2005 - Higher Ground

Higher Ground - 2005

Warren Miller's Higher Ground chronicles a dedicated band of the world's most acclaimed winter sports athletes as they crisscross the globe in search of new and more thrilling ways to experience the ride. For extreme sports athlete Dave Barlia this meant flying 10 feet off the ground at 130 miles per hour, over the slopes of Chamonix. World cup mogul champion and Olympian Jeremy Bloom had a "life-changing experience" when he went heli-skiing for the first time in the wild backcountry of British Columbia.

Set against an adrenaline-pumping soundtrack, legendary athletes—such as big mountain skiers Jeremy Nobis and Seth Morrison, ski-base jumping innovator Shane McConkey, and the sport’s hot-dogging icon, Glen Plake—take us with them on their never-ending quest to reach higher ground.




Wish I could remember back that far. The photos are awesome. I do remember losing my sick Oakley blades I won when I was 10. Damn, I miss those still. I remember sleeping in the car a lot on long drives.


What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

Gold Medal


Any nicknames?

Jmo, JBAM, Slomo, Motown (Karaoke AE), Mozor, Kzor, Mose, Jonathan, Jonny F-in Moseley, Stinky


Favorite ski films?

Extreme WinterBlizzard of AhhhsDegenerates, and Art of Flight.



Current favorite piece of gear? Why?
Marker Duke Bindings. They have opened up the world to me. I can look at things differently now with this AT set up.

How do you like spending your down days?
Movies, writing and working on my Youth Project. I have a foundation for kids.

Fondest memory from learning to ski or ride?
My fondest is my earliest. Riding on my dad's back down a bump run. I was less than a year old and remember everything about one portion of it.

Do you have any hidden talents?
Music... The need to create and inspire music through amazing artists.

What would your superpower be?
Climbing; Spiderman skills

Spirit animal?

What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
They are all connected. So I'm proud of the battle and I'm still here and still battling.

Do you have any pets? What are their names?
No...used to...I have plants now. The same two plants for 28 years.

Can you speak any other languages? What other languages would you like to learn?
I would love to learn Italian. I go to Italy twice a year

What is your biggest goal/something you hope to achieve in your ski career?
I want to be in influence. That somehow my combination of experiences inspire others to love this sport or the lifestyle involved.

Where would you like to ski that you haven’t been to before?
New Zealand

Who has been the biggest influence to you in your ski career?
Too long to list

Where is your absolute favorite spot for après-ski?
Whistler Village

What is the worst skiing injury you have ever had?
2 blown knees, but they're not so bad.

What is something you wish you had more time for outside of skiing?


Favorite music to ride to:


What is your favorite Peak and why?

There are so many to list but I would say Pontoon, Sphinx and Meteorite would be at the top. They are 3 of the biggest peaks in the Chugach, very esthetic and part of the "holy grail".

What is the one thing you look forward to most after a long day on the Mountain?

Being with my family and all our guests coming home safe and sound after experiencing the "best day of their life".

What do you do in the off-season?

I am obsessed with flying my 180 Cessna Airplane. I am a true believer in Crossfit (Avalanche and Blizzard in Tahoe), mountain bike and of course spend a ton of time with my 2 year old Kinley Drake and wife Jessica

You own and run the largest heli-ski operation in the US, how did you and Jessica get the idea an initiate to star PNH?

I had been visiting Valdez for years and knew I wanted to start a heli ski operation. There were over 5 operations in Valdez so I rented a fixed aircraft and flew the Chugach to Cordova where I saw the Orca Adventure Lodge. I knew this was the perfect location for a heli ski operation as it's 30 miles as the crow flies from Valdez but the only operation in Cordova. We truly have a chunk of the Chugach to ourselves. The Orca Adventure Lodge is the ideal setting, 2 miles from town located directly on Prince William Sound with the Chugach in our backyard. We are truly all-inclusive with 3 beautiful A-Stars out our front window, there is no driving up a pass to see if we are flying or not. 

What was the highlight of filming the Points North segment for Flow State?

