Board of Directors

The Utah Avalanche Center is a collaborative effort between the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center and the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  The Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center is responsible for avalanche forecasting and accident investigation and reporting.  The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center is responsible for fundraising, avalanche awareness and education programs, events, the website, and business issues.  Both groups actively perform avalanche and user behavior research and regularly publish results.  About 2/3 of the funding for the Utah Avalanche Center comes from donations, grants, and events and we count on support from users like you.  The remaining funding comes from the Forest Service, the State of Utah, and Salt Lake County.

The Utah Avalanche Center is run by a group of volunteer board members.

Reid Persing, President, Board Member Since September 2009


Reid grew up in northwestern Connecticut in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains.  His parents live just down the road from the local ski hill and snowboarding and spending as much time as possible on snow became a theme for his life from an early age.  Reid moved west to attend college at the University of Colorado where he competed in freestyle snowboarding, played a leadership role in developing a freestyle snowboarding program, and earned degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry.  He moved to Utah after finishing his degrees for “one more year of snowboarding before graduate school.”  He was introduced to snowboarding in the backcountry that winter and has never left.  Reid’s background in natural sciences grew into a passion for avalanche science and he used to bombard the forecasters with technical questions about snowpack mechanics at every opportunity.  He sent in regular snowpack observations and assisted with the UAC’s education efforts before joining the Board of Directors in 2009.  

In his time on a snowboard, Reid has also competed nationally, traveled internationally, and spent summers at Mt. Hood and Whistler.  He coaches for a freestyle snowboard youth development team in Park City, gets around the backcountry on a splitboard and a sled, and still spends a good bit of time at the resorts.  He works as a biologist for Environmental Planning Group, a local environmental consulting firm.

Ted Roxbury, Treasurer, Board Member Since 2017  

Rich Mrazik, Vice President, Board Member Since October 2007

Rich Mrazik skied Alta for the first time in December 1999, called his mother that evening to say “I’m not coming home for a while,” and hasn’t strayed far from the Wasatch since.  Rich believes in directional skis and aspires to ski as well as Dexter Rutecki—albeit with better decision making.  When he’s not chasing sunset slackcountry laps, Rich is a shareholder in the litigation department of Parsons Behle & Latimer.

Kate Bowman, Secretary, Board Member Since September 2016


 

Kate arrived in Salt Lake City for the first time in 2010 to spend the winter at Alta. As the child of foreign service officers, she has lived (and skied) in Virginia, New York, Belgium, Switzerland, and Turkey, but now calls Utah home. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in Environmental Policy. She began to rely on UAC forecasts and resources to safely play in the backcountry the day she arrived at Alta and was honored to support the backcountry community by joining the Board of Directors in 2016. When not out in the mountains, she works as a project manager advancing clean energy technologies for the non-profit organization Utah Clean Energy.

Steve Achelis, Board Member since November 2010

Steve Achelis is a member of the Brighton Ski Patrol and the former commander of the Salt Lake County Search and Rescue team. When he isn’t in the mountains, Steve is a software entrepreneur whose projects include rope rescue software, a website devoted to avalanche rescue and survival (BeaconReviews.com), and apps and websites for prehospital medical providers. He is also the author of the Wasatch Backcountry Skiing paper map and website, and the book Mountain Responder which tells of his experiences as a backcountry rescuer.

Michael Brehm, Board Member 2008 - 2011, rejoined in September 2016

Michael Brehm is a Professional Engineer on staff at the University of Utah.  He is currently the longest-serving, fully qualified member of the Salt Lake County Search & Rescue team.  His 15+ years of SAR service in the Wasatch and his interest in Ski Mountaineering/Racing and the people who share that obsession have led him to return to the Board of Directors in 2016.  Mike feels it is a critical community obligation – and a personal privilege – to serve on the non-profit board that works so hard to keep the nationally renowned UAC and our winter recreationists on top of “The Greatest Snow on Earth”.

Nicole Summer, Board Member since April, 2018

Nicole grew up in suburban southeastern Michigan, spending Saturdays at the local ski resort and looking forward to her family's annual Steamboat ski trip, the early seeds of her dream to live near big mountains. Nicole moved west for college and earned a degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. She joined USC's Ski and Snowboard Club to take advantage of weekends at Mammoth and impulsively decided to move to Utah after graduation to work as a ski instructor for one season before pursuing a career in marketing. She'll never forget driving up Little Cottonwood Canyon for the first time - the brisk mountain air and early season dusting of snow mixing with the vibrant fall colors. After the best winter of her life, she decided to make Utah home for a bit longer. Nicole later met Ben, her future husband, a Utah-native and an experienced and passionate backcountry skier. It wasn't until many years later that he introduced her to backcountry skiing, the unbound joy, and the potential dangers. Outside of formal avalanche training, the UAC has always been their most trusted resource in missions throughout the Wasatch, and Nicole is honored and excited join the board.

Over the years, Nicole has skied primarily at Brighton and Snowbird and is gaining confidence in her backcountry skills and starting to ramp up human-powered days each season. She works as a Digital Brand Manager at Backcountry, leading the organization's social media efforts. When the trails dry, you can find Nicole hiking with her Border-corgi Brody, mountain biking, camping and backpacking with friends.