The USDA Forest Service avalanche centers are continuing to operate despite the partial government shutdown because of the critical public safety information they provide.
Mark grew up skiing in the lowly Appalachians, addicted to Powder Magazine and Greg Stump films, and dreaming of a day when he could live and play out West. That dream came true in 2002 when he quit his job and drove from Maryland to Wyoming. Brimming with excitement and naive confidence, Mark charged into the Jackson Hole backcountry with little knowledge of avalanche terrain and no safety equipment whatsoever. He avoided serious consequences thanks to dumb (literally) luck alone.
|Holly YocumVice President||
Holly is fortunate to have spent her life playing in the Sierra Nevada. A lover of any form of sliding on skis in the snow, Holly has been a full time backcountry user since the turn of the century. Upon learning that alpine touring is supported by a network of mountain huts in many countries, she combined a love of travel and backcountry skiing to pursue ski tours in Norway, Morocco, the Alps of France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria.
Holly became interested in the dynamics and dangers of avalanches after the Alpine Meadows avalanche in 1982 and as a result of her travels in avalanche terrain during her backcountry adventures. She believes that education, awareness and access to avalanche advisories have the power to alter and improve decision making, allowing for safer backcountry use.
Holly lives, works and plays in Incline Village, using her degree in geology to bore her friends on long trail runs.
Bob recently retired from the US Forest Service after 37+ years. He spent the last 25 years as the Winter Sports Specialist on the Truckee Ranger District. Among his duties was the administration of the permits of the local ski areas (Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, Boreal, Donner Ski Ranch, Royal Gorge) on National Forest lands and the avalanche forecasting program (as it was known at that time). He coordinated the military artillery used in avalanche control for Region 5 of the Forest Service (California). He usually spent much of the summer months managing large fires as an Operations Section Chief or Safety Officer across the west.
Professionally Bob was one of the early members of the American Avalanche Association, served two terms as a Director with Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue and was one of the founding members of the Avalanche Artillery Users Committee of North America. He was nominated and elected to the B-77 ANSI committee for tramways representing recreation within the Forest Service. Bob was the advisor to the Forest Service Regional Office in explosive and artillery use for avalanche control and winter sports.
In 2005 he put together the concept of the Sierra Avalanche Center which stared with Brandon as a volunteer forecaster to assist him in the forecasting duties. Previous to that Bob was a one person shop putting out avalanche advisories when the hazard was HIGH or above for 20 years. He served as the Forest Service advisor/representative to the board in the early years ensuring that Forest Service support and resources were available. He was the supervisor of the forecasters until his retirement setting the direction of the program.
He has been married for 33 years, has two grown children and 1 Golden Retriever Dog who travels with him in the backcountry. He has lived in the Truckee/Tahoe area for 38 years.
Jonathan has been backcountry skiing since the mid 1980s when he started telemarking, in the primitive days before “AT.” He has enjoyed the Sierra and lived in Truckee for the last 24 years, raising kids and adventuring. He was an active member of Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue for many years, and believes that creating informed and educated backcountry users will create a safer backcountry experience, and get more people out to appreciate the beauty and exhilaration the mountains provide. He also brings business experience to SAC as previous President of a large medical corporation in Reno for 12 years and continues to work in the medical field in Truckee.
Jonathan enjoys cycling, nordic and backcountry skiing, backpacking and traveling. He spends his free time outside playing, and frequently caving in his endorphin addiction.
David has been an avid backcountry skier since moving out west in 1989. He learned to telemark ski on Mt Lassen and Mt Shasta before moving to the Tahoe Basin and then Reno. He teaches Wilderness Medicine to medical students, residents and practicing physician in various settings; with an emphasis on getting them "out there" using their skills. In addition to back country skiing, David enjoys kayaking, rafting and cycling.
Kerry had to ditch the snowboard and switch back to skis when she and her then boyfriend, now husband, planned a three person, self-guided ascent of Denali in 2000. Twenty-three days on the mountain marked the beginning of a backcountry ski life. That, and moving back to California and the Sierra Nevada mountains after grad school sure helped. Kerry has been able to enjoy the backcountry of Tahoe while the kids are in school and has been lucky enough to ski tour in Norway and the Alps of France, Switzerland, and Austria.
