7th Annual Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop
From left: Friends of Utah Avalanche Center Executive Director Paul Diegel, FUAC Education Coordinator Devin Dwyer; Forest Service forecasters: Drew Hardesty, Evelyn Lees, Director, Bruce Tremper, Craig Gordon, Eric Trenbeath, Brett Kobernik, Toby Weed.
FOREST SERVICE AVALANCHE FORECASTERS:
Director, Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center
|Bruce has been the Director of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center since 1986. Bruce grew up skiing in the mountains of western Montana where his father taught him the basics of avalanches at the age of 10. After a successful ski racing career, he did avalanche control at Bridger Bowl Ski Area in Montana, earned a Masters Degree in Geology from Montana State University, studying under the well-known avalanche scientists Dr. John Montagne and Dr. Bob Brown. He then took over as the Director of Avalanche Control at Big Sky Ski Area in Montana and worked as a backcountry avalanche forecaster for the Alaska Avalanche Center. Bruce has been featured in numerous national and international television documentaries about avalanches including those produced by National Geographic, Discovery Channel and PBS and he regularly appears on national network news programs. Bruce wrote the books "Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain," and "Avalanche Essentials" both published by Mountaineers Books.|
|Evelyn Lees has been a forecaster with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center since 1989. 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.|
|Drew's been with us 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.|
|Brett Kobernik has been with the Utah Avalanche Center since the 2004-2005 winter season. He has worked as a helicopter skiing guide in Valdez, Alaska in the mid 90s, has been a backcountry ski and snowboard guide for Utah Mountain Adventures for a number of years and has worked as a product tester and designer for Voile Equipment in Salt Lake City. Since Brett single-handedly invented the split board, he does much of his field work on a split snowboard and is versed on skis, snowmobiles, and snowbikes as well. (Click HERE for a cool video profile of Brett.) Brett is also responsible for much of the technical "behind the scenes" work on the UAC's website. He has also done web work for the American Avalanche Association as well.|
Forecaster - Western Uinta 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 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 175,000 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.|
Forecaster - Logan
|Toby Weed is the sole forecaster for the Logan area mountains. He grew up skiing and ski racing in New Hampshire, ski patrolled at Park City Ski Area for 15 years and was the Snow Safety Director there for four years. He has spent many summers as a climbing guide in the Sierra including Mt. Shasta. He has a bachelor's degree from Goddard College. He does his field work on both snowmobiles and skis.|
Forecaster - Moab
|Eric Trenbeath is the forecaster for the La Sal and Abajo Mountains near Moab. He grew up in Davis County, Utah and worked doing avalanche mitigation for Alta Ski Area. He was the Moab Forecaster for several years and, after a several year hiatus, returned as the forecaster for the 2013-14 season. Eric is also a graphic artist and owns a graphic arts and frame shop in Moab in the summer.|
FRIENDS OF UTAH AVALANCHE CENTER STAFF:
Executive Director of Friends of Utah Avalanche Center
Paul has been with the non-profit Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center since 2001, first as a volunteer board member and more recently as a full time Executive Director. Paul is responsible for communications, marketing, fundraising, and UAC business operations. Paul grew up skiing; racing, competing in the early days of freestyle, and speed skiing. He has degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Bioengineering, and an M.B.A.. He spent 30 years in technical and business roles focused on biotechnology product development, while skiing at every opportunity and doing a little ski instructing and patrolling. He skis and splitboards in the backcountry and competes in Ski Mountaineering and spends summers trail running, biking, and kayaking.
Avalanche Education and Social Media Coordinator
Devin joined the Friends of Utah Avalanche Center staff in 2012 to help coordinate the rapidly increasing number of avalanche education classes taught by Friends of Utah Avalanche Center. Since then, she has become a full time employee, handling most of the social media posts as well as many other tasks.
FORECASTERS FROM THE EARLY YEARS...
