ChairmanKyle Lefkoff is the Founder and General Partner of Boulder Ventures Ltd. In his thirty three-year career as a venture capitalist, Mr. Lefkoff has invested in 60 Colorado companies. Mr. Lefkoff’s life science investments include Hauser Chemical Research (NASDAQ: HAUS); NeXstar Pharmaceuticals (sold to Gilead Sciences), Array BioPharma (NASDAQ: ARRY), Dharmacon (sold to Fisher Scientific), Genomica (sold to Exelixis), ARCA Biopharma (NASDAQ: ABIO), miRagen Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MGEN), and ArcherDX. Information technology investments include McData (sold to EMC); Atlantes Corp. (sold to Metromail); Compatible Systems Corp. (sold to Cisco Systems); Wall Street on Demand (sold to Goldman Sachs), Lefthand Networks (sold to HP), LineRate Systems (sold to F5), and CommericalTribe. Natural foods retailing investments include Horizon Organic Dairy (sold to Dean Foods); Alfalfa’s Markets (sold to Wild Oats); and Fresh & Wild PLC (sold to Whole Foods). Mr. Lefkoff was the Chairman of the Board of Array BioPharma (NASDAQ: ARRY) until August 2018, and remains a Director of Array, the largest pharmaceutical company in Boulder, Colorado. Mr. Lefkoff founded Array in May, 1998 with Dr. Marv Caruthers, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and BioChemistry at the University of Colorado, and a group of Amgen scientists. He is also the Chairman of the Board of ArcherDX, and a Director of CommercialTribe and BlackBear Energy, all Boulder Ventures portfolio companies. Mr. Lefkoff received his B.A. in Economics from Vassar College (summa cum laude) in 1981. In 1980, Mr. Lefkoff completed a Fellowship in Economic History at the London School of Economics. In 1985, he completed his MBA in Finance at the University of Chicago. Mr. Lefkoff is an experienced alpinist and mountain guide, with difficult ascents to his credit in the French Alps, Peruvian Andes, and the major ranges of North America. He was a member of the 1986 American Expedition to the North Face of K2. Mr. Lefkoff is a Lifetime Member and former Director of the American Mountain Guides Association, and a former Director of The Access Fund, a national climbing advocacy organization. Mr. Lefkoff is the Chairman of the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), the avalanche education standard among mountain guides and snow professionals in the USA.
Executive Vice Chair, SecretaryDirk has a background in Private Equity, Venture Capital and Mergers & Acquisitions. He is currently Managing Director of Vulano Group, a leading technology and intellectual property development company. Prior to Vulano he founded M2P Capital, LLC, a Denver based private equity firm, where he is still a partner. Prior to forming M2P Capital, Dirk was a partner in Taleria Ventures, a venture firm engaged in early stage investing and start-up management. In 1988, he founded BACE Industries; a company that executed buy and build strategies in the manufacturing, distribution, business services, and technology industries. His involvement with M2P, Taleria and BACE led to the acquisition, financing or startup of over 60 companies. Dirk served as the initial President of RentX Industries, Inc. (national equipment rental) and BASX Systems, Inc. (water filtration systems). In addition to handling the sale of various portfolio companies, he led three of them through the IPO process. Dirk is currently a member of the executive boards of The Ice Alliance (Bozeman Ice Festival), The American Mountain Guides Association, The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education, Colorado Outward Bound School, and The Hundred Club, and he is member of the Ice Climbing World Cup Committee of the American Alpine Club. He also served on the board of the Access Fund for 7 years (the US national climbing advocacy and conservation organization) and currently sits on their Acquisition and Loan Committee.Dirk graduated from Colorado College and has been climbing and backcountry skiing for 40 years.
