Jim Conway has been involved in heli ski operations since 1991. Starting as a pro athlete, then progressed from guide, lead guide, film guide, private guide, through operations manager and consultant. Glissemedia has the experience to help operators with a number of their operational concerns.
Glissemedia offers services to help operators with everything from documentation, mapping, safety presentations, to risk management reviews and HSOG compliance. We also are a resource on OSHA regulations that apply to the heli ski industry.
risk management consulting
operations plan creation
digital run book creation
safety briefing presentations
OSHA consulting and review
operational documents creation
Jim Conway came to Alaska to compete in the World Extreme Skiing Championships and began guiding film crews and other athletes around Valdez. He then became one of the original guides at Valdez Heli-Ski Guides with founder Doug Coombs and other guuides such as Theo Mieners, Mark Nucomb, Jeff Zell and more. This was Alaska's first commercially guided heli ski operation, and the worlds first steep skiing operation. During this period Jim specialized in exploring new terrain with private groups and film crews (such as Standard Films and TGR). Jim was also instrumental in developing many of the now standard field protocols and also the documentation and organization to increase operation efficiency and record keeping.
In 1999 Jim took a position as Lead Guide with Teton Gravity Research running their big mountain film shoots. TGR, unlike most film companies, decided to run all helicopter shoots in house with their own guides, permits and helicopter contracts (much like a commercial heli ski operation), During this stint Jim was responsible for:
During his days with TGR Jim guided locations all over Canada and Alaska, including:
Some of these had never seen heli skiing such as: Haines, Seward, and Petersburg.
During this period Jim was also retained by the USMC and others to give motivational talks on the successful risk management program developed during his tenure with Teton Gravity Research. The program has also so been viewed and vetted by other industrial risk management organizations as the Risk and Insurance Management Society, with Jim being the keynote speaker at the organizations state and regional conferences. The program was also presented to and vetted by the International Snow Science Workshop in 2004.
During his last year organizing trips for TGR he coordinated a shoot in the never before heli skied area of Petersburg, Alaska. This project involved close work with the local forest service and the mobilizing of all assets to that remote location.
In 2011 Jim worked as Operations Manager for Chugach Powder Guides. After organizing their work-flow and making improvements to safety communications and protocols. Duties performed included:
Jim returned to Valdez Heli-Ski Guides to consult with them on passing their Heli Ski US inspection. During this time Jim became very familiar with the HSOG's and other industry standards. Jim successfully walked VHSG through their inspection and was reinstated as a full member of Heli Ski US.
Jim was retained as the operations manager for Valdez Heli-Ski Guides. During this period Jim updated or streamlined many of the operations functions including:
Jim has continued consulting with VHSG on a number of projects since leaving to start his own operation (see below).
2015 to present
In 2015 Jim partnered with the owners of Winterlake Lodge and the former owner of Chugach Powder Guides to start Tordrillo North Ski and Snowboard Adventures northwest of Anchorage. This exclusive, private only heli ski experience features luxury accommodations, superb cuisine and other Alaska amenties such as dog sledding and snow machining. The field operation is limited to three groups and is based on clients needs, not a preset terrain agenda. The company makes use of elite guest guides working on commission to deliver the clients the experience THEY want. Jim's responsibilities at Tordrillo North Include:
This is an example of a small part of the VHSG run book. At Glissemedia we can produce detailed run books of your heli ski operations permit area. With easy to navigate map based navigation, these run books are easily deployed during guide meetings to discuss terrain and avalanche related issues.
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Above is just a slide show of part of the VHSG run book. When using the actual run book you simply click on the zone you want to review from the overview map, then click the arrow on the regional map that points to the face you want to look at. Some pics have areas delineated by dotted lines that when clicked allow you to zoom in. Others have an 'alt view' arrow that shows the run from a different angle. This is a VERY fast navigation process as has been proven usable and useful in guide meetings real time. We also have the ability to delineate runs, LZs, PZs, slide paths and other objective hazards (phase 2 for the VHSG run book). Call us for a demonstration.
Jim Conway brings over 20 years of heli ski experience from all over Alaska and Canada to the table. Combined with an industrial and military risk management background, Jim provides a wealth of experience in fine tuning and documenting heli ski risk management activities.
We are experts in operations plan generation and updating and are well versed in Heli Ski US Heli-ski Safety and Operations Guidelines (HSOGs). We make safety plans that represent your ACTUAL operations, and are more than just a document sitting on the shelf. Our Emergency Procedures section is designed based on years of experience in how heli ski operations work, and the stresses involved in rescue scenarios. We can generate employee handbooks and other operational documentation.
Let us develop or digitize your run book into an organized and easily accessed format that you can actually use in guide meetings. By using map based navigation, anyone can easily bring up the runs they are looking for. We can develop in a format that your team can edit or update.
Safety briefings need to educate your clients as to how to act in the mountains, and also to educate them as to the risks they are assuming. A graphic and highly engaging digital safety briefing will give you and your presenters consistent content delivery, and a documented format where no information is overlooked from presenter to presenter or day to say.
Effective documentation can both streamline your daily operational activities and cover your long term legal documentation requirements. Good documentation follows your companies natural work-flow. Good documentation can also redirect a team work-flow based on managements needs. We can cover you from operations to scheduling to booking.
Salt Lake City, UTAH
AAA professional member
HSUS level 3 guide
AAI level 2
25 years guide experience
film guiding specialist
TGR lead guide 12 years
Pro Rider Workshop creator