Colin has been employed in the ski, snow, and avalanche industry since 1980. He is an ACMG Mountain and Ski Guide as well as works internationally as a guiding and avalanche operations consultant & professional avalanche educator. Colin is the technical advisor to the AIARE Education Communication, and has enjoyed the opportunity to interact with guides and avalanche professionals from a variety of countries outside Canada and the US including NZ, Iceland, Switzerland and Argentina
Drew has been a forecaster for the Utah Avalanche Center since 1999. After receiving a BA in Political Science from the University of Colorado in Boulder, he took a commission with the US Navy as an Intelligence officer during the first Desert Storm. Subsequent to working abroad, he spent a number of years working and guiding for NOLS and Outward Bound in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Alaska. Drew now spends his summers as a climbing ranger in Grand Teton National Park and went to Washington DC in 2012 to receive a Valor Award for his part in a dramatic rescue of 17 lightning strike victims near the summit of the Grand Teton. Drew is often described as a story-teller at the forecast center, infusing his forecasts with haiku, metaphor, allegory, even references to the Book of Job. He cites Cormac McCarthy, the whale hunter Herman Melville, the dry-fly fisherman Norman Maclean, the French aviator Antoine de St. Exúpery, and Bashō as literary inspiration. His passions include dip-netting kings out of the Copper, breaking trail, and following his son through the trees at Alta.
Roger grew up in Denver, Colorado scrambling up peaks and skiing with his family. After high school, he pursued commercial fishing to allow time to follow his passions in the mountains. A 20 year career as the Captain of a crab-fishing vessel in the Bering Sea, Alaska allowed him to Rock and Ice climb 6-8 months a year all over the globe and eventually led to his dream job as a sales rep in the outdoor industry focusing on Arc’teryx. Roj lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife and daughter.
Noah Howell has been skiing powder in the backcountry and chasing personal ski mountaineering projects all over the planet for nearly 20 years. For 10 years, he skied, filmed, and produced with Powderwhore Productions. In 2013 he was named one of Backcountry Magazine’s “50 Icons of Backcountry Skiing. He is currently guiding, traveling, and adventuring while still capturing it all on film and in written word for his blog noah howell.com. He is also a dedicated contributor to Ascent Magazine, and wildsnow.com.
Kevin is a Associate Professor of Physics and Engineering at Central Oregon Community College and the Science Department Chair. He is a Central Oregon Avalanche Association board member and is the director of COAA's professional observer program. Kevin has been climbing and skiing for over 25 years and is stoked to be a new dad. He has a M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Montana State University.
Kirk’s passion for snow started with skiing as a young boy growing up in the mountains of Idaho and Wyoming. He worked for the Idaho State University Outdoor Program in the late 70’s. Upon graduating he moved to the Stanley, ID where hehas lived and worked in the Tetonsand Sawtooths asa climbing and ski guide since that time. Kirk founded Sawtooth Mountain Guides in 1985 and constructed the first “Yurt Hut System” in North America. As an active mountain guide he has established numerous firstascents/descents on skis and snowboard in the Sawtooths and Tetons, as well as doing exploratory ski descents in the Andes of Ecuador over a ten year period. His guiding has taken him to Canada, Alaska, New Zealand and throughout South America. Kirk has served as an Avalanche Education advisor to AIARE while serving as the Chair of the Education Committee for the American Avalanche Association (AAA) for the last ten years. He is certified as an Alpine and Ski Guide for the American Mtn. Guides Association, Level 2 Course Leader for AIARE, and a certified instructor by the AAA. In 2013, Kirk sold his interest in Sawtooth Mountain Guides but continues to guide there on a part-time basis and teaches Avalanche courses for the guide service in winter and serves as an advisor for the company. He continues to reside in Stanley, Idaho and works as an adventure consultant with his wife, Kelley, two dogs and a cat.