TreasurerDavid Wolf is Managing Principal of BSW Wealth Partners, a $1 billion multi-family office and wealth advisory firm serving a national and international clientele from offices in Denver and Boulder. He is also the founder of R3 Returns, an impact-focused bond strategy with $150 million of investor capital. David graduated from the JD/MBA dual-degree program at the University of Colorado at Boulder and received a BA from DePauw University. While at DePauw, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was a visiting student at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University. He is a member of the advisory board of the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Leeds School of Business and an advisor to mission venture capital firm Renewal Funds. David serves as an on-call guide for the Colorado Mountain School, and has completed his AIARE Level I & II, AAI Level III, and is an AMGA Apprentice Rock Guide, and AMGA Apprentice Ski Guide. David and his wife, Norie Kizaki, established the Kizaki-Wolf AIARE Scholarship to support and build a diverse and inclusive community of avalanche professionals and educators.
SecretaryMatt Lipscomb is CEO and cofounder of DMC Biotechnologies, a spin-out from Duke University with locations in Boulder, CO, and Durham, NC. DMC simplifies biology to produce bio-based chemicals for a range of markets. We make fermentation predictable to develop, scale and operate, increasing bio-based products’ chances of success and reducing their environmental impact. Our fermentation processes are efficient and reduce the amount of energy and raw materials needed. Previously, Matt was a founding employee of OPXBIO where he provided technical and strategic leadership for their development programs. His efforts resulted in the successful piloting and initial demonstration of a technology producing 3-hydroxypropionic acid (a precursor to the large volume commodity chemical, acrylic acid) from sugars via fermentation utilizing engineered microbes. In another program at OPXBIO, Matt successfully led a DOE ARPA-E sponsored effort to develop an engineered microbe capable of utilizing CO2 as a feedstock in the production of hydrocarbon fuels. OPXBIO was acquired by Cargill in 2015. A Certified AMGA Ski Guide, Matt is a Mountain Guide with Colorado’s Premier guiding service, The Colorado Mountain School. He works primarily in the CMS ski and ski mountaineering programs and, as a qualified AIARE 1 instructor, in the avalanche education program as well. Matt earned a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Clemson University. To recharge and maintain balance, Matt enjoys skiing, cycling, climbing, and the broad diversity of outdoor adventure opportunities that enrich life in Colorado. When there is snow on the ground, Matt will typically be found chasing powder in Colorado, Utah, Alaska, Canada, or remote venues abroad.
Members at Large
David BarryDavid Barry is President of Pursuit, a collection of iconic, unforgettable and inspiring hospitality and attraction businesses in Alaska, Western Canada, Montana and Iceland (www.pursuitcollection.com) Prior to that David served as President and CEO of a privately held financial services and technology company recently acquired by E-trade. David previously served as the CEO of the Alpine/CMH group of companies which included Alpine Helicopters, Kachina Aviation, Aerotech in addition to Canadian Mountain Holidays, the largest helicopter skiing company in the world. During David’s tenure at CMH the company employed more fully certified Mountain Guides than any other mountain adventure company and was recognized by National Geographic as one of the world’s Top 10 travel experiences. Until 2007, David also served as Chief Operating Officer of Intrawest USA, (now Alterra Mountain Company) with full P/L responsibility for 6 Mountain Resorts and successfully led a division of 14,000 team members with a significant focus on mountain safety, mountain operations on public lands and the creation and nurturing of a unique, entrepreneurial hospitality culture. David is a member of the Young President’s Organization and the Colorado Forum, a non-partisan group of civic, business and education leaders focused on issues of importance to the State of Colorado.
Jeff BuhlJeff has been an avid skier (Alpine, AT and Telemark) and climber who has been climbing up and sliding down hills since the age of five. He learned to ski in the Cascades and Sierras and has since ventured throughout the Western United States, along with excursions to Canada and Europe. Jeff started his backcountry ski adventures in 1995 on the Colorado front range. During his time in the backcountry Jeff has witnessed avalanches in a variety of terrain—from the side country to alpine climbs—and believes in the importance of quality education experiences to safely learn to navigate the backcountry. Professionally, Jeff creates and manages product lines for the global commercial aviation market. Chances are, if you have flown commercially anywhere in the world, Jeff’s solutions have been in the cockpit of your flight. Jeff also served six years on the board of the Access Fund (A non-profit organization that protects and conserves climbing areas throughout the United States) including two and half years as board treasurer.
