Administrative Staff

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Vickie Hormuth

Executive Director

Vickie Hormuth

A native of Colorado, Vickie is a lifelong skier who’s been recreating in the backcountry and over 20 years. Thanks to great mentors, she was an early adopter of avalanche and climbing education. Vickie’s passion for the outdoors led her to a career in the nonprofit realm spanning across a multitude of organizations over the past fifteen years including Outward Bound, the Colorado 14ers Initiative, Environmental Defense Center, The Nonprofit Support Center, and the American Alpine Club (AAC). While working in the nonprofit sector, Vickie has gained expertise in fundraising, strategic planning, and program development, passion is for partnerships: working with companies, nonprofits, and government agencies.

 

Vickie holds a B.A. Geography with an emphasis in Hydrology from the University of Colorado, Boulder and serves on the Executive Committee for the State of Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office. Vickie, her husband Scott, and two step-sons split their time between Vail and Crested Butte, CO. When not skiing, she enjoys climbing, mountain biking, and the occasional ultra-marathon trail race.

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Liz Riggs Meder

Education Director

Instructor Trainer

Liz Riggs Meder

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.

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Brooke Retherford

Operations Director

Brooke Retherford

Brooke is the Operations Manager for AIARE after a long career in non profit operations and outdoor education in far reaches of the globe.  She is reasonable for the planning, execution, and review of AIARE's PRO and Instructor Trainer courses. Brooke was lucky enough to be raised in the mountains of Colorado where her passion for adventure and wild places were nourished.  She holds a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a MA in Conflict Resolution from the University of Denver. She now lives in Colorado with her life partner and two girls.

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Whitney Bradberry

Marketing Director

Whitney Bradberry

Whitney is responsible for AIARE's marketing and communications and brings more than a decade of experience working in the outdoor industry, including roles as the American Alpine Club's Marketing Director, where she spearheaded the first-ever State of Climbing Report, and as a freelance marketer for numerous big-name outdoor brands. Hailing from the flatlands of Florida, Whitney moved across the country to Colorado 17 years ago to be closer to the mountains and has never looked back. When she's not running AIARE's communications, Whitney and her husband are probably tackling a home renovation project or enjoying the trails around Colorado.  

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Sean Zimmerman-Wall

Operations and PRO Programs Manager

PRO Instructor

Sean Zimmerman-Wall

Sean joined as the PRO Program Director in 2019 and bases out of Salt Lake City, Utah. He oversees the diverse team of Professional Course Instructors, collaborates with industry stakeholders and venue partners, and is responsible for the continued development of our professional course curriculum. His experience as a Snowbird ski patroller since 2009 provides a baseline for his operational context and opens lines of communication across the industry. Working as a lead guide for Snowbird Mountain Guides and as an assistant guide for both Ruby Mountain Heliski and Monument Catskiing gives him a deeper connection to the mechanized population of avalanche workers. In addition to teaching AIARE Recreational Courses in the Wasatch, Sean serves as the Governance Trustee for the American Avalanche Association.

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Jeff Hambelton

Motorized Program Manager

PRO Instructor

Instructor Trainer

Jeff Hambelton

Jeff is responsible for oversight, development, and vision of AIARE's motorized programs, including Professional, Instructor Trainer, and Recreational programs.  Jeff started snowmobiling in 2007, quickly adapting to a new mode of mountain access.   He completed his AIARE Instructor training in 2012 and joined the AIARE Pro Trainer staff in 2018. He was hired in 2013 by the Northwest Avalanche Center as a Professional Observer and remains on staff as the Snowmobile Education Coordinator.  He dedicates the majority of his winter to riding sleds with friends and teaching snowmobile-based avalanche courses with a growing team of inspiring instructors.  Jeff resides near Mt. Baker where he enjoys a deep snowpack, loamy single-track, and the fall berry harvest.