Jonathon grew up in the Pacific Northwest learning to ski, climb, and hike in the Cascades. He received a B.A. in recreation and business from Western State College of Colorado. During college in Gunnison, CO, Jonathon’s passion for the outdoors grew. He started working with AIARE in 2003 and took his first AMGA course in 2004. Jonathon developed a strong desire to share his love of outdoor adventures with others as he progressed through AMGA guide training courses. Jonathon became an AMGA/IFMGA guide in 2007 at the age of 26, and was one of the youngest American’s to receive this certification. Today, Jonathon lives in Salt Lake City guiding around the world, while specializing in the heli-ski industry. He also works for the AMGA and AIARE teaching professional courses for future guides and avalanche forecasters. Jonathon was selected to present a paper on communication in the workplace as a means to reduce risk in the avalanche industry at the 2016 International Snow Science Workshop in Breckenridge, CO.
A Northern California native who grew up in Graeagle, CA, Nick Meyers was appointed Lead Climbing Ranger and Avalanche Forecaster in 2010. His career on Mount Shasta began as a summer internship back in 2002 while attending Feather River and Western State College for a degree in Recreation Leadership and Business. Nick’s mountain sense and technical skills has developed and evolved much from his own personal climbing and ski missions. Nick has scaled the Dolomites, skied Colorado’s 14ers and motorcycled the deserts and mountains of the Western United States on his dirt bike. His adventurous spirit and fearless leadership commands our team of rangers in the high stress and high risk operations of Search and Rescue on Mount Shasta. Nick is also the Director of the Mt. Shasta Avalanche Center, issuing avalanche advisories and teaching awareness and companion rescue courses for the winter months. Recently, Nick landed the front cover Popular Mechanics!
Bill Nalli began his avalanche career in 1996 as a ski patroller at Solitude, Utah where most days were spent honing his “avalanche hunting” skills and skiing powder. He has worked as a snowcat and heli guide in the Uinta Mountains and human powered backcountry guide in the Central Wasatch. Bill has also been an avalanche educator for almost 20 years and continues to teach with AAI in Salt Lake City. In 2004 Bill began working as an avalanche forecaster with UDOT in Provo Canyon and was the supervisor for that area until 2013. That year he moved back to the Central Wasatch as a forecaster in Big Cottonwood and is now the Director of UDOT’s Highway Avalanche Safety Program. While much of his time is spent in Little Cottonwood Canyon, the directive of managing the avalanche issues for all of Utah’s state highways keeps him moving around from Logan Canyon to Powder Mountain, Big and Little Cottonwood, American Fork and Provo Canyons, and south to Huntington and Cedar Canyons.
Joe is an internationally certified, IFMGA Mountain Guide with a passion for mountain adventure in Alaska. He has been climbing and skiing around the world for 30 years with significant time in New Zealand, Australia, Asia, Alps, Andes and western North America. Of all the places he's visited, the mountains of Southcentral Alaska are his favorite. Joe has an undergraduate degree in geology and geography from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and a graduate degree in watershed science from Colorado State University. The second edition of his guidebook for backcountry skiing in Southcentral Alaska, The Alaska Factor, was published in 2016. Joe lives in Anchorage with his wife Cathy and their Really Bad Orange Cat.
Growing up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, he spent most of his summers hiking in the White Mountain National Forest. In winters, he learned to ski ice, crud, and bumps. After four years at Bates College, he moved to the Mount Washington Valley and began his education in climbing and steep skiing. Caretaking at several backcountry facilities taught him the art of pack boarding, composting, and reading birch glades. In 2015, he joined the Forest Service as the Androscoggin District Trails Manager in the summer and a forecaster for the Mount Washington Avalanche Center in the winter. Besides coordinating heavy-duty rigging for trail work and running wintertime search and rescue operations for the windiest hill in America, Helon is working with partners to better the tree-skiing opportunities on public lands. During his free time, Helon enjoys teaching his son about bonsai care and new ways to tease their dog.
Scott began poking around the mountains in the late 1980's while earning degrees in Chemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He headed to Big Sky, Montana to ski-bum for a winter before enrolling in medical school... or so he thought. Scott ended up spending the better part of two decades as a Ski Patroller, Avalanche Forecaster, and Snow Safety Director at Big Sky Resort before joining the SAC program in 2012. He has presented at several international avalanche conferences and regional professional seminars and is a regular contributor to The Avalanche Review. Scott is a National Avalanche School instructor, former Secretary of the American Avalanche Association, and President of Avalanche Worker Safety. He likes to spend his free time playing in the mountains, on rivers, and on rocks and generally considers each day that he learns more than he forgets to be a success.