(SLC Ranger District Winter Recreation Specialist Rogers Thomas and one of the original forecasters Barry Matthias looking at a weather read-out at the NWS in the early 1980s)
In the winter of 1979/1980, Salt Lake Ranger District employees Pat Lambrose and Jeff Larson began recording avalanche information on a hotline to keep people on top of the Greatest Snow on Earth instead of buried beneath it. They mention Snow Rangers Binx Sandahl and Ray Lindquist, Tom Heller and many others as great sources of snow and avalanche information at that time. That spring of 1980, SL Ranger District Winter Sports Specialist Rogers Thomas hired Duain Bowles from Bozeman Montana and Barry Matthias of Alta, along with locals Al Soucie, Pat Lambrose, and Jeff Larson to build the Utah Avalanche Center from the ground floor. That spring, Duain and Barry went on a remarkable road-trip to Colorado to meet with Knox Williams and Dick and Betsy Armstrong of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and then on to Seattle to meet with Rich Marriot and Mark Moore...then on to British Columbia to meet with Jeff Freer...gleaning insights from the first two avalanche warning centers in the US to create the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center. As with the other two avalanche centers, the UAC was sheltered at the local National Weather Service office and remain under their roof today. Much has changed in the past 35 years, but all the forecasters share a common bond in the rich history of snow and avalanches in the Wasatch Range.
Over the past couple of months, it has been particularly rewarding tracking down and connecting with retired and "on to snowier pastures" forecasters, their families and in some cases, widows to compile their stories below. Hardesty
Duain Bowles (1980-1983)
|Duain and Barry Matthias, along with Pat Lambrose, Jeff Larson, and Al Soucie, comprised the forecast staff for the 1st official year of forecasting in 1980/1981. Duain came to the UAC from Bozeman, Montana where he ski patrolled at Bridger Bowl and earned a degree in mechanical engineering from what was then Montana State College. Duain had a knack for computers and weather instrumentation and helped install many of the sites we still use today. Even Onno Wieringa, general manager and ex avalanche director at Alta called Duain, "the smartest guy I ever knew". Duain was a protege of some of the early Montana pioneers of snow research, including Bob Brown and John Montaigne. After three years at the UAC, Duain transferred to the Utah Department of Transportation Avalanche Program and worked with Binx Sandahl, becoming the 2nd UDOT Avalanche employee in Little Cottonwood (they were previously FS Snow Rangers). Tragically, Duain died from a heart attack while riding his bike near his summer home of Bozeman, Montana. He was 60 years old, and left behind a wife and and four chldren. We miss you Duain.|
Barry Mathias (1980-1984)
|Barry spent 8 years as a ski patroller at Alta before being hired on for the inaugural year at the Utah Avalanche Center for the season of 1980/1981. He, Duain Bowles, Pat Lambrose, Jeff Larsen, and Al Soucie comprised the staff for the fledgling avalanche center. They provided a much needed resource for the growing backcountry community by providing real time weather, snow and avalanche information on a daily basis. Barry and Duain were instrumental in installing and maintaining numerous automated weather stations and serving a a conduit between the mountain resorts and where they were located at the SLC National Weather Service. After four seasons, he left the financially tenuous avalanche office for a full time position on the Payette National Foreest as a computer systems analyst. Barry lives in McCall Idaho where he still ski patrols part time as well and continues to put i hours for the NIFC - the National Interagency Fire Center.|
Pat Lambrose (1979-1986)
Even though the UAC wasn't official until the 1980/1981 winter, Pat and Jeff Larsen recorded an avalanche hotline out of the SL Ranger District office in the winter of 1979/1980. Pat began backcountry skiing in the winter of 73/74 and is quick to say that the famed Wasatch climber/skier Harold Goodro changed her life. In this way, she in turn taught and mentored hundreds through cross-country ski programs at the University of Utah. She earned BA and M.ED. degrees from the University of Utah. Pat retired as an Educational Technology Facilitator for SLC School District. She taught a variety of Ed. Tech. courses over her 28-year career which included basic GPS (Global Positioning Systems) and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) workshops. Pat and her husband, Jim, continue to backcountry ski with the same energy and enthusiasm that they've had for 40 years, making annual trips to Canada and Europe to further their passions in the outdoors.