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Emma Walker

Program Manager

Emma Walker

Emma Walker brings 10 years of outdoor industry experience to her role as AIARE’s Curriculum Manager. She is responsible for managing recreational curriculum such as the fieldbook and online learning content, as well as AIARE’s education communications and support for instructor training and continuing education. Emma holds a master’s degree in outdoor and environmental education from Alaska Pacific University, where she completed her thesis research on decision-making dynamics among Denali guides. She has edited two volumes of The Snowy Torrents, a collection of avalanche accident data and analysis published by the American Avalanche Association, and her writing has appeared in Outside, Powder, and The Avalanche Review, along with her book, Dead Reckoning: Learning from Accidents in the Outdoors (Falcon, 2021). Emma lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

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Sarah MacGregor

Member Services Manager

Sarah MacGregor

Sarah works as the backbone of day-to-day communications and office operations at AIARE, bringing in over a decade of experience in administration, management, and IT and over 14 years of work in the outdoor industry as a guide and educator. As a Colorado native, she fell in love with snowboarding in high school and began splitboarding and rock climbing in her college years at Colorado State University where she studied Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism and Spanish. Sarah is currently an AIARE instructor and is trained by the American Mountain Guides Association in the Splitboard, Alpine, and Rock disciplines. Her experience and training cohesively inform her ability to support the AIARE team and their diverse members. She is among the only Women AMGA trained splitboard guides in Colorado and actively makes it her goal to change that by elevating women in the mountains through teaching women’s specific programs and workshops. She is currently based in Fraser, CO where you might find her around playing “hide and seek” with her dog Fawkes who is training to be a CRAD-certified avalanche rescue dog.

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Azissa Singh

Operations Administrator

Mentorship Program Manager

Azissa Singh

Born and raised in South Carolina, Azissa’s early outdoor adventures included exploring backyard woods and streams. At the University of South Carolina, she began her journey as an outdoor instructor—a journey that has led her from fieldwork instructing and guiding to managing outdoor programs for universities, nonprofits, commercial operations, and everything in between. Azissa joins AIARE to do the work of creating more accessible and sustainable pathways to work as an avalanche educator, with a focus on those who have traditionally been marginalized.

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Kelly Robbins

Instructor Training Program Supervisor

PRO Instructor and Instructor Trainer

Kelly Robbins

Born and raised in rural Oregon near the town of Corvallis, Kelly developed an early affection for the outdoors and spent countless hours exploring the woods near his house. He is currently based out of Bend, Oregon, where he is able to work throughout the Intermountain West. Kelly has been guiding and teaching avalanche classes for Utah Mountain Adventures since the 05/06 winter season, and he has been working for NOLS since 2007. In 2012, Kelly finished his M.S. in Outdoor Education at the University of Utah, and he joined Westminster College in Salt Lake City as an Adjunct Faculty in 2013. Kelly has also worked as a Course Leader for several AIARE providers, and he joined the AIARE Instructor Trainer team in 2019. Despite all the time in the mountains, however, the true pleasures in his life are his wife Kat and son Zander.

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Ron Funderburke

Program Manager

Ron Funderburke

Ron is a career educator, writer, and curriculum designer.  He's spent the last 20 years working mostly in the climbing industry, but these days avalanche education has captured his attention.  Ron's work as an AIARE instructor and course leader, combined with his leadership and administrative experience, have prepared him to join the AIARE staff as a Program Manager.  He'll be focusing on curriculum design, updates, and support.

As a writer, his instructional books are available through FalconGuides, covering topics ranging from rock-climbing to ropecraft to ice-climbing. Ron was also a contributing editor on Rock Climbing: The AMGA Single Pitch Manual. You can read shorter samples of his work throughout the Know the Ropes publications from the American Alpine Club, Rock and Ice, Gym Climber, and Climbing magazines.  He is an AMGA Certified Rock and Alpine Guide, and he still works as a guide at the Colorado Mountain School.

 
Ron lives in Arvada CO, where he is an avid tennis player and high school coach, a father of two sons Ronnie and James, and occasional sufferer of absurdly spicy food.

