Affiliation: CASI – Certified Snowboard Instructors
Occupation: Outdoor Educator and Guide
Location: Yukon, Canada
Joined ExpertVoice: 2018
This month, we connected with Jake Wykes, an expert whose profile is filled with stunning night time stills, impressive landscape photos and impressive action shots that provide amazing visuals for his incredible stories. His experience with the outdoor industry and multiple brand certifications on ExpertVoice make him an excellent feature. Check out our interview with him on his career, favorite story and brands.
Starting off simple, where are you from?
“I was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon where I spent most of my free time as a child camping and exploring with my family and friends. This exposure to the wilderness at a young age sparked my passion for adventure and curiosity about the natural world. The Yukon is a wild place with endless opportunities to explore pristine nature; I consider myself extremely grateful to have grown up in such an amazing place that I still call home today.”
I see on your profile that you’re an outdoor educator and guide. Can you tell me a little more about what that means and what that’s like?
“My passion for adventure and the Yukon naturally led me to become a guide. Shortly after graduating high school, I attended a guide training program that provided me with valuable skills regarding group and risk management, technical skills and numerous certifications. Since then I have pursued work as a raft guide, hiking guide and tour guide, all allowing me to travel across the Yukon, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Alaska. I absolutely love this work as it’s challenging, engaging and extremely rewarding.
In addition to guiding I also teach river rescue, pack rafting, canoeing, kayaking and snowboarding. Through the winter months I work at the local ski hill where I teach downhill snowboarding and coach freestyle snowboarding for Snowboard Yukon, the territorial competitive team.”
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
“Guiding certainly isn’t easy, however, it fills my soul as I love meeting new people who are keen to learn and experience this beautiful place that I call home. By far the most rewarding part of my work is being able to share my passion for the Yukon and adventure with people who are interested and excited to share that experience.”
Since summer is here, what are your favorite products or brands currently on ExpertVoice you bring on your summertime adventures?
“I absolutely love my Garmin GPSMap 66i and never leave home without it! Here in the Yukon, cell service is only accessible in populated communities, leaving more than 90% of the territory out of service. I rely heavily on this device to communicate while on expeditions or just driving between communities. Garmin has really dominated the handheld navigation field and combined with the power of Inreach technology, it’s a no-brainer to include my 66i on all my trips! I am also looking at grabbing myself a Garmin watch in the near future to allow for quick and easy tracking features.
I also love my Scarpa KINESIS PRO GTX boots. I’ve only put two seasons on them but they have held up extremely well and are very comfortable. This is my go-to boot for multi-day backpacking trips! They provide high-quality ankle support when carrying a heavy pack and the Gore-Tex provides peace of mind no matter the conditions.”
You have so many stunning photos on your profile – do you have a favorite one with an amazing backstory?
“Picking favorites is so hard, but if I had to pick one it would be the photo I captured of my brother paddling amongst icebergs (see right). The natural arch within the iceberg allowed for the sun to shine right through and reflect off the meltwater dripping down. It was truly a surreal moment and one I will remember forever. We had packrafted for 5 days on 3 rivers to reach that location before being picked up by a float plane. We probably floated around that arched iceberg for an hour admiring its beauty before building camp. I am grateful to be returning to this glacial lake in July 2023 to seek out more photogenic icebergs!”
How do you think platforms like ExpertVoice help you and others make the outdoors more accessible?
“As a guide or simply as someone who enjoys spending time outdoors, I rely heavily on the gear I choose to pack. Whether it’s the clothes that keep me warm and dry, the pack that carries my gear or the stove I cook my meals on, I rely on these products to work where and when I need it, regardless of the conditions. I use ExpertVoice to learn what other professionals rely on to help me understand how to better prepare for my trips. This is extremely valuable for me as I like to look at numerous reviews to help guide my decision regarding a product I’m interested in. Additionally, the quality discounts allow me to purchase gear that might otherwise be out of my budget or try new things!”
Are you interested in joining a community of experts that are passionate about the same hobbies and interests as you? If you would like to lend your expertise to the ExpertVoice community and want access to hundreds of brand discounts, visit www.ExpertVoice.com to learn how to join. If you’re already on the platform and are interested in seeing more product recommendations like the ones Jake provided, visit his profile to check out more.
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