We sat down (virtually) to catch up with our long-time Voile ambassadors, Shaun and Weston Deutschlander to talk about their relationship with Voile, as well as the history behind Inspired Summit Adventures- their Uinta+Wasatch guide operation founded by Shaun eight years ago.
Weston joined The V Team 6-7 years ago. Back then Shaun was skiing for Blizzard but she switched to Voile about four years ago. According to Shaun, she joined The V Team by riding Weston’s coattails. However, her resume as a professional big mountain skier, former World Telemark Freeskiing Tour athlete, and her list of skiing accomplishments made her an impressive addition to the team.
V: Tell us about your relationship with Voile.
S: Full transparency, I didn’t think I would like your (Voile) skis. I’d never skied Voile, but I just didn’t think I’d like cap construction because prior to that I had only skied sandwich construction skis. And that first season (with Voile) I was like, “Holy crap.” I’m 5’8 and not a little girl and I like to ski like a big girl. I was blown away. They let me lay up a pair of custom V8 Skis. It was a rippin ski and I was hooked. Then I made it official with you guys and it’s been like that ever since.
V: So as a professional ski guide, your ambassador position is rather unique?
S: Yeah, one of the cool things about our position being owners of a guide service is seeing how many of our clients have now become Voile skiers exclusively just from going out with us. It’s cool, it’s different. Back in the day, the marketing tools were magazines and interviews and all that kind of stuff, before social media was so popular. Both of us came from that background. This (guiding and representing Voile) feels a lot more meaningful than what we used to do.
V: How’d Inspired Summit Adventures come to be?
S: Guiding is pretty much the only job I’ve had. My whole life I’ve been a mountain guide in different varieties. I had a lot of return clients who kept saying things like, “What you’re doing isn’t really what they are selling at the company you work for.” Or “You’ve got something else going on. You should try this opportunity on your own.” Finally, I just had enough nudging and fostering of my own ambition that I went off on my own and was like, “Ok I’m gonna start this.”
So I started Inspired Summit Adventures in 2012 with a focus on connecting people to nature and through our exploration of being in nature, we can then facilitate personal growth and awareness. That still runs in the core values of the company, however, we’ve become more focused on high-end active experiences. So that’s how it started and evolved organically.
W: We’ve diversified.
V: A guiding operation owned by a married couple sounds like a rom-com ski movie? How did this happen?
S: Weston and I were dating in 2012, soon to be married. When we got married, we were both still keeping a foot in the door as professional skiers. I came from a competitive side of skiing and Weston came more from marketing (film and photography). We both decided we wanted to go more into the ski thing together and that’s kind of how we ended up guiding together.
W: Yeah I think it was a super organic thing. We might have been professional skiers but paying the bill was not. I was waiting tables so I could ski every day and the older I got, Shaun was like “Eh you’re done working at nights. You could be around more.” It was a very natural transition.
Also, a big part is that Shuan has been doing avalanche education for over a decade. I frequently ride her coattails, and avalanche education was one of those. We were doing avalanche education, we were starting to guide, we started working at PC Powder Cats as Cat Ski guides ( I again riding her coattails got my foot in the door out there.) So it was a very organic shift from going out skiing in front of the camera to going out skiing with clients. To be able to pay the bills but also share that stoke with people has been an organic evolution for us. We also love taking pictures of clients!
V: Did you start Inspired Summit Adventures in the Uintas or Wasatch?
S: Because of the permitting issues in the Forest Service (we won’t dive down that political rabbit hole) *laughs* it was difficult to be a young startup with no prior experience. I couldn’t get a permit off the bat. I had to show I had previous guiding years under me.
We are really lucky in Park City because we have a lot of locally-owned public lands so that we are able to recreate. So at first, we were just guiding mountain biking and hiking trips locally. Then really for all of the winter experiences, we were more like a concierge, directing people to PC Powdercats since we were both full-time lead guides out there, and avalanche education through White Pine Touring which is an AIARE provider up here in PC.
Once we got some years under our belt, we were able to run the short-lived human-powered operation out at PC Powdercats on their private Thousand Peaks Ranch. That was great because we had three years of running that program and then we were able to get our own permit. Once we got our own permit, we were able to operate out in the western Uintas. Year one of permitting, (so like year four of the business) was just the Uintas. It’s been like Weston said, organic.
The big thing for me has always been wanting it (Inspired Summit Adventures) to stand on its own. I’ve always wanted people to be drawn to Inspired Summit Adventures because it is powerful in itself. I didn’t want to take on a big investor or open up the doors in this grandiose way. I wanted it to just evolve and so with that, there’s been so many chapters already in our short eight-year history, because as it turns out, growth has a lot of change.
The Uintas were always my focus and gold standard. The Wasatch is a really cool and really unique range but the Uintas have had my heart forever – ever since I saw them when I was 15 I’ve been totally obsessed.
V: So I bet you guys know that area pretty well?
W: We are getting there, but there are some old-timers out there that really have the knowledge. And if you talk to them, your jaw is on the floor.
S: It’s pretty cool because it’s still such a relatively underexplored range.