Al Soucie (1980-1988 and 1990-1992)
|Al is originally from Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut, 1973, with a BS in Agricultural Science. Al served in the Connecticut Air National Guard from Sept. 1967 to Aug 1973. He moved to Utah during 1976 and began working seasonal for the Uinta National Forest in June of 1977. Al’s first season of work at the Utah Avalanche Center was the first season that the Center was in operation, beginning during the fall of 1980. He was an avalanche forecaster at the UAC from 1980 to 1988 and 1990 to 1992. Al’s avalanche background began working as a volunteer with the Solitude Ski Patrol for two seasons from 1977 to 1978..and subsequently attended - and then taught - many professional avalanche courses over the years. He was also a Snow Ranger with the Forest Service in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Oct 1987-April 1988 & Nov 1990-Aug 1992.|
Jeff Larson (1980-1983)
|Jeff Larson and Pat Lambrose were the original avalanche forecasters, recording snow and avalanche information out of the Salt Lake Ranger District in the winter of 1979/1980. Jeff worked for the USFS in the summers working fires, wilderness, trails and - as an avid backcountry enthusiast - teamed with Pat to record information on an informal basis for that 79/80 season, before the official start to the UAC the following year in 1980. Jeff cites snow rangers Binx Sandahl and Ray Lindquist as easrly mentors. Jeff worked for the Utah Avalanche Center for four seasons before becoming the head of snow safety at Solitude Mountain Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Retired from skiing, Jeff now lives with his family in Missoula, Montana.
Sue Ferguson (1984-1986)
|Sue Ann Ferguson received a BS in physics from the University of Massachusetts, and PhD. in Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington, where she was mentoed by Dr. Ed LaChappelle, one of the original snow rangers at Alta in the 1950s. Her working career included forecasting avalanches and fire weather in Alaska, Director of the UAC from 1984-86, and avalanche meteorologist at the Northwest Avalanche Center from 1986-1992. Sue was most recently team leader of the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory in Seattle. In addition to academic contributions in snow science, mountain weather, global climate change, and fire weather, she published instructional books on glaciers and avalanches, and, of course, The Avalanche Review, the avalanche periodical she helped found. She was also instrumental in founding the American Avalanche Association. Behind all of her accomplishments was a most wonderful, sharing and caring person, and all of those who knew her miss Sue greatly after her untimely death from cancer in December of 2005. We miss you Sue.
Brad Meiklejohn (1983-1992)
|Brad Meiklejohn graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont, but not before taking a year off and going to school at the University of Alta in the winter of 80/81. His senior thesis involved snow and avalanche work, but the pull of the Wasatch Mountains proved too much, and he returned to live and work in Utah. After a few years patrolling at Solitude, Brad began spending more time in the backcountry and found mentors in Al Soucie, Mugs Stump, and others. Brad's forecasts were spoken with the clarity of experience - as he was often described as a field worker who "walked in the mountains until he couldn't walk anymore". He is often credited with developing the Observer Network, a Wasatch Range orographic pattern work sheet, and pioneering a forecaster's approach from "avoiding avalanche terrain" to Safe Skiing in the mountains. Brad left to get a Master's Degree in Botany from the University of Vermont and has headed the Conservation Fund in Alaska ever since.
Tom Kimbrough (1987-2003)
|Funny how some of the best storytellers come from the south. Originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, Kimbrough learned to ski on a landfill covered with snow outside of Cleveland Ohio...and soon engaged in auto racing, inspired by Hemingway's comments about only three sports in the world (bull-fighting, mountaineering, and auto-racing - everything else is a game). On leave from the Army in 1963, Tom caught his first glimpse of the Teton Range and, one might say, the rest is history. Kimbrough began ski patrolling in the winter of 66/67 and since patrolled at Alpine Meadows in California and then Alta before taking a job at the Utah Avalanche Center in 1987. But officially, he began climbing and skiing on the government dime in 1973 as a Jenny Lake Climbing Ranger in Grand Teton National Park, where he worked until 2003. Kimbrough continues to ski and climb on the government dime (social security and retirement) in the Wasatch Range with his wife Barb Eastman (a famous climber in her own right) and son Paul Kimbrough (a famous extreme skier now living in the Tetons).