Instructor Staff

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Aaron Ball

Instructor Trainer

PRO Instructor

Aaron Ball

Skiing since the 1970’s, he would burn through numerous gloves a season on the local rope tow. After years of skiing deep powder on skinny skis and surviving his early backcountry skiing career through mostly ignorance and good luck, he became a ski patroller at Mammoth Mountain, where he quickly learned about the dangers and intricacies of avalanches. Working there for six seasons, Aaron served as an avalanche control route leader, often shot a really big gun, and was active in the avalanche and snow study program. He spent many days exploring the backcountry of the Eastern Sierra, and in 2005, Aaron moved to Durango, CO with his partner and their two children where he has been working for San Juan Mountain Guides as an alpine/ski guide and AIARE course leader. He is currently working his way through the AMGA certification process. In 2012, Aaron completed his master’s degree in adventure education where he studied risk management and decision-making in outdoor leaders. He owns Southwest Rescue teaching rescue education including wilderness medicine and swiftwater rescue. He also works for Fort Lewis College as an adjunct faculty and coordinates program operations.

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Anna Hicks

PRO Instructor

Anna Hicks

Anna spent her childhood playing in the woods around her home in Olympia, WA.  In college she fell in love with the backcountry during her first backpacking trip, and she spent the next decade building and maintaining trails for Mount Rainier National Park.  In 2014 Anna earned an MBA in Sustainable Systems with a certificate in Sustainable Agricultural Systems, and in 2015 she became a mountain guide.  She is now an AMGA apprentice Rock Guide and apprentice Ski Guide.  After three years of ski patrolling, in 2018 Anna began teaching AIARE recreational avalanche classes, and in 2023 she joined the AIARE Pro instructor team.  When not at work Anna loves to sleep, trail run, climb splitter cracks, ski giggle-pow, and spend as much time as possible with her wonderful husband.  

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Anna Keeling

PRO Instructor

Anna Keeling

Anna Keeling is an IFMGA guide. From Christchurch, New Zealand. Home is now Kura Tawhiti/Castle Hill Village (NZ) and Salt Lake City, Utah. Mother of one and owner/operator of Anna Keeling Guiding (AKG), Anna has spent her life zipping around outdoors - winning the  world’s first expedition adventure race and many multisport endurance events. Anna now trains and examines mountain and ski guides for both the New Zealand Mountain Guide Association (NZMGA) and the American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA). With a focus on affordable recreational avalanche education, she’s taught avalanche courses for AKG, the New Zealand Mountain Safety council, Utah Avalanche Centre, the American Avalanche Institute and Utah Mountain Adventures. Now she joins AIARE to teach pro courses. A writer, Anna was the Ski Columnist for the Christchurch Press from 2011-2014 and managed the writing and development of the NZMGA guide manual as well as publishing six articles for The NZ Climber. She now blogs for CHILL and freelances for other outdoor publications in addition to consulting for various guide and work safe operations.

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Anne St. Clair

Instructor Trainer

PRO Instructor

Anne St. Clair

Anne St. Clair is an avalanche forecaster, educator, and social scientist who supports projects that strengthen knowledge and communication systems for natural hazards.

Originally a Pennsylvania native, Anne migrated west on a cross-country road cycling adventure, eventually landing in Breckenridge, CO and Moab, UT. Anne has over a decade of combined experience working in avalanche education, backcountry ski and mountain bike guiding, and avalanche forecasting. She earned a B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University. Anne is currently pursuing a PhD with the Simon Fraser University Avalanche Research Program (SARP) in British Columbia, Canada to better understand how people process information to manage avalanche risk in their environments. She works with Avalanche Canada as a public avalanche forecaster and with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) as an Instructor Trainer and Education Committee member.

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Billy Rankin

Instructor Trainer

PRO Instructor

Billy Rankin

Billy Rankin has been an outdoor professional since 1992 when he arrived in Crested Butte, Colorado focusing on guiding and education. He began with Outward Bound in 1994 leading mountaineering, river, sea kayaking, and canyon courses in Colorado, Utah, Mexico, and Alaska. Billy has worked in several different operational settings in the avalanche world. Billy was a forecaster for the Crested Butte Avalanche Center for 10 years. He worked for 10-years on the Crested Butte Professional Ski Patrol. He also previously worked as a snowcat ski guide for Irwin Lodge and backcountry ski guide for Crested Butte Mountain Guides. He currently works as a snowcat ski guide and avalanche course instructor for Irwin Guides & Eleven Experience. Billy is a certified Pro 1 Avalanche Practitioner, a certified A3 & AIARE (Rec & Pro) Avalanche Instructor. Billy is a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician and runs his own business, Intuition Consulting teaching wilderness medicine and also teaches WFR courses for Desert Mountain Medicine. During the off seasons Billy may be found playing in the Elk Mountains with his wife Erin and two kids Revi & Vasey, boating and fishing on a beautiful river corridor, or wandering in a slickrock desert.