Nancy Bockino grew up in the mountains of Idaho, Montana, and Washington. She began climbing, backcountry skiing, and working as a field ecologists in the early 1990's. Nancy moved from the Cascades to Jackson Hole, WY in 2000 and fell in love with the mountains, whitebark pine trees and the local community. Nancy keeps quite busy working as an ecologist caring for whitebark pine in the greater yellowstone ecosystem, an AIARE Level 1 and 2 Course leader, a member of the AIARE Instructor trainer tearm and pro-training team, a professional member of the AAA, a part-time guide for Exum Mountain Guides, The winter operations manager for Jackson Hole Outdoor Leadership institute, an EMT and member of Teton County Search and Rescue. Nancy also has a teaching certificate and a graduate degree in Ecology and Botany. Gratefully so, Nancy spends nearly every single day in the Mountains. She has a passion for sharing the experience of the blissful freedom, happiness, and empowerment that comes with knowing how to respectfully travel through and play in the mountains.
Craig is the sole avalanche forecaster for the western Uinta Mountains--an area accessed primarily by snowmobile--and also handles much of the avalanche education for snowmobile and specialty groups. Craig has done avalanche control for Brighton Ski Area in Utah since the mid 1980's and then worked as a helicopter ski guide. He has worked for the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center since 2000. Craig developed the Know Before You Go avalanche awareness program for young adults in 2004, which has been extremely popular. The one-hour program includes a 15-minute video and slide show presentation and is taught by a team of local avalanche professionals. The program has directly reached over 200,000 students in Utah to date and has spread around North America. Craig's legendary enthusiasm and communication skills keep him in high demand on the avalanche lecture circuit and television appearances.
Sarah has a passion for the outdoors. She’s been working in the field of snow and snow science since 1998, when she started as a ski patroller at Bridger Bowl in Bozeman, MT. As an owner of the American Avalanche Institute, Sarah teaches avalanche courses throughout the west. Sarah also works as a ski guide in the Tetons during the winter, sharing her love of skiing with others while wearing a huge smile on her face. During the summer and fall, Sarah works as a mountain guide throughout the western US, as well as internationally.
Sarah lives with her husband on the west side of the Tetons in a straw bale house that they built together. Spending a year building a house convinced Sarah that climbing mountains, skiing, and working in the outdoors was significantly easier than the job of a contractor, architect, or carpenter.
Karl grew up skiing in Colorado, chasing his folks around the backcountry and the local ski hills before finding ski patrol work in high school. He has worked with snow and avalanches for over 35 years, including jobs as a professional ski patroller, backcountry avalanche forecaster, and avalanche researcher. He has earned MS and PhD degrees doing avalanche research. After founding the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center in 1990, he co-founded and began working for the National Avalanche Center in 1999. His work as an Avalanche Scientist involved cooperating with several universities and international research institutes to transfer new and emerging technologies to the US avalanche community. He became the Director of the National Avalanche Center in 2011
Weston is one of the smarter New Yorker's and fled the state as soon as he could. After arriving in Utah, the snow addiction took a firm hold. Once he learned the freedom of a beacon, probe, shovel, skins and a good partner, he started venturing further and further off the beaten path. Today Weston spends his summers and winters guiding all while trying to play as much as possible on the side. I'm pretty sure River is guiding Weston in this photo.
Lynne Wolfe has been an editor of The Avalanche Review since 2002, and sole editor since 2005. She’s also an avalanche instructor for Yostmark Backcountry Tours and the American Avalanche Institute, a ski guide for Yostmark, and has completed 29 years as a mountain guide in the Tetons and elsewhere. She’s taking this winter off skis to battle breast cancer, but you can bet good money you’ll see her in the Teton backcountry for winter of 2018-19.
