Richard Bothwell – Executive Director


Richard’s resume includes over 20 years of experience in the guiding and outdoor industry. He lives in Truckee, California and has a passion for snow. He is primarily a splitboarder, but skis as well. He is excited to be focusing his energy on AIARE after running a multi-sport guide service for the past 20 years. Richard is an AIARE avalanche course leader, and his company has been an AIARE course provider for several years. Additionally he is an AMGA SPI climbing instructor and PSIA 1 ski instructor. He also volunteers as an adaptive ski instructor at Achieve Tahoe



Liz Riggs Meder – Director of Recreation Programs


Liz Riggs Meder is the Director of Recreation Programs at AIARE and is based in Seattle. Liz is responsible for all aspects related to the development and delivery of AIARE’s recreational education programs, which includes curriculum development, managing the instructor training program, and overall program delivery and evaluation. Liz is an AIARE Instructor, occasionally works as a Cascade mountain guide, and holds an M.Ed from the University of Washington. A learning and cognitive science nerd, Liz loves combining her education interests with her love of traveling through the mountains.



Colin Zacharias – Technical Advisor


Colin Zacharias is a certified international mountain and ski guide (IFMGA) with several decades of experience in the avalanche industry. Likely many winter professionals Colin started with a ski area avalanche control operation, moved on to become the avalanche forecaster for the 1988 Winter Olympics, then spent a decade as a heliski guide. More recently he has consulted for various projects and organizations including ski areas, highways, public forecasting agencies, and guiding operations. Colin is a former technical director for the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) certificate program at Thompson Rivers University. From his home in Tofino, BC he has been the technical advisor for AIARE since 2004 and is a professional member of the ACMG, the Canadian Avalanche Association, and the American Avalanche Association.



Don Svela – Office Manager

Don grew up in the Pacific Northwest and laid his first set of ski turns in his parent’s back yard. Don has skied throughout the PNW including Alaska, Canada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Currently he spends most of his time backcountry skiing around Mt. Rainier.
Don’s background in the ski business since the early 1980’s laid the groundwork for his involvement with AIARE. As a part-time photographer you will also see many of his images in the AIARE student manuals, PowerPoint presentations and AIARE website.



John Littleton – Course Logistics Coordinator

John’s passion is teaching people about snow science and how to travel safely in the mountains. As an American Institute of Avalanche Research & Education (AIARE) Lead Instructor, John holds his AIARE Level 3 Certification and is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association. Having called Lake Tahoe home for over fifteen years John is both a Professional Ski Patroller at Squaw Valley Ski Resort and an Outdoor Educator in addition to teaching Experiential Education at Primary, Secondary and College levels. John maintains both EMT and OEC certifications.



Keri Warner – Snowmobile Liaison

Keri Wanner is the owner/manager of Driven, a Sub-Contractor for the AIARE Throttled program.  Keri has been riding snowmobiles for over 30 years and worked in the snowmobile industry for over 15; her knowledge, experience and partnerships are an asset to AIARE to help build its Throttled program connecting instructors and riders to educational opportunities.  During her 15 years of employment with Snowmobile North Dakota, she gained expertise in non-profit management, trail administration, business communications, marketing and promotion, government procurement, social media management, freelance writing and served as the Editor of the organizations publication the Sno-Dak News.  She also served on North Dakota’s Off-Highway Vehicle Board, was appointed to the Recreational Trail Program Committee, and established relationships with the American Council of Snowmobile Associations and the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association.  Over the years, her experience lead her to be a mentor in the snowmobile industry resulting in establishing working relationships with several snowmobile based non-profits, companies and athletes.  In November of 2013, she followed her dreams and opened Driven, a consulting service designed to assist athletes, companies and non-profits with services in design and web, social media management, business and non-profit management and freelance writing.  In 2010, Keri was a recipient of the State Trail Advocacy Award recognized by American Trails and in 2012 was awarded the International Association of Snowmobile Administrators Professional Excellence award for her dedication to the organization and snowmobiling.  The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department has provided her with special merit awards for her dedication to avalanche training and years of service to the North Dakota snowmobile program.  Snowmobile North Dakota also provided her a service award for her 15 years of service to the state snowmobile program.