then convinced him to move to Utah, where he says he fell in love with freeskiing again, thanks to bombing terrain and powder at Snowbird, Alta, and Park
City, as often as he could.
Eventually, he took a job with the Snowbird ski patrol, which — through
a series of connections — led to his guiding at Ruby. Coriell says patrolling
was exceptional preparation for guiding because (especially at a resort like
Snowbird) you learn essentials for big mountain gigs: medical know-how, of
course, combined with much needed avalanche forecasting and control work.
But his ski racing past in particular served him well in
both patrolling and guiding.
“Beyond the obvious — that racing made me a sound
skier — some other racing-related things apply to what
I do every day,” Coriell says. “More than anything it’s the
awareness level, the attention to detail. Being a guide or
ski patroller is a lot like having to inspect, say, a down-
hill. You’ve got to take in terrain and measure variables
in a way that [mostly comes naturally to former alpine
Maintaining the unique perspective of having been
both a coach and athlete, Coriell says he’s seen too
many kids and families stay focused on ski racing re-
sults without placing enough emphasis on the journey.
“I think people put a little too much emphasis on one
race or result or series sometimes,” Coriell says. “I feel
like it’s a great sport, and the process can lead to a life
in the sport if you want, but other unique opportunities
show up if you keep your eyes open. It’s not the be-all,
end-all if you don’t make the U.S. Ski Team.”
Coriell chuckles on that last note.
“I worked on the Snowbird ski patrol with a group of former ski racers from
all over the country,” Coriell says, still laughing. “A few years ago, we hung a
Bode Miller quote on the patrol shack from Ski Racing. I can’t remember the
exact words, but he said something like, ‘If you can’t make it in ski racing, join
the ski patrol.’ It’s true, we need good skiers on the patrol.”
For more on Nevada’s Ruby Mountain Heli-Experience, visit helicopterskiing.com
paddled the globe. He was a world-
class competitor in the 1990s and has since explored
remote waters as both a film star and an environmental
advocate. He was featured in a film from The North
Face paddling through untouched wilderness in Russia
and Norway. He paddled British Colum-
bia’s big water in “Amongst It.” And he
more recently worked on a documentary
called “The Romaine Complex,” which
raised awareness about the environmen-
tal ramifications of existing and proposed
hydroelectric dams on some of Quebec’s
most pristine rivers.
“A lot of people don’t realize [how vast
and beautiful Quebec is],” says Coriell.
“It has some of the most incredible
rivers in the world. I’ve been working
on awareness projects — films, and
even some writing — on the systematic
damming of those waters. You can find
a little more information on some of the
stuff we’re doing up there by visiting
In addition to his conservation efforts, Coriell is also
giving back to his local community.
Coriell lives in McCall, Idaho, when he’s not guiding
clients through the snow for Ruby Mountain Heli-
Experience. With his girlfriend, Melissa Newell, he
established McCall Kayak Club, a nonprofit paddling
organization that serves area youth by getting them
onto the river waters of the Payette River Valley
— and helping them appreciate a natural world he
hopes they’ll grow up to protect.