Michael Silitch is the Executor Director of the BRASS Foundation for Snow and Avalanche Safety which was created by the US Ski Team and two families, the Astles and the Berlacks, who lost their sons in an avalanche January 5, 2015 in Soelden, Austria. Michael has spent almost twenty years guiding and living with his family in the Alps and is a member of the Swiss Mountain Guides Association. He has been a guide’s instructor for the American Mountain Guides Association, American Alpine Institute, and Colorado Outward Bound School. Michael has taught AIARE courses in Switzerland. He loves ski touring and fondue. One of his favorite trips is the Haute Route and he loves ski mo racing as well.
Rod Newcomb is the founder of the American Avalanche Institute. Rod founded AAI the winter of 1974/75. He is a former forecaster at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and an avalanche researcher in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Rod has been a backcountry skier since 1961. Rod has taught avalanche courses all over the country, to thousands of recreationists and professionals alike. He was the recipient of Honorary Membership by the American Avalanche Association, the highest honor given to avalanche researchers and practitioners in 2004. More recently, he was the recipient of the AMERICAN MOUNTAIN GUIDES ASSOCIATION LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN GUIDING AWARD. Bio courtesy of AAI.
Sean spent the majority of his youth in the forested hills of Tennessee and discovered skiing at a young age. Deciding to venture west in 2005, he enrolled at the University of Utah and began his tutelage as a mountain professional at Snowbird Ski Resort. Graduating with a degree in Marketing and Tourism in 2008, Sean also transitioned to full-time ski patrolling and began honing his skills under a variety of great mentors. 2011 became a pivotal year as he joined the Patagonia Ski Tours guide team and focused on year-round winter adventuring. In addition to his roles as Co-Owner and Lead Guide for PST, Sean leads snowcat skiing and alpine tours at Snowbird Backcountry Guides. However, his true passion is education and he is a lead instructor for AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) and works closely with the AAA (American Avalanche Association).
Alex has spent the past 11 years chasing winter between the US and Chile. During which she has worked in the Avalanche Industry for 18 season. She started her career ski patrolling at Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah and has since moved on to guiding both in the US and Chile. She spent two years forecasting for the Idaho Transportation Department. She has founded and runs the South American Beacon Project, an outreach avalanche organization which works in 20+ communities in Chile and Argentina, and provides avalanche equipment to rescue organizations in South America. She continues to enjoy skiing as much as possible year round both for work and play. She currently resides between Bend, Oregon and the Central Cordillera in Chile.
Hans started his snow and avalanche career as a ski patroller at Eldora in Colorado, where he worked for four seasons. He then moved to the Northern Wasatch of Utah, where he continued his patrol career at Snowbasin, where he has also worked as a ski guide, avalanche forecaster and dog handler for the last 20 years. At some point, Hans realized there was snow in the southern hemisphere, during the summers, and worked for 11 seasons at Mt. Ruapehu in New Zealand as a ski patroller, ski guide, backcountry avalanche forecaster, and snow safety officer. He has also worked 3 tours as a volunteer climbing ranger on Denali, 1 season as an avalanche consultant and snow safety officer at Gulmarg Ski Resort in Kashmir, and also has part time heli-ski guided for Ruby Mountain Helicopter Experience for the last 9 years.
John grew up learning to ski and snowboard on the icy slopes of the East coast. He spent more time with a "broke down" car in Vermont during college than in the classroom which eventually lead to his move to Salt Lake City in December of 2009. He started his avalanche education and romance with the backcountry immediately after moving and hasn't stopped since. Since his move he has left his traditional job to pursue guiding full time. He has currently completed his AMGA advanced ski guide course/aspirant exam, rock guide course, alpine guide course, ice instructor course and is working his way toward becoming an IFMGA certified mountain guide. He currently guides for Red River Adventures out of Salt Lake City and Moab, UT as well as starting his own guide service, Transcendent Tours which is also based out of Salt Lake City. When he isn't in the mountains or traveling John lives full time in his sprinter van with his dog Nia pursuing hours of ball fetching, hiking, and cleaning up after her ridiculous shedding.