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Chris Bremer

PRO Instructor

Chris Bremer

Chris is the Snowbird Snow Safety Supervisor and calls Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah his home. His journey to Snowbird started long ago on the frozen slopes of the Adirondack Mountains in New York. From there, college took Chris to the Front Range of Colorado where he got an Engineering Degree from the Colorado School of Mines, and more importantly, started dabbling in the snow covered Rocky Mountains.  Choosing to leave behind the engineering world for snowy slopes has allowed Chris to work as an industrial avalanche forecaster in Chile, an AIARE certified recreational instructor throughout the western US, and to obtain his Canadian Avalanche Association Operations Level 2. Chris joined the AIARE Instructor Staff as a member of the PRO Instructor team in 2019. Currently, Chris stays busy forecasting avalanches at Snowbird, organizing training for the ski patrol, and teaching AIARE Professional Avalanche Courses.

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Colin Mitchell

Instructor Trainer

PRO Instructor

Colin Mitchell

Colin 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, and a 3A Certified Instructor. 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.

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Daryl Teittinen

PRO Instructor

Daryl Teittinen

Daryl has been fascinated with all things snow and avalanches as long as he has known they exist. Originally an east coast skier he has been living and working in the Sierra Nevada for over 20 seasons, currently based in Truckee CA. Daryl has worked as a Professional Ski Patroller and Assistant Snow Safety Director, Professional Observer and Field Work Partner for the Sierra Avalanche Center, Backcountry Skiing Guide, AIARE Course Leader, Outdoor Adventure Leadership faculty at Sierra Nevada College and dedicated trail breaker to find the best snow. He has a Masters in Education Degree, is a Professional member of the American Avalanche Association and is working on the AMGA Ski and Rock Guide Certification process. 

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Duncan Lee

Instructor Trainer

PRO Instructor

Duncan Lee

Growing 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.

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Erica Engle

Instructor Trainer

PRO Instructor

Erica Engle

Erica is an IFMGA/UIAGM licensed mountain guide, AAA professional member and AIARE trainer team member currently based in Jackson, Wyoming.  She hails from Washington state, where she learned to ski and climb in the Cascade Mountains.  Erica has worked professionally in the mountains since 2003, in various roles, as a climbing ranger, ski patroller, avalanche educator and ski, rock and alpine guide.  She splits her time between Wyoming, Washington, Alaska, Nevada and internationally, in ranges around the world.  Erica has a background in landscape, forest, and fisheries ecology, with a BS in Environmental Science from Western Washington University.  She is also an athlete ambassador for Outdoor Research and a passionate adventurer intent on connecting people to the incredible natural world around us.

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Geoff Unger

PRO Instructor

Geoff Unger

Geoff is an IFMGA Mountain Guide based in Mammoth Lakes, CA.  He works full time in the winter as a ski and splitboard guide.  Geoff joined the Instructor Staff at AIARE as a Pro avalanche course instructor in the winter of 2018/2019.  In addition to his role as a Pro avalanche course instructor, he teaches AIARE Rec programs in the Sierra Nevada.  Geoff has a background in operational risk management from running a small guide service as operations manager.  His involvement in the industry also extends to teaching Ski Guide programs for the American Mountain Guides Association and developing ski and snowboard movement standards for guides.

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Greg Shaffran

Full Stack Engineer

Instructor Trainer

Greg Shaffran

Born and raised in Aspen, Colorado, Greg Shaffran is a software entrepreneur and avalanche educator who has been involved with AIARE since 2012. At AIARE Greg works as a Course Leader, a part of the Instructor Trainer Team, and a Full Stack Engineer. A passionate skier and adventurer, Greg has been engaged in the realm of mountain safety as a professional and volunteer for many years. In addition, he has worked as a professional chef, backcountry ski guide, and founder of Guide’s Guru. In 2011, Greg joined Mountain Rescue Aspen and has been a board member since 2019. He is also sits on the board for the Alfred A. Braun Hut System, Colorado’s first hut system.

