Chris King
President

After growing up on the east coast, Chris and his wife Amy moved west in the 90’s and have been seeking adventure since – typically in various forms of skiing, cycling, and hiking. After 20 years in the Bay Area, the King family moved to Donner Summit full time, seizing the opportunity to be in the mountains year-round – and on skis a lot more. Professionally, Chris is a recovering marketing executive and currently advises start-ups – he still enjoys the process of helping tech companies and products grow from nothing to something. Chris also serves on the board of Sugar Bowl Ski Team and Academy – another outlet for his dual passions of mountain winters and education.

Zach Tolby
Secretary

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.

Mark Bunge
Treasurer

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.

After moving to California, Mark wised up and belatedly began studying avalanche safety. He joined the Sierra Avalanche Center to help fellow Tahoe backcountry enthusiasts safely enjoy the amazing terrain that our area has to offer, avoid the bad choices he made, and come home safe due to smart, informed decision-making, not sheer luck.

Mark works as a political and market researcher, and spends his free time skiing, playing volleyball, rock climbing, and falling off his mountain bike.

Jonathan Laine
Director
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 to his endorphin addiction.

Kerry Stendell
Director

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.

Peter Stanton
Director

Peter Stanton brings experience in non-profit fundraising, leadership, and conservation to SAC. When not on the skin track, Peter leads the Walker Basin Conservancy’s efforts to restore Walker Lake in one of the largest watershed protection projects in North America. Winter typically finds him on the east side of the crest between Mount Rose and Tioga Pass. 

Peter is fortunate to have been introduced to the backcountry with strong mentorship, formal avalanche education and regular avalanche forecasts from Sierra Avalanche Center and ESAC. He is excited to contribute to keeping our community safe in the backcountry.

Peter is a joyful husband and a rabid skier and ski tourer. He spends summers running in the mountains on trails and has completed multiple mountain ultramarathons.

 

Tasha Thomas
Director
Tasha works for the Lake Tahoe Unified School District as a Physical Education Specialist. During the summers, she coaches Mountain Biking workshops and camps for LTCC. She also is a Professional Mountain bike racer, racing in both enduro and downhill disciplines. She has been an outdoor enthusiast her entire life and began fulfilling her love for the outdoors in the Adirondacks and White Mountains on the eastern coast of the states. Her passion for rock climbing, mountain biking and exploring the larger mountain ranges lead her to the Sierra Nevadas over 10 years ago where she decided to settle in South Lake Tahoe. Her desire to be out in the bigger terrain has molded her to become passionate about Avalanche Awareness and educating others around her.
 
Her top choice of winter excitement to satisfy the adrenaline is on her snowmobile which undoubtedly involves entering terrain with risk. She has a strong mission to uphold safety for those around her as well as herself and is adamant about avalanche education. She is an Ambassador of Fun and is devoted to avalanche awareness for all group users of the backcountry, especially in the motorized sector. 
Sara Davidson
Director

Sara is from Olympic Valley, California, and was first on skis at 18 months. Skiing has given Sara the opportunity to explore remote and far away zones, but she believes nothing compares to the beauty of the home range and its community of passionate skiers. 

Sara sees sliding on snow as a lifelong gift, and she is committed to education and teaching the next generation. She has completed her AIARE Level 2 and has coached for kids’ ski and mountain bike programs.  

When not in the skin track, on a trail, or bribing her kids with gummy bears and chocolate chip cookies to take “one more run,” Sara is an estate planning attorney at Truckee firm, Porter Simon. 

Todd Offenbacher
Director

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.

Jason Oelkers
Director

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.

David Fiore
Director

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.

David Bunker
Director

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.

JB James Brown
Director Emeritus

James Brown, known as “JB” by his friends, passed away unexpectedly in May 2022. JB served on the Sierra Avalanche Center board for nearly a decade, including three years as president. An avid skier and climber, JB was an AMGA Certified Ski and Alpine Guide, co-owner of SWS Mountain Guides and California Ski Guides, and the 2007 recipient of REI’s Guide of the Year.

JB is dearly missed by countless friends and family in our mountain community. He will be remembered not only for his incomparable backcountry skill, but also for his sarcastic wit, caring spirit, and generous heart. JB helped establish the Sierra Avalanche Center's scholarship program, which will be named in his memory.