Skiing with Mitch Toelderer and Travis Ganong. These 2 guys have such great energy. It was pretty cool spending time in the Chugach with Mitch who has been coming to PNH for years and Travis who was a 1st timer in the Chugach. 



What is your biggest fear?

Heights, believe it or not.

What are you rockin’ to on your music player?

This is a tough question I always get asked, as I like so much different music. I am a big playlister! 

How would your friends describe you in one word?  


What’s your favorite drink? Favorite food?

I used to be obsessed with purple Gatorade but I got a bit upset when my buddy Ingrid pointed out that there is high fructose corn syrup in it so not sure now. Fav food... so many. I love Sushi, Mex, Thai and Italian.

If you weren't a pro skier what would you be doing?

Making lot's of $$$$.

What is your most treasured possession?

My bear I have had since I was born, "bearbe".

Of Warren Miller’s 60 ski films, which one is your favorite?  

I really liked Impact.

Describe a day in the life of a PNH guide.

Day in my life as a PNH guide: Go to bed well after midnight as my husband, partner in crime, Kevin is still looking at weather for the next day. Wake up at 5pm, as once again, weather needs to be looked at. 6:30am guide meeting, 7am: get my group together and go over the day. 7:30: inhale an egg sandwich standing up. 7:30: get ready (the night before I have set everything out, and made sure I am ready for the next fly day!) 8am go to office and organize the radio duties for the day and make sure the PNH staff staying at base are set for the day. 8:30: meet my group, give them their lunch, go over order of loading once more, check their beacons (I have long since made sure their bindings, equipment and backpacks are ready for the day) and get ready for the best day ever. 9ish - 5ish work together with the other guides in the helicopter, access snow and snow-pack, dig snow-pits, test slopes, make sure every member in my group is safe, load and unload the helicopter 24 plus times, talk to the pilots, check in on base, make sure everything is going well, make sure my group is getting the terrain they came after, eat lunch on a peak, fly home to the most amazing sunset over Prince William Sound you will ever see, get out of the heli, high 5 everyone. 8-9ish: have dinner with the most energetic, electric group ever. 9-10ish: make sure the office is packed up for the day. Midnight: pass out with dreams of the Chugach and doing the same thing tomorrow! 

When would be the best time of year to take a PNH heli-skiing trip and why?

Honestly, the Alaska season is so short that there is not a "best week" to come. February / March has shorter daylight hours and colder temps. You are able to ski most aspects and the snow tends to be lighter deep powder. Late March / April has longer daylight hours which optimizes your time in the helicopter. There are days when it clears at 2pm and we are able to launch groups into the field, as the sun does not set until 10pm. The temps are warmer at this time limiting the aspects you can get on. The snow is still amazing (we had a 4ft storm last April 23) and it's classic Chugach! I tell people that if they have never been to Alaska, come late March / April so you can truly experience Alaska and all it has to offer with the long daylight hours! We have a pretty cool feature on our website "zone report". It's a report from our days in the zone and at base camp. It allows guests to see what we are up to, how the weather and conditions are and to go back to the archives and see what weeks had more sunshine, snow, etc. Check it out! http://www.alaskaheliski.com/blog/

Current favorite piece of gear? Why?
My Marker Kingpin bindings on Volkl BMT 122 skis--pure freedom for going uphill easily and then charging downhill that makes for the best backcountry days.

How do you like spending your down days?
If I'm not skiing, I like to go skate skiing near our house, or for a long walk outside. I'll probably take some time to make a nice dinner and spend some time on the computer. This winter's down days will be spent with the baby!

Fondest memory from learning to ski or ride?
Getting bribed to stay on the hill longer with M&Ms.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I'm a good speller.

What would your superpower be?

Spirit animal?

What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Actually having a career from skiing is what I am most proud of!

Any pre-riding or skiing rituals or superstitions?

Do you have any pets? What are their names?
We have an Australian shepherd dog named Buddy.

Can you speak any other languages? What other languages would you like to learn?
I speak some French and a tiny bit of German and Spanish. It would be pretty awesome to speak Chinese I think.

What is your biggest goal/something you hope to achieve in your ski career?
To help get more people into skiing and help promote safe skiing.