Carol Ciliberti (1995-2002)
|Carol Cilberti grew up in Missoula Montana, and like many of the rest of the forecasters, moved to ski in the Greatest Snow on Earth. Tragically, in just her 2nd winter at Alta, her boyfriend was killed in an avalanche on Little Superior, not far from the town of Alta. This was a pivotal moment for Carol and set her on a course to understand snow, avalanches and weather. After ski patrolling for a few seasons at what was then known as Park West Ski Resort and getting her Master's Degree in Meteorology from the University of Utah, Carol was hired on at the UAC. In February of 1997, Carol and her partners were skiing out of Butler Fork of BCC when they came upon an avalanche debris pile that had completely buried a beacon-less snowshoer. She quickly organized a probe line, got a definitive strike and excavated a live woman who had been buried for nearly an hour. After the 2002 season, Carol left for "greener waters" to become a meteorologist in Eureka, CA and has since become an avid surfer.|
Mark Yates (Moab 1988-1992)
|Mark was the original forecaster with the La Sal Avalanche Forecast Center in 1988, when the Forest Service contracted him to issue avalanche, weather, and recreation reports for the La Sal and Abajo Mountains out of Moab, Utah. Prior to becoming a forecaster, Mark was a long time Outward Bound instructor, guiding and teaching throughout the intermountain west. Mark was tragically killed in avalanche in Gold Basin in the heart of the La Sals. Of the six touring party members, four were completely buried, though miraculously two were buried with a had free and were able to dig themselves out, but not in time to save the others. This was the first significant accident to occur in the La Sals, and the worst avalanche accident to occur since 1939. Mark left behind a wife and two sons. We miss you Mark.|
Dave Medara (Moab 1992-1995, 2001-2002, 2005-2011)
Dave grew up in Maine and graduated from the University of Maine in 1985 with a degree in Business and Computer Science. After realizing the cubicle life wasn’t going to work out, he moved to Alta, UT and was hired on the ski patrol the next year. Summers were spent climbing. In 1992 Dave was hired on as a forecaster with the La Sal Avalanche forecast center and has been bouncing back and forth between southern and northern Utah ever since, including a 6 year stint as an avalanche forecaster with the Utah DOT in Little Cottonwood from ’95 to 2001. In 2001 and 2002 Dave did a couple of months of work each winter for the La Sal Center. Dave was forecasting and teaching full time again at the La Sal Avalanche Center from 2005-2011. Dave now works as a rigger and Rope Access Safety Supervisor for Ropeworks, Inc. out of Reno, Nevada and lives with his family in Truckee, CA.
Mike Jenkins (Logan 1985-2000)
Mike Jenkins began ski patrolling and avalanche forecasting in the Wasatch in the mid-1970s. He founded the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan in 1985 and served as Director and Forecaster until 2000. In 2000 Mike was hired by the Snowbasin Resort Co. to oversee avalanche forecasting and mitigation for the Olympic Winter Games in 2002. Mike remained at Snowbasin as Snow Safety Director and later Patrol Director until 2009. Mike continues to work as an avalanche forecaster in the Powder Mountain Snow Safety Department. Mike has trained and handled 6 WBR SAR dogs including 2 currently working for Powder Mountain and Weber Co. Sheriff SAR. Mike is a Professor of Forest Ecology at Utah State University where he teaches and conducts research on the ecology of high elevation five needle pines in the world’s remote mountain ranges.
Dave Ream (1988/1989)
Dave ski bummed around Snowbird, Alta and the Wasatch backcountry before landing a job on the Alta Ski Patrol in 1973. While at Alta he helped get Wasatch Backcountry Rescue established and served as its president for several seasons. After patrolling for over a decade, Dave returned to the University of Utah and upon graduating landed his dream job as a Forest Service Snow Ranger in the Cottonwood Canyons. Dave forecasted at the UAC the winter of 88/89. Dave still keeps his nose in the snow touring around the Central Wasatch and if he isn’t fly fishing on a local river, he helps out now and then with local avalanche education and safety classes when asked.
Brian Murray (1993-1996)
Brian worked for the La Sal Avalanche Center in Moab from 1993 to 1996. His introduction to skiing began with wandering the hills of Northeast Ohio on cross-country skis. After a move west to Arizona in 1979 , ski touring and exploring the mountains and plateaus near Flagstaff became his focus. During his time in Flagstaff he earned a BS degree in geology from the University of Northern Arizona and began ski patrolling at the Arizona Snowbowl. Following a move to the Wasatch to work with the ski patrol at Solitude Mountain Resort for several years, he was hired to work as a forecaster with Dave Medara in Moab. Brian continues to tromp around the La Sals, volunteering and providing observations for the UAC/Moab. He lives in Castle Valley, UT.
