Outside story on the demise of Dean Cummings


Active member
Hard to read and very long story about how he went from winning Extreme Comp and having Alaskan heli company with best and most terrain in State to losing it all and being charged with 2nd degree murder. Mental illness can be very difficult to get help with when people that have it don't know or won't admit they have a problem. https://www.outsideonline.com/2421062/dean-cummings


Well-known member
Great read and reporting by the writer! Tragic story obviously.

I skied with Dean Cummings' H20 Guide heli operation for a few days in April 2015. Sad to see his business of 25 years disappear. However, it sounds like his illness allowed him to ostracize everyone in Valdez.

Also, skied with another heli operation Black Ops Valdez that 2015 trip (later returning in 2016). The following tidbit is interesting:

Cummings also battled Josh Swierk, who bought a neighboring piece of land from the Cummingses and proceeded to launch a competing heli-ski company, Black Ops Valdez, in 2013. Swierk and his wife, Tabatha, who worked for H2O in 2004 when they moved to town, say they called the police on Cummings more than 100 times, mostly for noise-ordinance violations.

My issue with the H2O operation was it took too long to stage groups into their terrain during a storm break window. By the time everyone was out skiing, weather could move it and close the window.