Who we are
We are a group of experienced mountain guides and creative alpine experts with reliable helicopters to hand. We’re all good friends, too. And we run unique luxury ski adventures in and around the stunning European Alps. Throughout each safari, our qualified local UIAGM guides look after you and help you uncover local secrets and experiences far beyond what you’d find in a resort. We aim to cover every aspect of your journey: we’re experts not only in luxury but also safety in the alpine environment, culture, history, and we know how to blend them all seamlessly to make the most of your destinationDanielle Stynes was born in a small town in Australia, and is the founder and expedition leader of SwisSKIsafari. Danielle has spent some 13 years in Europe, merging her fascination for adventure and her career in tourism. She has worked all over the world, from the Ionian Islands, the Barrier Reef, and Brittany France, specialising in luxury travel from boats, bikes and helicopters. She is also a scuba diving, snowboard and ski instructor, though not all at the same time.
Her love of nature (and European culture) and curiosity has inspired her to absorb the beauty and traditions of the Alps. SwisSKIsafari lets you discover and share, in a small-group, these experiences to give guests an enriching and unique experience. The high respect she has developed with the people living in the region has enabled Danielle to employ guides locally so you can truly discover the richness and splendour few people can truly reveal of the European Alps. The amiable and friendly Roland was born in French-speaking Switzerland, near Lake Geneva. As a boy he dreamed of flying and started with planes when he was 18 and soon after obtained his helicopter pilots licence at 20. He is now a helicopter flight instructor and designated flight examiner, which means he's authorised to certify pilots as private or commercial aviators.
He has worked and taught his profession in the United States, Pakistan and Africa. Having flown the European Alps for over 20 years, notching up over 10,000 flying hours, his knowledge of the region is extensive.
There are 48 spots in the Swiss Alps where you can heli-ski, and he has flown them many times. His third winter with SwisSKIsafari, he flies a Eurocopter Ecureuil B3, one of the world's most powerful helicopters and the only type to have landed on the summit of Mt Everest. His job entails much variety and excitement, and Roland understands the thrills SwisSKIsafari clients enjoy. "The Alps", he says, "offers the best heli-ski opportunities because with each drop off point, there are many ski options available that can suit any level of skier, not just powder specialists. Robert Bolognesi, from Grenoble in France, moved to Switzerland to work for the Davos-based Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research.
Robert began as a ski patroller in the French Alps, where became interested in the science of snow and gained a PhD in snow forecasting. His 25 years of experience means that he is highly sought after by mountain guides, ski patrollers, ski instructors and engineers to advise on snow's characteristics and behavior, for example, how to avoid avalanche damage to roads, mountain passes, ski resorts and dams. Robert is also a regular guest on local radio and television shows, expounding this knowledge to a wide audience. His expert understanding of the winter environment helps people live and work in harmony with the Alps.
Additionally, Robert's experience of the local region and his analysis of the weather and snow conditions provides SwisSKIsafari expert analysis to find the best descents, and most importantly, to do them in complete safety. Seduced by his passion for the mountains while starting up as an architect, Edy Grange swapped buildings for boulders at the age of 23 and became a world-class UIAGM mountain guide. He has now spent 20 years escorting clients over all the classic Alpine routes, as well as South America’s giants such as Argentina’s Aconcagua, Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, Bolivia’s Sajama and Ecuador’s Cotopaxi. And the list goes on. After three years of Europe’s toughest mountain training he qualified in 1989, when he joined the world’s second oldest company of guides in Courmayeur and quickly worked his way up to Chief Guide. When it comes to mountain experience, climbing ice and rocks, and skiing any terrain, Edy can’t be beaten.
In 2000, the charming Edy qualified as a mountain rescue instructor, making him one of the safest climbing and ski companions in the alps. We are now proud to have him on our team of SwisSKIsafari guides, a role he seamlessly fits around his other passions: mountaineering, rock climbing, snowshoeing and looking after his Roman history obsessed son. A true character with hundreds of stories to tell, no-one forgets a ski safari with Edy. What do you do once you’ve climbed Everest without oxygen?
Maybe it was 20 years in the Italian military, which gave Alex Busca the determination to complete this awesome summit, and qualify through Europe’s strictest mountain guiding school. Maybe it was his love of adrenalin, and ability to climb huge distances in complete silence.
Whatever it was, he is now a world-class mountain guide and heli-pilot in the SwisSKIsafari team, having left army life behind him. Living once again in his hometown of Gressoney, in the Val d’Aosta, Alex says this is where he would like to grow old. And what better way to do that, than by using his global mountain experience to climb, ski and fly helicopters year-round in the Alps? Abele Blanc
How did we find him? Well, he found us really. While Abele was preparing for his 14th (yes, fourteenth) 8000 metre climb, he somehow found time to pursue meeting SwisSkiSafari. A lot of time. We were impressed. His generosity, and enthusiasm to introduce Danielle to the people and beauty of his home was contagious. Spending time with this constantly composed, compassionate person made her realise he would be the perfect addition to the SwisSkiSafari team. Abele proves our theory that the people who travel purely for passion and to achieve incredible feats, are also the people who enjoy sharing that passion with our guests. Travelling with Abele as your guide means experiencing the mountain as he does. Clemmie Harvey
Also known as "my angel" by Danielle, Clemmie is our behind-the-scenes top secret magic ingredient to our trips. She "gets" the philosophies and unique way in which SwisSkiSafari works, and manages to put into words the sometimes psychedelic visions of the founder of the company. Talented, quick as a whip and fun to work with, Clemmie is essential to keeping the team sane, on track and happy. We are not sure what we would do without her.