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Howie Schwartz

PRO Instructor

Howie Schwartz

Howie Schwartz has been involved in avalanche education since 1996 and has been working to learn, teach, and develop AIARE curriculum since 1999. Howie is an AIARE Instructor Trainer, actively teaches AIARE 1, 2, & 3 courses as Course Leader and Instructor. Howie conceived of the original version of the AIARE decision making framework in 2003 and has delivered ISSW presentations on the topic of teaching decision making in avalanche terrain. He is an IFMGA/UIAGM Mountain Guide since 2001 and has guided professionally worldwide since 1997. Howie is co-owner of Sierra Mountain Guides, based in Bishop, California where he and his family reside. He serves on the Technical Committee for the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and has been an Instructor/Examiner and Ski Program Coordinator designing and implementing curriculum for AMGA guide training programs since 2000. He was a founding director for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center and is a Professional Member of the American Avalanche Association.

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Ian Nicholson

PRO Instructor

Ian Nicholson

Upon meeting Ian Nicholson it will be quickly apparent that he is one of the most enthusiastic and passionate instructors you will ever meet. Ian has been guiding in both the summer and winter for over 15 years and began teaching AIARE courses in 2008. Since then he has taught over 80 AIARE L1 and L2 courses in addition to ski and ice guiding the world over. Ian joined the AIARE Instructor Staff team in 2018. He is an IFMGA/UIAGM licensed Mountain Guide and instructs in all three disciplines (Rock, Alpine, Ski) for the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). The past five years he has worked in the field for the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) as a Professional Observer helping to come up with the public forecast.  Ian has also worked previously for the Alaska Avalanche and Information Center and on the snow safety team for Tailgate Alaska. Ian also specializes in reviewing backcountry-oriented equipment as a senior editor for OutdoorGearLab and authored the climbing guidebook SUPERTOPO: Washington Pass Climbing.

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Jennifer Boisvert

Instructor Trainer

Jennifer Boisvert

Jenna grew up in the mountains of Colorado, but didn’t recognize her brewing passion for the outdoors until after college. As a young biologist, she ended up in a ski town looking for winter work, and a friend who taught her to telemark ski. After moving to Alaska in 2002, Jenna found “the goods” as a backcountry telemark skier in the big mountains. Amidst her backcountry enthusiasm she recognized the need to empower more women in the outdoors, and began instructing women-specific courses in 2009. She is the former owner of Backcountry Babes, and as an AIARE Course Lead (2017), has helped several AIARE providers across the West start and run their own women’s-specific avalanche courses. She has an Avalanche Level 3 certification, is a Pro Member of the AAA, and has taught co-ed and women’s recreational courses in AK, CO, UT, WA, OR, MT, and ID. Jenna currently lives in McCall, ID and works for Payette Powder Guides as an instructor/guide. She also has a M.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology, and a M.S. degree in Sustainable Design.

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John Littleton

Instructor Trainer

John Littleton

John grew up skiing in the Midwest when the Stem Christie was all the rage. After college and a stint in the US Navy, he’s since learned how to make a modern turn on skis and has called Lake Tahoe home for the last 20 years. John has been both a Professional Ski Patroller and Outdoor Educator teaching Experiential Education at Primary, Secondary and College Levels. Most winters he divides his time between teaching Recreational Avalanche courses and Ski Guiding in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

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Joshua Cole

PRO Instructor

Joshua Cole

Joshua Cole is an AIARE Pro Instructor and Recreational Course Leader, as well as an IFMGA Licensed Guide, certified by the AMGA in the Rock, Alpine, and Ski disciplines. Josh is a risk management consultant for Experiential Consulting, and has provided presentations, training, and audits on wilderness risk management to numerous organizations. Josh has worked as a professional ski patroller in Montana and New Zealand, and has a former life as a geologist. Josh primarily works in the North Cascades of Washington as a ski, alpine, and rock guide for North Cascade Heli Skiing, and North Cascades Mountain Guides, where he is an owner.