Brian has been working in the field of snow and avalanches for the last couple decades. He began backcountry skiing in Colorado as a college student, and later as a mountain guide; and as an avalanche educator, curriculum developer, and as former Executive Director with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), and member of the American Avalanche Association Education Committee. After a decade or so of guiding and teaching in a variety of snow climates on both sides of the equator, Brian returned to graduate school where he earned a MS in Engineering, studying snow and ice mechanics in Alaska’s Chugach, and conducting research at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. He worked for many years as a consultant to the ski industry, investigating snowpack runoff and potential changes to seasonal snowpacks as a result of climate change. Brian has been the Deputy Director of the CAIC since 2010. In the summers, you can find Brian complaining about the heat, planning his next trip to the snow, and trying to keep up with his wife Michelle and two kids on mountain bikes.
Erich is a a Physical Scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey in West Glacier, MT, past Director of the Flathead Avalanche Center, and the lead forecaster for the USGS/GNP Going-to-the-Sun Road Avalanche Program in Glacier National Park. He earned his M.S. and is working on his Ph.D. from Montana State University in Bozeman. Erich started his professional avalanche career working as a professional ski patroller alongside the great avalanche hunters at Alpine Meadows in Lake Tahoe, CA . Erich is a Board Member and Professional Member with the American Avalanche Association. When not working and playing in the snow, he is chasing his two young sons around and running and climbing in the mountains.
Jake has spent nearly 30 years working and playing in avalanche country. He worked over 20 years as a professional ski patroller and dog handler in The Wasatch and has been teaching recreational and professional avalanche courses for the American Avalanche Institute since 1999. His experience includes forecasting for the Going-to-the-Sun road in Glacier National Park and volunteering as a high-altitude ranger on Denali. He is currently the GM of Gym Jones in SLC, UT and spends his time exploring the capabilities of the human mind and how the gym can be a tool to unlock a person's true potential
Liam grew up in and around the San Francisco Bay area. He served in the military from 1963-67, and upon return to civillian life, he was hired on the Squaw Valley Ski Patrol in November 1968, where he worked for three seasons. He found his way to Snowbird in June 1971, where he started as a Ski Patroller during the opening season. A month or so later, he was given the job of Snow Safety Director. He worked in that capacity for 27 years, and then took a job with the Utah Department of Transportation in November 1998. Liam ran the Highway Avalanche Safety Program in Little Cottonwood Canyon for 16 years until November 2014 when he retired. He now lives with his wife Pam on Lake Pend Oreille in North Idaho. Liam has two children, a son Tom who lives in Seattle, and a daughter Allanna who is a freshman at the University of Idaho.
Billy is the Snow Safety Director and Risk Manager at Irwin Guides. He has been an outdoor professional since 1992 when he arrived in Crested Butte with his focus on guiding and education. He began with Outward Bound in 1994 and has lead mountaineering, river, sea kayaking, and canyon courses in Colorado, Utah, Mexico, and Alaska. Billy was a forecaster for the Crested Butte Avalanche Center for 10 years. He worked for 10-years on the Crested Butte Professional Ski Patrol and previously worked as a Snowcat ski guide for Irwin Lodge. He is a certified level 3 Avalanche Practitioner, a certified AIARE Avalanche Instructor and teaches avalanche courses locally and for the Silverton Avalanche School. Billy is a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician and teaches wilderness medicine for the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS. During the off seasons Billy may be found Heli-ski guiding for Irwin in Iceland, playing in the Elk Mountains, kayaking through the Grand Canyon, and travelling the globe.
Ted Steiner has been working in the snow safety arena since the mid-80s when he began ski patrolling. Patrolling, teaching avalanche education, and academics were Ted’s main focus during the 90s. In 2000 Ted was hired by the Glacier Country Avalanche Center as their initial Executive Director and, with an ever increasing demand for avalanche education, became the GCAC’s first Education Director in 2002.
Beginning in 2003 Ted began assisting BNSF Railway (Railway) officials with avalanche related risk management in regards to safe Railway operations during a large magnitude avalanche cycle. Then, in 2004, following an avalanche caused BNSF train derailment, Ted became further involved with the Railway by assisting David Hamre in developing the current BNSF Railway avalanche safety program. In January of 2005, Ted became the Railway’s first full-time avalanche safety consultant.