Char Genevier WymanChar discovered her love and talent for software engineering while in high school, and built her first company at the age of 15, but her love of the mountains precedes that. While in middle school, she begged her parents to let her learn to rock climb, despite not knowing anyone who did. She spent two years at Harvey Mudd College studying theoretical math (in between bouldering problems at the local climbing gym) before dropping out to devote her full attention to building SocialEngine, a white-label social networking platform. As its CTO, she bootstrapped SocialEngine to profitability, took the company through TechStars Boulder in 2011, and eventually sold it to the digital marketing agency Room 214. She moved on to become CEO and founder of The Cotery, a platform for artists and designers to design, pre-sell, and manufacture unique limited-run apparel without the upfront costs and complications of traditional manufacturing. In between all the startups and the coding, Char picked up a ski addiction, which only deepened when she got a taste of the backcountry. Char now spends her work time consulting and building apps for direct-to-consumer eCommerce brands via her company Conjured, and as much of her free time as possible on skis.
Linda LawsonLinda Lawson has served on a variety of boards and advisory committees, has been an adjunct instructor at the University of Denver, School of Accountancy, but now retired spends the majority of her time hiking, backpacking, snow shoeing and backcountry skiing in Colorado. She has been involved in avalanche safety training since 2007 when the first field day was held at Jones Pass with temp at -17 degrees; she reports she did feel her feet till about 10:30 am when a glimmer of sun came out. Linda volunteers for the Colorado Mountain Club in a variety of capacities at both the local level and state level, serving as Board Treasurer for three years, trip leader, school instructor, and a variety of committee chair positions. As an AIARE trained instructor, she has first-hand knowledge of AIARE materials, requirements, and student training since becoming involved in 2012.
Duncan LeeGrowing up in Lake Tahoe, Duncan has been using the backcountry nearly his whole life. From professional big mountain snowboarding, to trekking around the globe, Duncan is always out on adventure. Snowmobiling became an everyday passion in 2002, and Duncan became a snowmobile industry pro with multiple film segments each year. In 2008 Duncan co-founded Alpine Assassins, a pro riders collective producing leading snowmobile films each year. Duncan’s riding, route finding, and safety skills are top-notch and he is devoted to giving clients the ride of a lifetime. Duncan has been instructing Snowmobile specific avalanche awareness classes and is working on becoming an AIARE 1 ProviderAlong with being a backcountry athlete Duncan also produces a monthly web based video series called The Lets Ride Adventures Video Series which catalogs Duncan’s season of riding, where he is, who he is riding with, and the products that they use. So if you want to catch up with what Duncan is up to, then check out letsridetahoe.com.
Jordan Lipp is a partner at the law firm of Childs McCune, LLC in Denver, Colorado, where he focuses on product liability defense, outdoor industry defense, and complex commercial litigation. He is also an adjunct law professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, where he teaches the course: Outdoor Recreation and Ski Law. Jordan frequently writes and lectures on many legal topics, including legal risk management for the ski and adventure park industries. He also authored the book Product Liability Law & Procedure in Colorado, 2nd Ed. (2019).
Jordan is an avid backcountry skier, snowboarder, and ski mountaineer. He wrote the (now out-of-print) guidebook: Backcountry Skiing Berthoud Pass (2005). He has been a volunteer ski patroller and member of the National Ski Patrol for over 25 years. During that time he’s patrolled at alpine ski areas (Berthoud Pass, CO, Eldora, CO, Swain, NY, and Mt. Brighton, MI), cross-country ski areas (Devil’s Thumb Ranch, CO), and backcountry areas (front range backcountry, CO). He’s taught avalanche classes through the National Ski Patrol for over two decades. And, he’s a hopeless ski fanatic – he’s skied on five of the seven continents (and counting), he’s skied at over 100 ski areas worldwide (and many more backcountry locations), and he’s always working on his streak of skiing at least one day every month of the year (with a current streak of over a decade and counting).