Kerry is a volunteer National Ski Patrol at Alpine Meadows and is a searcher on the ski team for Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue. She is Level II AIARE certified and brings her skills of education, community outreach, and project management to the Sierra Avalanche Center.
Neil Morse came out to Tahoe as a wide-eyed 20-year-old from New Hampshire in the winter of 1989 and was soon hooked on the Sierra's snow and terrain at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. He went into the back country for the first time via the gates at Alpine Meadows. He is a Realtor, a ski instructor at Squaw Valley, a ski searcher for the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team and is a father of two skiing boys. Over the years, he's lost friends to avalanches and has heard too many stories about skier and rider mishaps in the back country so he decided it was time to volunteer to help get the word out about avalanche awareness. He's completed his Avalanche Level II and hopes to continue to be a life-long learner.
Zach grew up in Oregon skiing at Mt. Hood, watching Warren Miller films, and dreaming of living in the mountains. He moved to Colorado and became a ski instructor which took him to Crested Butte and Summit County before moving to Tahoe for a deeper snowpack.
Zach worked as a ski instructor at Squaw Valley and brewed beer at the Lake Tahoe Brewing Company where he met his wife Danielle. His passion for spending time in the mountains and his interest in snow led him to become a Ski Patroller. While doing avalanche control work along the Sierra Crest the mystery powerful pacific storms lured him back to school where he completed his bachelor's degree in Atmospheric Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. Zach works at NOAA’s National Weather Service where he spends his workdays forecasting the weather in the Sierra and his days off skiing as much as possible.
|JB James BrownDirector||
James Brown, known simply as "JB", is a transplant from Western Wyoming who now lives in North Tahoe. A mountain guide by trade, JB has been working in California for the past 12 years. He primarily has guided and climbed in Mt. Shasta and the High Sierra, though he in no stranger to international travel having worked in 7 countries and 4 continents. This is all highlighted by 9 seasons guiding and climbing in the Himalaya and in 2007 JB won the REI Guide of the Year award.
Though he still guides JB has been shifting out of the mountains and into an office the last few year. He now serves as the Chief Marketing officer for California Ski Guides and SWS Mountain Guides.
An avid skier JB can often be found skiing the Mt. Rose backcountry with his wife Emily and his dogs Echo and Trundle.
David Bunker is a writer for The Abbi Agency, a digital communications firm with offices in Reno and Las Vegas. He is a former newspaper reporter and editor and an occasional freelance magazine writer.
Born and raised in California, David grew up backpacking through the Sierra Nevada and California's coastal mountains, and rock climbing in Pinnacles and Yosemite. After four years studying journalism inside the Beltway at the University of Maryland, he moved to Tahoe in 2003.
When he finds time to get out from behind his desk, David splitboards, mountain bikes and provides comic relief for serious flyfishermen and trophy trout on the Truckee River by snarling his flyline in willow thickets for hours on end.
David is a contributing editor to Moonshine Ink, and the recipient of awards from the National Newspaper Association, California Newspaper Publishers Association and the Nevada Press Association.
Todd Offenbacher is an adventure climber, skier, and TV host for the Resorts Sports Network in Lake Tahoe. He has climbed first ascents around the world including 14 routes on El Captain in Yosemite, two with a disabled climber. He is a recipent of the Mugs Stump Award and the Lyman Spitzer Grant from the American Alpine Club. Todd skis the backcountry and local resorts during winters in Lake Tahoe. Todd has completed his AIARE Level 2 Avalanche training.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a major in Psychology and Business, he moved out west and worked as a wilderness Instructor in Montana. Then migrated to San Francisco where he managed the Athlete and Expedition Department for The North Face. With the Sierras in his backyard, he focused all of his free time rock/alpine climbing and backcountry snowboarding. Eventually, he moved on to larger terrain giving up his job to travel and climb internationally. Jason currently resides in Truckee, CA where he manages operations for an internet provider.