Evan Stevens (Moab 2000-2005)
|Evan graduated from Middlebury College in 2000 with a focus on avalanches and GIS and soon found an opportunity with the UAC to apply those skills. After a season as an intern and a second season during the SLC Winter Olympics as a staff assistant, he took a position as a full time forecaster with the Manti-La Sal center for 3 seasons. During that time he met a great woman from British Columbia. Evan left forecasting for a career as an IFMGA Mountain Guide and he and his wife now own Valhalla Mountain Touring, a backcountry ski lodge in British Columbia.|
Alex Lowe (1992-1993)
|Alex came to the Utah Avalanche Center after a few years working as an engineer at Black Diamond Equipment, where he routinely showed up to work by 9am after having skiied any number of Wasatch Peaks that morning. Thus beginning the era of the Dawn Patrol in the Wasatch. In 1995, the American Alpine Club honored Lowe with the Underhill Award for outstanding mountaineering achievement, the highest honor in U.S. mountaineering. The Montana State University applied mathematics graduate's climbing achievements at altitude, on rock, ice and mixed terrain were legendary. He climbed for nearly 10 years with The North Face professional climbing team. Tragically, in 1999, Lowe was killed while on expedition to climb and ski Shishapangma in Tibet when a giant avalanche released far above them as they happened to be crossing the valley beneath it. A memorial fund was established in his honor (Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation) and thanks to this fund the Khumbu Climbing Center was conceived. Lowe left behind a wife and three sons. We miss you Alex.|
Andrew McLean (2003-2004)
|Andrew McLean is a fourth generation Utahn and his ancestors originally settled in the Salt Lake valley to start the Fisher Beer brewery. After leaving Utah at age four, he moved to a variety of different states before spending most of his youth in the Seattle area where he ski raced at the Alpental ski area. He later attended the Rhode Island School of Design and his degree in Industrial Design eventually brought him back to the Salt Lake City area as a Product Designer for Black Diamond Equipment. After thirteen years at Black Diamond, he began skiing full time and spent the 03/04 winter working as a forecaster at the UAC. Since then, he has worked full time as a Ski Mountaineer and lives in Park City, Utah with his wife Polly and two daughters, Mira and Stella. In 1995 he wrote “The Chuting Gallery – A Guide to Steep Skiing in the Wasatch.” and he presently runs the website StraightChuter.com.|
Dave Kikkert (Logan 2004-2006)
|Dave grew up in the Wasatch and began skiing in the backcountry while in high school. Dave's interest in snow began when he moved to Logan to attend Utah State University, where he received an undergraduate degree in fish and wildlife and a Master's in ecology. In 2003, he began working as an observer for what was then the Bear River Avalanche Information Center, which was associated with the University. He then worked as an instructor and assistant forecaster from 2004 to 2006, as the center transitioned away from the University. His graduate work included aspects of snow dynamics and hydrology, but ultimately led to environmental work in Salt Lake City, where Dave continues as a UAC observer and avalanche instructor.|
Greg Johnson (Logan 2000-2002)
|Greg Johnson studied under Dr. Bruce Jamieson at the University of Calgary obtaining a Masters Degree in Civil Engineering. His first job out of school was forecasting with the UAC in Logan from 2000 - 2002. After working in Logan, Greg worked for the USFS in Ketchum, ID and then the Canadian Avalanche Centre in Revelstoke, BC until 2010. These days, Greg works globally as an avalanche safety engineer and ACMG snowboard guide.|
Spencer Logan (Logan 1999-2002)
|Spencer learned to ski at the now-defunct Hidden Valley Ski Area, near Estes Park. He still enjoys touring there. Spencer joined the CAIC (Colorado Avalanche Information Center) in 2004. He spent the two years prior in Montana obtaining a MS in Earth Sciences from Montana State University. Spencer investigated how shear strength of weak layers changed over space and through time. He and his colleagues dug many snowpits, moving over 25,000 kg (55,000 lbs) of snow one winter. He learned to backcountry ski in northern Utah, where he managed to graduate from college, spent three winters forecasting for the Utah Avalanche Center-Logan, and married a wonderful gal. He hopes that his sons will grow up to be the fourth generation of the family to ski and the fifth to fish in Colorado.|
Ethan Greene (1999-2003)
