Professional educator, accomplished adventurer and celebrated storyteller Michael Ackerman hails from Colorado’s Western Slope. Embodying over two decades of professional backcountry experience, expert technical skills and hard-earned wilderness wisdom, Michael has made his mark as one of the preeminent adventure guides and outdoor instructors in the American West.
From high altitude glaciated peaks to remote desert canyons, down wild whitewater rivers and across remote alpine single track, Ackerman leads it all with a warm smile, a healthy dose of humor and an indefatigable devotion to the natural world.
Michael began snowboarding in 1986 and it was his love of sliding on snow that led to a life in the mountains. Since 1999, Ackerman has worked as a rock, mountain and river guide, professional ski patroller, avalanche educator, wilderness medicine trainer, SAR technician, Outward Bound instructor, collegiate faculty member and freelance photojournalist. He maintains an exemplary safety record and a distinguished resume of personal and professional expeditions.
Ackerman pursued his formal education at Prescott College, Fort Lewis College and Harvard University, has completed AIARE’s Level Three and Avalanche Instructor Training and has participated in the AMGA’s TRSM and Ski Guide courses.
When he’s not in the field with SJMG, Ackerman can be found producing digital art; utilizing writing, photography, audio and video pieces to share his story and the stories of others. He also enjoys conducting product research, testing and design for a myriad of outdoor equipment manufacturers and is an independently contracted safety officer and logistician for backcountry media projects and mountain film productions.
What do you love most about your job?
Empowering students so they can achieve their dreams. I feel incredibly blessed to meet, teach and work with so many amazing individuals.
Where do you live?
My wife Rachel and I inhabit a super plush, four season truck camper. In the winter, we live for powder days in the San Juan Mountains. In the warmer months, I guide backcountry mountain bike expeditions in UT and CO while based out of Moab.
Favorite place to travel/climb/ski?
The Great American West
Idea of a good time?
Pursuing human powered, multi-sport adventures with close friends in remote locations.
Hobbies? Passions? Interests?
Radical minimalism, terrestrial and aquatic adventures, playing music, reading non-fiction, fishing and firearms
Lofty summits, deep powder and big smiles.