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Kate Koons

PRO Instructor

Kate Koons

Kate has been teaching avalanche courses for the past 15 years. Her education career started back in 1997 working as an outdoor educator. In 2002, Kate started working for NOLS and also discovered that backcountry skiing was incredibly fun. This lead to years of instructing field courses, instructor trainings and teaching avalanche courses for a variety of providers. In 2017, Kate started working for the American Avalanche Association as the Pro Training Coordinator, managing and overseeing the pro avalanche program which began in the winter of 2017-18. Teaching avalanche courses is just one of the many jobs Kate holds onto these days. She can also be found ski guiding, and most recently working as the field risk manager for the US Antarctic program. Kate lives in Victor, ID where she can be found wandering around the mountains on foot, bike or skis.

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Kelly McNeil

Instructor Trainer

Kelly McNeil

Kelly McNeil grew up skiing and snowmobiling in northeastern Wyoming.  She now lives in northeastern Oregon and is an associate professor at Eastern Oregon University in the Health and Human Performance department with a focus on community/public health. She teaches both motorized and non-motorized avalanche courses and is an avalanche forecaster for the Wallowa Avalanche Center. She and her husband also own a backcountry ski guide business.  Kelly also works as a program evaluator, assessing the effectiveness of existing programs.  Kelly also loves mountain biking, trail running, climbing and doing everything with her golden retrievers. 

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Kristin Arnold

Instructor Trainer

Kristin Arnold

Kristin Arnold is an AMGA / IFMGA Mountain Guide based in Ridgway, CO with a goofy spirit, inclusive attitude, and impressive athletic ability. In a former life, Kristin won national titles in cross country running and was the goalkeeper for championship soccer teams at the collegiate and professional levels. She has also worked as an avalanche forecaster and summited Denali over 10 times. In spite of her accomplishments, Kristin maintains a patient teaching style and commitment to meeting people “where they are at” in terms of skill-level, fitness, and confidence. Most importantly she loves Twinkies...pass her one when you meet in the backcountry!

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Lucas Mouttet

Instructor Trainer

Lucas Mouttet

I spend most of the winter out of Steamboat Springs, CO, working for Bluebird Backcountry, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and Never Summer Outdoor School. In the summer I get to spend time with my family (2 shredder girls), play music, run and bike in the hills and float on the wet stuff.

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Lyra Pierotti

Instructor Trainer

Lyra Pierotti

Lyra grew up in Vallejo, California, and was raised by a violinist. In college, she got into rock climbing through UC San Diego’s Outback Adventures where she was mentored in outdoor leadership. She spent her senior year studying in the French Alps, where she learned to backcountry ski and ice climb. This snowballed into a career as a guide, at first focusing on rock climbing and avalanche education, where she found ways to teach others about her passions–much as she watched her mother do as a music teacher.

Lyra is an AMGA Rock Guide, Assistant Alpine Guide, and Apprentice Ski Guide, as well as an AIARE Course Leader and Instructor Trainer. She is a Senior Guide for Alpine Ascents where she guides full time and helps to train the guide staff. She has been teaching AIARE courses since 2011 and makes as much time as possible for mentorship programs to help others find their way into the mountains.

Tangential to guiding, Lyra is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist who trains mountain athletes. And you might see her byline on various reviews on OutdoorGearLab.

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Margaret Wheeler

Instructor Trainer

PRO Instructor

Margaret Wheeler

Margaret 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.

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Matt Schebaum

Instructor Trainer

PRO Instructor

Matt Schebaum

Matt is an AIARE motorized instructor trainer, member of our motorized Pro trainer team, and co-founder of The Mountain Riding Lab - a motorized AIARE rec provider where he is a course leader. He has worked for professional snowmobile guiding operations in Colorado and Wyoming, and currently guides for his own operation in Southeast Idaho. Originally from Upstate New York, Matt now lives in Jackson, WY where he also works as an observer and educator for the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center. In his spare time, Matt enjoys dirt biking and wakesurfing.