|Ethan has directed the CAIC (Colorado Avalanche Information Center) since 2005. He has approached snow and avalanches from both a practical and theoretical perspective. He grew up in Boulder skiing Colorado’s Front Range. After a few winters in the San Juan Mountains, he worked at Big Sky Ski Resort in Montana as a ski patroller and at the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center in Salt Lake City as an avalanche forecaster. Ethan also studied meteorology at the University of Utah (BS) and snow drift formation at Colorado State University (MS). He has spent a lot of time looking at the microstructure of snow and its metamorphism in very large freezers in Colorado and Switzerland (PhD). Ethan has published a variety of articles on snow, weather and avalanches and been a member of national and international working groups on snow and avalanche projects. Ethan lives in Leadville.|
Seth Shaw (1993-2000)
|Originally from California, Seth moved to Utah after high school and worked as a ski patroller at Park West (now the Canyons) and graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Meteorology. He did an volunteer, post-grad project for the UAC and was hired full time the next year, incidentally to replace another world class climber Alex Lowe, who had moved back to his native Montana. Seth was one of the top all-around climbers in the U.S. and equally at home on the rock, ice, or any of the high alpine routes in the world. Perhaps his crowning achievement was a near-free (except for 10' of aid) of a 4300' wall on the Shipton Spire in Pakistan. Tragically, Seth was killed in May of 2000 by a serac fall while checking out an ice cave near their camp on the Ruth Gorge in Alaska. He and his partner had just returned safety from a route on Mt. Johnson a few days before. Seth will always be remembered for his self-effacing demeanor and his solid judgment in the mountains. He left behind a wife and more friends than one could count. We miss you Seth.|
Bruce Englehard (Logan 1996-2000)
Bruce worked for the Utah Avalanche Center out of the Logan Office from 1996 through 2000. He has also worked as a guide and educator for Utah Mountain Adventures and White Pine Touring since 1996. A long time avalanche educator, Bruce has taught for the Utah Avalanche Center, the Oakley School, the National Ski Patrol, the University of Utah, Utah State University, the Telluride Mountain Guides, and the Silverton Avalanche School. These days, he finds himself involved in Avalanche Education fulltime throughout the winter months. Over the years Bruce has worked as a ski patroller, avalanche technician, and Forecaster for the Utah Department of Transportation, the Brighton Resort and the Solitude Mountain Resort. Bruce has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Utah and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Darren McAvoy (Logan 1997-1999)
Darren learned to ski while being towed behind a snowmobile while growing up in Connecticut. In 1984, Darren triggered his first avalanche while backcountry skiing in Colorado and soon after took his first avalanche course. His background includes 14 seasons of wildland firefighting and seven years as a consulting forester in Montana and Idaho. In the early 90's he was a ski instructor and Ski Flakes television show host at Schweitzer Mountain Resort. He was forecaster for the UAC in Logan from 1997 until 1999. He has B.S. in Forestry from Colorado State University and an M.S. in Communication from Utah State University. He directs the Utah Forest Landowner Education Program for USU Extension. He continues to ski powder, teach courses, and provide observations to the UAC in Logan.
Max Forgensi (Moab 2003-2013)
Max Forgensi worked winters for the Utah Avalanche Center in Moab from 2003 to 2013. He cut his teeth skiing in upstate New York and moved out west taking jobs as a ski instructor, snowmaker and then for five years as a Breckenridge Ski Patroller. Summertime employment varied from trail crews in Rocky Mountain National Park, and five years as a Park Service Hotshot, before settling down in Moab as a recreation foreman and then as an Engine Captain. Max currently works as a Natural Resource Specialist (Recreation) on the Whitman Ranger District in northeast Oregon’s untapped Wallowa and Elkhorn mountain ranges. Max moved on from forecasting desert ranges to get skis on his families feet regularly and continue the pursuit in creating holistic and inclusive recreation opportunities on Forest Service lands. Max currently lives in Baker City, Oregon with his wife Erin and his children Tindra and Kegan. Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort is their home mountain, although they all call the Colorado Plateau home.