The Railway Avalanche Safety Program, which is based out of Essex, Montana, has just entered its 14th season. Ted continues to work on behalf of the Railway as an avalanche safety consultant while being employed by David Hamre & Associates LLC. When not working in the realm of avalanche safety Ted enjoys being in the mountains and on the water with his family.
Roger Coit lives in Salida, CO and is an Assistant Professor at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville. He is currently the Faculty Lead for the Avalanche Science Program and also instructs EMS, Wilderness Medicine, and Outdoor Studies courses. He has served as the Project Lead for the Avalanche Science Program development since its inception in 2014, working to build the program from the ground up in collaboration with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Prior to becoming full-time faculty in 2009, he taught as an adjunct instructor for the college since 1998, leading courses in recreational avalanche safety, wilderness medicine, and urban EMS. He has been an educator since 1995 and has worked variably as a paramedic, EMS agency director, ski patroller, snow safety program coordinator, and river guide.
Graham Kane is the Clinical Specialist for Eagle County Paramedic Services. Graham is credentialed as a Flight/Critical Care Paramedic, and also works with Vail Mountain Rescue and Vail Ski Patrol. He has trained the US Ski Team Physicians in Trauma Care and Resuscitation since 2005, and serves as Training Center Faculty for the American Heart Association. He studied Snow and Alpine Hydrology at the University of Colorado, and served as a Research Associate at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR). Graham graduated from Central Washington University as a Mobile Intensive Care Paramedic in 1998, and has worked in Colorado for most of his EMS career. He is currently a first year student in the Colorado Mountain College Avalanche Science Program.
I grew up just south of San Francisco and started skiing when I was in high school. With no clear path I moved to Tahoe, got a ski area job, and found my tribe. I became interested in the winter backcountry which included getting to know something about avalanches. While at Alpine Meadows working in the rental shop I got caught and injured in a serious avalanche when I was 20 years old- I was a very lucky young man. This only spurred by interest even further and led to getting a job on the Squaw Valley Ski Patrol after spending two years at Colorado Mountain College Leadville in the Ski Area Operations program. I spent 15 years at Squaw with 12 of those years as Ski Patrol Director. After I left Squaw I learned of the new highway avalanche forecasting program in Colorado. I spent a winter patrolling at Wolf Creek before hiring on with CAIC and have been with the CAIC highway forecasting program there for 25 winters and counting. I'm nearing retirement, but have a couple more winters in me before heading out to ski the world with my wife Sandy.
In lieu of a bio writeup, Jack wanted to share some links associated with his interview. No doubt, many of these articles and biographies had much influence on the work Jack has done within the snow and avalanche world.
First Ski Instructor Bev https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverly_Johnson_(climber)
Renee Lang on Vortex Generators https://arc.lib.montana.edu/snow-science/objects/issw-1998-190-196.pdf
Laura Bakermans in SWARM https://arc.lib.montana.edu/snow-science/objects/P__8092.pdf
Bruce Jamison demos SWARM https://vimeo.com/25523324/description
Robyn E. Wooldridge The Effects of Explosives on the Physical Properties of Snow https://arc.lib.montana.edu/snow-science/item.php?id=1690
Ingrid Reiweger acoustic emissions https://arc.lib.montana.edu/snow-science/item.php?id=1772
Lorena Barba on Reproducible research https://youtu.be/uRvMkukbOcw
Lorena Barba on bias https://youtu.be/vQH3ZGJ2mvY
Mark has been forecasting for the FAC team since 2015. Mark has over 20 years of snow safety and avalanche forecasting experience. This experience includes days lamenting over depth hoar at Berthoud Pass in Colorado as a guide and ski patroller to his time in Montana as a professional patroller for Whitefish Mountain Resort, a forecaster for Burlington Northern Sante Fe in Essex, MT, and the National Park Service with the Going-to-the-Sun Road avalanche program in Glacier NP. Mark has also been an avalanche educator for 24 years and is a professional member of the AAA. In the summer, Mark trades his skis for a beloved pick mattock as a trail crew supervisor in Glacier National Park where he has been working since 1995.
