m). My client and I summited and skied from the top. Skiing a combination of knife hard wind board, champagne powder, blue ice and rocks, I skied back to Camp 1 without taking my skis off using fixed lines to get through the ice and rock.
My personal pursuits include skiing from the summits of Rainier, the Grand Teton, Denali, Orizaba (if you can get good skiing on this mountain lemme know...), Whitney, and a slew of other peaks. One of my favorite trips was skiing across the world’s longest non-polar glacier, Tajikistan’s Fedchenko, in a 29-day mission with a team from Canada in 2014.
My favorite climb is the one I'm on and my favorite socks are Darn Tough.