Jeff Brown (1999-2001)
Jeff came to the UAC from Deer Valley Mountain Resort and worked as a forecaster for two seasons before heading out to pursue other opportunities in California with his partner Faerthen Felix. During his tenure here, Jeff also served as Executive Director of the American Avalanche Association. Today, Felix and Brown work for the University of California at Berkeley. Brown is the Director of a consortium of field research and education facilities located in the Sierra Nevada mountains north of Lake Tahoe, including the Central Sierra Snow Lab, Chickering Reserve, North Fork Association Lands, Sagehen Experimental Forest, and Onion Creek Experimental Forest. The two live on site at Sagehen Creek Field Station, which Felix co-manages. Research topics include forest management, hydrology, climate change, wildlife and fisheries. Felix and Brown now spend their winters skiing in the Tahoe area and the European Alps.
Faerthen Felix (Moab 1998-2001)
Faerthen came to the UAC from years at Deer Valley Mountain Resort and was the lead forecaster at the Moab/La Sals avalanche office for three seasons. During her tenure, Felix expanded services from the La Sal Mountains to the Abajos and Wasatch Plateau. Additionally, Felix was an instructor with the Silverton Avalanche School, the Telluride Avalanche School, and the Alaska Mountain Safety Center. She served as Editor of The Avalanche Review, and was on the Board of the American Avalanche Association. Today, Felix and partner Jeff Brown work for the University of California at Berkeley. The two live on site at Sagehen Creek Field Research Station, which Felix co-manages. Research topics include forest management, hydrology, climate change, wildlife and fisheries. Felix and Brown now spend their winters skiing in the Tahoe area and the European Alps.
Grant Helgeson (Manti-Skyline Plateau 2008-2011)
Grant grew up in Missoula, Montana and actually went to the same high school as Bruce Tremper, albeit 29 years later. After getting his degree in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Montana, he moved to Salt Lake, finding employment at Backcountry.com. Grant quickly learned the ropes with the UAC in 2007/2008, taught hundreds of avalanche courses, conducted field work in the Wasatch, the Uintas, and the Plateau, and eventually took over forecasting duties on the Plateau in 08/09. With budgets drying up, Grant moved to Revelstoke, BC to accept a job as an avalanche forecaster with the Canadian Avalanche Centre and continues to work in that capacity. He spends summers as a Type 1 Wildland Firefighter/Helitack crewmember in Canada.
Kevin Kobe (Logan 1988-1993)
Kevin Kobe was born and raised in Wisconsin and moved to Utah in 1982. Kevin was fortunate to have experienced the 1982-83 ski season as a free-heel greenhorn working in Little Cottonwood canyon at Snowbird. Kevin started sending in backcountry observations to the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center in SLC in the 1980s with the guidance from Mike Jenkins at Utah State University and provided avalanche advisories out of the Logan branch from 1988-1993. During his education at USU, Kevin earned a BS degree in Environmental Studies and and MS degree in Recreation Resources Management. Currently, Kevin is the Director of Campus Recreation at Utah State University where he administers a comprehensive recreation department for the students at USU and continues to ski in the mountains around the Logan area.
Liz Hebertson (Logan 1995-2000)
Liz Hebertson worked as a Research Assistant and Avalanche Forecaster at the Bear River Avalanche Information Center, Utah State University, from 1995-2000. She completed her PhD in Ecology in 2003 specifically investigating climate factors associated with extreme snow avalanche events and other forest disturbances in the Intermountain West. She presently works for the USFS, Forest Health Protection, Ogden Field Office as a forest entomologist/plant pathologist. She is also a member of the Weber County Search and Rescue K-9 Team with two dogs trained in avalanche rescue and recovery.
Wendy Zeigler (Started the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center 1991-2010)
Wendy grew up in Utah, started skiing at 4 years old, and thanks to parents who taught skiing, I skied every weekend from 4 years old, until college...and began backcountry skiing in 1980. Wendy ran into Bruce Tremper at a party in 1990 and suggested a ski swap to raise money for the Avalanche Center. He said "Great idea. You're in charge." The first ski swap at REI in about 1991 and was complete chaos. There were more people participating than we could have imagined! I had to have all the forecasters get money from the ATM to pay people for the equipment that sold..then get a bank account to cash the checks. The ski swap was a great way to bring the backcountry community together, and the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center was born. Wendy's a physical therapist, married with two college aged boys who love to ski.
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