Evelyn Lees has been a forecaster with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center since 1991. Before that, she worked as a meteorology field technician for a cloud seeding project in Utah. Evelyn spends her summers as a senior guide for Exum Mountain Guides in the Grand Teton National Park. She has been on mountaineering expeditions in Tibet (Mount Everest), Pakistan, Alaska and South America. She has degrees in both Geology and Soils.
John started his career as an avalanche professional in 2011 working as a mountaineering guide and avalanche educator in Alaska. Feeling the draw to further his education in snow science John completed a MSc at the Snow and Avalanche Laboratory in the Department of Earth Sciences at Montana State University from 2016 to 2018. His research focused on decision-making in backcountry skiers by looking at GPS tracks and survey responses. At SARP John is continuing to research decision-making in avalanche terrain by developing new avalanche hazard maps and analyzing GPS tracks of heli-ski guides. The goal of his research is to work towards a new decision-making tool for both professional and recreational backcountry skiers based on the observed decisions of expert guides.
billy grew up in Trenton, NJ and went to college at Rutgers University in NJ. He got to Gothic in May of 1972 to work on a water quality study and at the end of the summer decided to stay and moved into an old 8 x 10 foot shack where billy lived for 8 years after first completing his last semester of college. In 1980 he built a house next to the shack and has lived there since. billy did odd jobs- fire fighting, dish washing, plumbing and electrical work, until taking over the accounting at RMBL (Rocky Mountain Biological Labratory) . billy started compiling weather records in 1974 as sort of a curiosity and has been doing so since then.
Roger has a background in the physical sciences and a passion for powder skiing. Although experienced at backcountry travel and well educated in the technical aspects of snow and avalanches, at the start of his guiding career, Roger found it challenging to make confident decisions about skiing specific slopes. Competence depends on who you are and what you know; becoming competent involves personal development. Roger’s goal has been to find methods that balance technical knowledge with positive human attributes to improve backcountry avalanche risk management.
Joe and Mike Royer
Joe was working at Snowbird in the early 70's and would travel to Marin, CA in the off season. I-80 was a two lane road and always an adventure, a relief to make it to the next town. The Ruby Mountains were a stand out, and had to have some skiing. The exploring came in the mid 1970's and we are still exploring today. Seems like we are always learning something new. Some way to ski new terrain, or some way to make the experience better for our guests. The business continues to be a work in progress.
The greatest reward is being able to provide a backcountry experience to our clients and hear them say, "That's the best day of skiing in the my life!"
Mike grew up in the family business of Ruby Mountain Helicopter Skiing in Lamoille Nevada. He was fascinated by every aspect of the business and spent his childhood winters helping wash the helicopter, taking out the garbage and learning how to drive a snowcat. Mike has been mentored by some of the best guides in the country who have worked for Ruby at some point during the last 20 years and who have helped him develop into one of Rubies lead guides. Continuing the passion, mission and dedication that his parents Joe and Francy have been providing guests at Ruby Mountain Heli Ski since 1977 is Mikes goal moving forward. One of Mikes favorite things about the winters in Nevada is the family vibe the business brings from all of the Ruby staff to all of the guests who walk through the door.
Robin grew up skiing and backpacking in the deserts and mountains of Utah with her family. After moving to Seattle, she fell in love with the local rocks and glaciers, and proceeded to dedicate her time to climbing. From day trips rock climbing, to longer mountaineering expeditions, Robin loves it all and spends most of her free time planning her next climbing or skiing trip. During the winters, she works on the Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol.
Sara Cohen has been working with dogs in the mountains for most of her professional track. She is the Program Director of the Avalanche Rescue Dog Program at Crystal Mountain and Board Member of Cascade Mountain Rescue Dogs. Sara is a lead guide for Alpine Ascents, guiding summit climbs on the Cascade volcanos. Her lowland jobs keep her busy as well; she fits in some time working as a vet tech in Bellingham, Washington and as a pet dog trainer. She is a Certified Clicker Trainer (KPA-CPT) and beyond avalanche dogs and pet dogs has also had the opportunity to train service dogs. Sara’s passion lies both in the mountains and working with canines and their human handlers, and couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to bring it all together with a greater mission in the Cascades.