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Guide Life: Jeff Hoke

Story by Jonathan Desabris

Men and women who commit their lives to the mountains are a unique breed of human. They stand apart from the rest, combining prodigious talent with countless hours of dedication to safely take others into the mountains. They inspire, inform, and impart the passion in lives that they touch. "Guide Life" is a series dedicated to sharing the stories of these special few.

Last winter a crew of TGR athletes that included Sam Smoothy, Angel Collinson, and Johnny Collinson headed to Alaska in the middle of January. The goal? To ski elusive south-facing lines in the weak winter sun. January in Alaska is a harsh time of the year, marked by short cold days. On average you may only have a fleeting five hours of sunlight which makes filming a ski segment especially difficult. In order to succeed we needed the help of someone intimate with the area and knowledgable in the mountains. We found that and more in Jeff Hoke.

Jeff Hoke is a world-class snowboarder, heli ski-guide, and elite firefighter - a true Alaskan Renaissance Man. He transplanted to Alaska when he was young, quickly becoming enamored with the high white peaks that surround Anchorage. He was drawn to the mountains, hoping to pursue snowboarding professionally, when an injury made him consider a career as a firefighter. In that work, he found a purpose and a skill that he continues today, working to handle the direst emergencies in Anchorage.

In the winters he can be found guiding for Chugach Powder Guides all while balancing his career as a firefighter. Jeff effortlessly bounces between these two environments. He was an essential cog to our success filming last year and shared his quiet wisdom with the entire team during our time in Girdwood. This inaugural episode of Guide Life explores the essence of Jeff's life and how he handles the challenges of the firehouse and the mountains. 

The man, they myth. Jeff Hoke. Nic Alegre photo.

Light like this was the reason TGR wanted to film in Alaska during January. Jeff was essential part of the team that was able to capture lines like those pictured. Nic Alegre photo. 

Hoke doesn't need a heli to access rad zones. Here he is at the top of hillclimb near his home of Girdwood, Alaska. Nic Alegre photo. 

Jeff drops off Sam and Johnny for a heavy run in the Chugach. Nic Alegre photo. 

Jeff checking out scout photos during a down day in the CPG (Chugach Powder Guides) Hangar. Nic Alegre photo. 

Flying back to Girdwood after a long day in the mountains with Jeff and Chugach Powder Guides. Nic Alegre photo.