Avalanche Forecasters
Mark Staples
Director, Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center
Mark was a professional ski patroller at Big Sky Ski Area in Montana before he earned a MS in Engineering at Montana State University as part of the MSU Snow Science Program and did his thesis on the energy balance at the snow surface and weak layer formation. He has worked as a backcountry avalanche forecaster for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center in Bozeman. His undergraduate degree in engineering is from the University of Virginia. He is an avid skier, snowmobiler, and ice climber, and father of 3.
Craig Gordon
Forecaster, Media Coordinator
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.
Drew Hardesty
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 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, and allegory. You'll often find references to the Book of Job, Cormac McCarthy, the whale hunter Herman Melville, the dry-fly fisherman Norman Maclean, the French aviator Antoine de St. Exúpery, and Bashō. He started the UAC podcast with Benjamin Bombard in 2017. You can find these podcasts and plenty of musings on risk and the avalanche problem here -
Evelyn Lees
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.
Brett Kobernik
Forecaster, Website Coordinator
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 was so involved with the development of the split board, he does much of his field work on a split snowboard and is versed on skis, snowmobiles, and snowbikes as well. 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.
Eric Trenbeath
Eric Trenbeath is the forecaster for the La Sal and Abajo Mountains near Moab. A Utah native, Eric grew up skiing in the Wasatch Mountains. In 1989 he landed his dream job as a live-in cook with ski pass at the Goldminer's Daughter in Alta, Utah which lead to a 10 year career on the Alta Ski Patrol. He was the Moab Forecaster from 1999-2003 and, after a several year hiatus, returned as the forecaster for the 2013-14 season.
Paige Pagnucco
Avalanche Education and Outreach Specialist, Logan Field office
Paige joined the Utah Avalanche Center in 2004, first as a volunteer then as an avalanche education and outreach coordinator in the Logan area. She grew up skiing and ski racing in New England and worked as a ski patroller at Park City Mountain Resort. There, she was a route leader, avalanche educator and participated in the resort's avalanche rescue dog program as a handler. Her duties for the UAC include teaching avalanche education classes to motorized and non-motorized winter backcountry users, supporting the local forecasting program, organizing annual fundraising efforts including marketing, corporate support, and event planning, creating and maintaining strong relationships with local and avalanche industry businesses and organizations, managing community programming, coordinating volunteers, and developing educational outreach programs and materials. She performs her field work on both snowmobiles and skis. Paige received her MBA from Utah State University in 2005. She has three kids who also love playing in the snow.
Toby Weed
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.
Greg Gagne
Greg grew up backcountry skiing in the icy, tight, avalanche-proof trees of northern Vermont, and moved to Salt Lake in 1990 where he quickly developed a passion for skiing powder, as well as better understanding the dynamics of snow and avalanches. He has been working for the Utah Avalanche Center for the past 25 years as an avalanche educator, observer, and part-time forecaster. He also works as a professor of computer science at Westminster College, and his non-wintertime passions include climbing and trail running. Greg is a continuing education student at the Brett Kobernik School of Garage Science for Snow Nerds.
Trent Meisenheimer
Forecaster, Avalanche Education and Awareness Specialist, Video Production
Trent Meisenheimer grew up in Salt Lake City Utah, skiing and snowboarding in the Wasatch mountains since the age of two. He currently works as an avalanche forecaster for the Central Wasatch Mountains, as well as an avalanche education specialist. He also produces and edits lots of the high quality UAC videos such as Know Before You Go. Although busy with work, he is pursuing a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah. With a passion for avalanches much of his time in the winter months is devoted to forecasting and teaching avalanche education and outreach programs. In the summer months you can find him hanging from a rock wall or kayaking down one of the many scenic rivers in the western U.S.
The Utah Avalanche Center Staff
Chad Brackelsberg
Executive Director
Chad joined the Utah Avalanche Center as Executive Director in July 2017. He is responsible for communications, marketing, fundraising, strategy, and UAC business operations. Chad brings more than 20 years of corporate experience in technology consulting and program/project management, has been a volunteer observer for the UAC for 8 years, and has worked with the local Utah outdoor community for the past 10 years. Chad is active in the UT outdoor community and is an avid backcountry skier, ski mountaineering racer, ultrarunner, and mountain biker. Chad and his wife Emily have been organizing the Wasatch Powder Keg ski mountaineering race for 10 years and he is a founding member of Utah Ski Mountaineering a local nonprofit geared at growing the sport of ski mountaineering and organizing races. Chad has been on the board of the US Ski Mountaineering Association the past 6 years and has acted as coach of the US National Ski Mountaineering Team at the Ski Mountaineering World Championships since 2013. He recently bought a snowmobile for exploring the snow outside the Central Wasatch.
Paul Diegel
Special Projects Director
Paul has been with the Utah Avalanche Center since 2001 as a volunteer board member, full time Executive Director responsible for communications, marketing, fundraising, strategy, and UAC business operations, and most recently as a part time advisor and creator of eLearning avalanche classes. 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 ski instructing and patrolling. He skis and splitboards in the backcountry and competes in Ski Mountaineering and spends summers trail running, biking, and exploring whitewater.
Bo Torrey
Program Director
Bo grew up in the snowy finger lake region of Central New York. At 15 years old he traded in hockey skates for skis and fell in love with skiing. In 2009 he moved to Utah to live in the mountains and attend the University of Utah. Bo began interning with the Utah Avalanche Center in 2013 through the University's Parks, Recreation and Tourism program. After graduating with a degree in Adventure and Outdoor Programming Bo was hired full time as the Center's Program Manager. He oversees our education programs, fundraising efforts, and social media accounts. When he’s not on the skin track you'll find him on his bike riding singletrack.
UAC Alumni
Devin Dwyer
Avalanche Education and Social Media Coordinator 2012-2016
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.

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