Jessica Baker is a former World Tour Freeskiing Champion, year-round mountain guide, backcountry ski guide, professional ski instructor, heli-ski guide, and founder of Ski Divas Women’s Ski Camps (skidivas.com). Jessica has been passionate about snow science and avalanche education ever since she started skiing in the backcountry in the Selkirk Mountains of North Idaho where she grew up. Jessica has skied all over the world including first descents in the Tetons, Sawtooths, Chugach, and Wrangell mountain ranges. Jessica currently resides in Jackson, WY among the Tetons, and in her coveted free time enjoys climbing and skiing with her husband, gardening, yoga, and exploring the world with her two young daughters.
What avalanche courses do you teach?
What is your favorite snow story?
I remember the first season I worked up in Alaska as a heli-ski guide, I was blown away at the terrain and the incredible ability for the snow to sinter so well to such steep terrain. “Chugach magic” was what everyone called it. But as I delved deeper into each following season, I also became very aware of the instabilities that can exist in the Chugach snowpack. I remember watching a class 5 avalanche release (due to a massive serac fall) across multiple ridgelines, taking out the entire snowpack across 3 mountains, and watching the debris cross over a half a mile out into the Tonsina glacier. That is when I realized how much respect those mountains require, and that really we are mere visitors passing through a world full of wonder, awe, and raw power, indifferent to those who pass through.
What was the path that led you to avalanche education?
I have always loved the mountains. My interest in backcountry skiing started at a young age. My very first avalanche instructor was Rod Newcomb, his passion for snow science and avalanche safety helped feed my passion for the topics, and I am still so excited about snow science and avalanche education to this day.
Why do you enjoy teaching?
I want to share my personal experiences and knowledge to help others make better decisions in the backcountry and empower people to learn more.
What do you do with your offseason?
I spend most of my spring skiing in Alaska and the Arctic, and then I work as an alpine climbing guide and climbing guide for Exum Mountain Guides in the summer, I try to take a little time off with my family in the Fall to reset and do it all over again in the following year.
Courses With AAI
Our instructors are the core of your experience with the American Avalanche Institute. They bring the science and knowledge of avalanche safety to life in real-world settings. If you’re interested in learning more from Jake, or one of our other amazing instructors check out our full course offerings today.