W: And it’s a tight community too. One of our favorite things is the exploration. Don’t get me wrong, guidebooks are cool, it’s fun to get beta and trip reports and stuff like that, but when you go out there and you’re like, “Ok all I had was Caltopo or my phone with a map to figure it out,” that’s so cool. Does it go, goes it not go? You gotta be prepared if it goes sideways and it’s gonna take 6 hours to get here.
V: Do you guide all over the Uintas?
S: Yeah, our permit includes the Smith and Morehouse zone and everything just across the way from PC Powder Cats, south to the Mirror Lake zone, and a little bit further into Grandaddy Basin.
W: But usually we start at mid-winter in Smith and Morehouse where it’s a little bit mellower terrain. Then we will transition to the Mirror Lake side and the high Uintas as spring progresses. It’s really cool because it’s always a different experience out there. Then we also have the Wasatch which we got our permit for two years in a row which is really awesome!
V: How do you usually split the season between the two (Uintas vs Wasatch)? Is it just depend on where the clients want to ski?
S: We run both pretty much simultaneously. The Wasatch really turns on so much earlier, even on a bad year, than the Uintas just from its proximity to the Great Salt Lake. They just tend to get more moisture and there’s easier access to high alpine terrain. We will start the season in the Wasatch in November and then, usually toward the end of December, we can start playing around in the Uintas. April through May we really focus out in the Uintas and do some big mountaineering objectives.
W: But I’d say we both personally try to stay out of the Wasatch. We only go there when we both have to work. The Uintas are just so fun and exploratory and there’s no people.
S: There were no people. And then COVID hit, so we will see what happens. The Uintas are really intriguing to both of us. There’s not books like the Chuting Gallery about skiing out there. We have opportunities to ski first descents. It’s just neat to be somewhere where you’re on top of peaks where you don’t see a city.
V: What’s your go-to equipment for various days out there?
W: My everyday ski is/has been/might always will be the V8. I love that ski. That’s the most versatile ski for me. Although, I have been doing a lot on the SuperCharger. I really, truly only ski two different skis: the V8 and SuperCharger. On bigger touring days I’ll take out my SuperChargers. And on massive trail-braking days or just deep days, I’ll take out my V8s. They are so not broke and they so do not need fixing.
S: I’m a HyperCharger girl all the way. Those (HyperCharges) and the V8s are my two go-tos. I actually try to rock the V8 at the beginning of the season as much as possible – every day – to try and get my legs strong. And the V8s are definitely for when I am downhill minded. They are just a little bit beefier, allow me to go a little bit faster, support me on harder turns, and more versatile conditions.
And then the HyperChargers are more like when it’s only February but it’s day 100 and my legs are tired, yet they still ski really fun. I am shocked I like a hyper-light ski. It’s definitely not traditionally been my forte… I’ve typically rolled my eyes and been like, “That’s not for me.” But I’ve been blown away. And especially when we turn the corner for spring. When ski mountaineering season starts up, it’s not about the skiing- you’re usually skiing crap snow. Yet so many times I’m like, “I can’t believe these skis feel as great as they do.”
W: They really bridge multiple seasons.
S: And then all my skis on my quiver outside of that really never get touched. I’m really excited for that Manti. It’s a really cool dimension and I’m super excited to get on it and see how it feels.
V: Being professional guides and passionate skiers, it’s probably safe to say Shaun and Weston spend more time in their ski boots than not. Their time spent skiing the Wasatch and exploring the Uintas is impressive to put it mildly, but this is only half of the story… Be sure to read ISA Part 2 next week to learn about their uniquely-customizable approach to guiding, and well as other opportunities with ISA to expand your backcountry skillset and venture deeper into the remote pockets in Utah. Stay tuned to learn why you should consider signing up for an ISA program whether it be Backcountry Mentorship, Spring Ski Mountaineering Camp, guided yurt trips, or lift and sled-accessed touring.
About the Authors
Location: Park City, UT
Facebook Business Page: Inspired Summit Adventures
Living each moment to it’s fullest has lead Shaun on this wild journey. From NY to Colorado to now Utah, she has spent over a decade chasing her dreams. Shaun’s passion for skiing is what has been the engine behind her actions. First as a big mountain competitive skier, then sponsored pro, to now avalanche educator, guide, and business owner. It is even how she and her husband, Weston D met. Now living in Park City with their two dogs and daughter, Shaun continues to pursue her dreams whether as a big mountain skier, web series co-creator, AIARE avalanche instructor, backcountry and cat ski guide or owner of a wellness guiding company, Inspired Summit Adventures. She began this journey with nothing more than a dream of becoming a professional skier not sure where it would lead, but today finds herself humbly sitting amongst many of her heroes living the dream.
Location: Park City, UT
Facebook Business Page: Inspired Summit Adventures
Weston is one of the smarter New Yorker's and fled the state as soon as he could. After arriving in Utah, the snow addiction took a firm hold. Once he learned the freedom of a beacon, probe, shovel, skins and a good partner, he started venturing further and further off the beaten path. Today Weston spends his summers and winters guiding all while trying to play as much as possible on the side.