Colin MitchellColin grew up in New England, and learned to ski in Vermont and upstate New York. In 1995, he moved to Colorado, and discovered powder skiing, big mountains, and climbing skins. Avalanche work has taken him around the world, and he has worked in the Himalaya, as Snow Safety Officer at Gulmarg Gondola, in South America as an avalanche forecaster for the mining industry, and in Colorado as a ski patroller and avalanche forecaster. He has been teaching avalanche courses since 2005, and is an AIARE Level One and Level Two course leader. Since 2012, Colin has been working for Aprendica, bringing AIARE courses to Argentina and Chile, and helping develop the Spanish language curriculum. During the northern winter, he works as an avalanche forecaster with the CAIC.
Chris WarnerChris has earned his fear of avalanches. He’s been picked up, tumbled around and buried up to his neck by an avalanche in Tibet. He’s been knocked over and had his pants pulled off by an avalanche in Colorado. And when he fell for 450 feet through the air when a rappel anchor failed on Shivling in India, he triggered an avalanche when he slammed into the slope. That avalanche tried to pluck him from the peak, but he just wasn’t fated to die that day. He knows how lucky he is, having lost more than a handful of friends (smart and experienced climbers) to avalanches. As a certified Alpine Guide, he’s studied avalanche forecasting and rescue (the old Level 1, 2 and 3 courses) but still got caught when the deadly combination of weather, terrain and gravity created the alchemy of avalanches. It is this conundrum (avalanches wiping out even the most skilled and educated adventurers) that inspired Chris to join the AIARE board of directors . Chris, who has been climbing for more than 40 years, has led over 230 international mountaineering expeditions: from Antarctica and South America to New Zealand, Africa, the Alps and Nepal. He’s summited six 8000 meter peaks (Everest, K2, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu and Shisha Pangma) and pioneered new routes, alpine style, on Ama Dablam and Shivling. He’s also climbed big walls, frozen waterfalls, boulder problems and sport routes. A lover of plastic, he opened his first (of seven) indoor climbing gyms in 1997 and sold that company, Earth Treks, in 2017. In addition to climbing, Chris is fascinated by leadership. He taught leadership for 16 years at the Wharton School of Business. He’s also worked with covert and special ops teams, CEOs, NFL and NHL teams and Fortune 100 companies (from Google to Morgan Stanley, etc). He is the co-author of High Altitude Leadership and is a keynote speaker. These days Chris is still climbing big peaks, skiing and skinning. While he claims to be retired, he still teaches leadership, mentors entrepreneurs, invests in companies in the fitness and outdoor industries and serves on several for profit boards. Chris, his wife Melinda and daughter Wendy live in Golden, CO (but he is usually found in Aspen).
Margaret WheelerMargaret Wheeler learned to ski and climb at an early age in New England, and became interested in ski mountaineering while living in Europe for several seasons. As a transplant to the Northwest, she guides ski mountaineering, alpine, and rock objectives. In 2006, Margaret became the second woman in the US to complete her full UIAGM guide certification. An active member of the guiding community, she is an instructor of guide training for the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and serves on its board of directors and is a former president of the organization. She is involved in avalanche education through her work as an AIARE Instructor and Trainer.
Kim MillerKim Miller is a veteran of the Snowsports and Outdoor industries and a lifelong backcountry skier and climber. His tenure and experience in Outdoor and Snowsports span a career of over forty years. Kim is currently the CEO of SCARPA North America, based in Boulder, CO. and has been the leader of SCARPA’s North American subsidiary since 2006. In addition to Kim’s work in the industry, Kim is an avid and active supporter of community advocacy work focused on inclusion, climate change and mentorship. Kim was born in South Korea, grew up in Colorado and now calls Boulder his home.
As a lifelong backcountry skier and mountaineer, I know that AIAIRE and the work they do is critical to Avalanche safety and education in North America, and internationally. This work saves lives and helps winter backcountry travelers become more aware and self-sufficient. I’m very excited to contribute to this mission and work with this outstanding organization and Board of Directors.