About Geeks in Valdez
Over the last ten years, technology has advanced to support working remotely and being connected. Alaska and local communities like Valdez are investing in Fiber optic Internet to create a foundation where tech is the new frontier. Now, work and life for software engineers, entrepreneurs and other creative workers can be seamlessly integrated providing a better quality of life.
Accordingly, twin brothers, Lee and Lucas Brown, began experimenting with work/life integration by building software technologies in Alaska. They are creating a diverse community of software engineers in Alaska who work remotely for West Coast-based companies where their work and life are seamlessly integrated. Seeds for this movement were planted long ago.
After a serendipitous journey discovering the property in Valdez, Lee could not wait to start living in Alaska where there was a strong sense of community and connection to nature. He decided to ditch his downtown Seattle condo, and head to AK in January of 2017 - to spend the winter snow camping on the property. Lee ordered a few "Arctic Oven" tents, along with some camping necessities, a couple monitors, and an incinerating toilet - and headed north. The property was raw and rugged with no running water, but was able to get temporary power from the local electric company.
The special thing about being a creative worker (computer programmer) is that you can basically get away with doing it from just about anywhere - as long as you have an internet connection. Meetings? He still connects with his R&D team in Seattle daily, via video-chats from his "office" tent, and they communicate all day long through Slack. The team also visits for a week at a time and on prior trips camped with Lee in tents. They spent quality time sprint planning, working in the office tent, and adventuring.
After engineers had the opportunity to work remotely with Lee from Alaska, they arrived back in Seattle refreshed and motivated - each with a new enriched sense of passion and drive for the projects they were working on. It's hard to describe the magic of what is happening up here. It is truly unique and special.
Over the last two plus years, the property has been in a constant state of change both with the seasons and from construction equipment. While the property now has several amenities including three houses, fiber optic internet, and running water. See our future plans.
Growing Up and Ski Movies
The Brown twins grew up watching iconic ski movies. Home to endless big lines and deep powder, Alaska was (and remains) the classic destination for extreme skiing. This sparked their interest in the Great White North.
First time in Valdez
Lee serendipitously went on his first heliski trip deep in the Chugach Mountains. While in the air, they flew over the property and his guide mentioned it was for sale. Lee envisioned the location being the perfect as a destination for working remotely while also being a premier base camp for winter activities.
More Property in Valdez
Living and Working in Tents
Up until this point, the Brown Brothers still spent most of their time in Seattle. It was Winter, and development on the property couldn't begin until the ground thawed in Spring - but Lee was ready to begin the work-life integration experiment anyways. In the middle of December, Lee set up camp on the property with two Arctic Oven tents- a "bunk tent" and an "office tent" - marking the beginning of turning "Geeks In The Woods" into a reality.
Trail to Robe Lake
Besides the driveway, which only gave access to the top of the property, the 14+ acres down to the waterfront was untouched wilderness with no paths or trails. The 200' elevation drop to the water made development a challenge. To start understanding the property and enjoying the lake, the Browns built their first trail, along with a little help from their friends. The path to the serene waterfront is 0.25 miles long and drops 200 feet in elevation.