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Max Wittenberg

PRO Instructor

Max Wittenberg

Born and raised in Northern California Max has been fortunate enough to explore in the Sierra since a young age and currently resides in the small town of Portola, CA. He has spent the last decade and a half guiding and teaching in a variety of mountain climates. Max considers his specialty as a mechanized guide where he has spent 14 seasons working in the heli ski industry in Valdez, Alaska and currently serves as a lead guide and snow safety director for Alaska Backcountry Guides. He brings his experience in operational procedures and risk management as a PRO instructor for AIARE. Max also works for Sierra Avalanche Center as a motorized instructor and runs his small guiding business West Wind Collective. During the off season he can be found staffing his local ambulance and on a private contract technical rescue team.

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Nancy Bockino

Instructor Trainer

Nancy Bockino

Nancy Bockino grew up in the mountains of Idaho, Montana and Washington. She began climbing, backcountry skiing and working as a field ecologist in the early 1990’s. Nancy moved from the Cascades to Jackson Hole Wyoming in 2000 and fell in love with the mountains, whitebark pine trees and the local community. Nancy keeps quite busy working as an ecologist caring for whitebark pine in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, an AIARE Level 1 and 2 Course Leader, a member of the AIARE Instructor Trainer Team, a professional member of the AAA, a part-time guide for Exum Mountain Guides, an instructor for Jackson Hole Outdoor Leadership Institute, an EMT and member of Teton County Search and Rescue and the rescue team at Grand Teton National Park. Nancy also has a teaching certificate and a graduate degree in Ecology and Botany. Gratefully so, Nancy spends nearly every single day in the mountains. She has a passion for sharing the experience of the blissful freedom, happiness and empowerment that comes with knowing how to respectfully travel through and play in the mountains.

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Roger Coit

Instructor Trainer

PRO Instructor

Roger Coit

Roger Coit lives in Salida and is the avalanche science program director at Colorado Mountain College. He also teaches EMS, wilderness medicine, and outdoor studies courses. Roger has served as the project lead for the avalanche science program since its inception in 2014, working to design the program in collaboration with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Prior to becoming full-time faculty in 2009, he taught as an adjunct instructor for the college since 1997, leading courses in recreational avalanche safety, wilderness medicine, and urban EMS. He has been an educator since 1995 and has worked variably as a paramedic, EMS agency director, assistant ski patrol director, snow safety coordinator, and manager of a whitewater rafting operation on the Arkansas River.

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Sheldon Kerr

Instructor Trainer

PRO Instructor

Sheldon Kerr

Sheldon Kerr is an AMGA/IFMGA Certified Mountain Guide and was the twelfth woman in the United States to earn that accolade. She boasts a long client list including US Special Forces Teams, fourth grade classrooms, spanish-speaking silver miners, professional skiers, and queer ice climbing enthusiasts. Her accomplishments in ski mountaineering and in promoting gender equity in the guiding world have been featured in Backcountry, Outside, and Powder magazines. She is also learning to skateboard. As of this writing, she can turn on very small ramps -sometimes. (Tell your dog she said hi).

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Travis Feist

PRO Instructor

Travis Feist

Travis grew up skiing in the Adirondacks, and moved to Colorado after high school to explore bigger mountains. He experienced his first Tahoe snowstorm while on a cross country motorcycle trip, and decided to stick around. Travis has been working in the snow ever since; as a guide, pro patroller, and now splitting his time as the Training Coordinator for AIARE, an Observer for the Sierra Avalanche Center, and guiding and teaching in South America in the “off” season. Skiing and motorsports have remained common threads for Travis, both in work and play.

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Wendolyn Antibus

PRO Instructor

Wendolyn Antibus

Wendolyn grew up in upstate New York.  After earning a degree in Archaeology from Oberlin College (it really is related to snow science), she moved to Tahoe to pursue a life in the mountains.  She is an Avalanche Forecaster for Mt Rose Ski Tahoe and brings a wealth of experience from the ski patrol operations world, as well as medical experience as an RN and EMT.  She is an Avalanche Dog Handler and teaches AIARE Rec courses in the Tahoe area.  When she’s not out on the snow, Wendolyn can usually be found either rafting, backpacking, biking, taking photos, or working on building her off-the-grid cabin.