The New Year rings in exciting changes at Sawtooth Mountain Guides!


We are very pleased to announce that Ketchum-based guide Niels Meyer has become a new co-owner of Sawtooth Mountain Guides. Niels partners with long-time mountain guide and Hailey resident Erik Leidecker, a co-owner of SMG since 2003. Niels purchased membership interest from Chris and Sara Lundy, who were part owners since 2012.

Niels brings a diverse skill set to SMG, including a degree from Prescott College, training through the American Mountain Guides Association, and guiding experience locally and in Washington state. Niels is also a Wilderness EMT and works as a volunteer Firefighter/ EMT for the Ketchum Fire Department. Niels is excited to help take the reins of SMG: “I am very thankful to Chris and Sara for the opportunity to participate in the professional and well-respected operations of Sawtooth Mountain Guides and look forward to continuing SMG’s legacy.”

Chris and Sara Lundy, outgoing co-owners, have this to say about the transition of ownership: “Authenticity has always been one of SMG’s cornerstones. From the start, we’ve been owned and operated by working mountain guides. This allows us to focus on what matters—providing the best possible mountain experiences for our guests. We’re thrilled to pass the torch to Niels, who will carry on this tradition and bring new energy to the operation.” Sara will continue to work as a guide and avalanche instructor for SMG, while Chris has returned to full-time work at the U.S. Forest Service Sawtooth Avalanche Center.

A tradition continues

Sawtooth Mountain Guides was founded in 1985 by pioneering U.S. mountain guide Kirk Bachman. He always joked that his primary tools for developing the new guide service were his “closely held assets”—a climbing rope, backcountry skis, and a kayak paddle. As word got out about the guide service, the phone began to ring requesting knowledgeable local guides who knew the best of the mountain routes and experiences the Sawtooths had to offer. Sawtooth Mountain Guides’ were the dedicated professionals who did it all in putting seamless adventures together.

Erik Leidecker joined the SMG guide crew in the early 90’s after graduating from Dartmouth College. Having grown up in Sun Valley, he brought important community ties with the Wood River Valley to SMG. In 2003, Erik became a 50% owner of the guide service. He was awarded his AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide certification (American Mountain Guides Association/International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations) in 2008 and has been a respected leader in the local guiding community. 

Chris and Sara Lundy bought Kirk’s ownership in 2012, and alongside Erik, helped grow the business into one of the premier guide services in the U.S. A commitment to the highest levels of professionalism led SMG to become the first—and still only—AMGA Accredited Business in the state of Idaho. Niels—as a guide himself—understands the values upon which SMG has been founded and is perfectly suited to help usher SMG into its next phase.