People
Mark O'Geen
Executive Director

Growing up in the Central Sierra foothills, Mark developed a passion for skiing as a youngster at Bear Valley and Kirkwood Ski Areas. After high school he jumped at the opportunity to move north and attend Washington State University, where his GPA inversely correlated with snow fall amounts in North Idaho and BC. Next he moved to Alta for a position as the assistant manager of Watson’s Shelter, a live-in mid-mountain restaurant. This is where he became inspired by avalanches, and chose to pursue a ski patrol career. While working at Solitude he became an avalanche control route leader, patrol foreman, and a lead guide for Solitude’s backcountry ski program. With interest in year round employment, he gave the restaurant industry another try, this time as the general manager of the mid-mountain lodge at Snowbird. His Sierra home called next, where with Kirkwood Ski Patrol he gained experience on the Sierra Crest and witnessed just how quickly a hazard can develop. He took the steps to become an AIARE instructor and professional member of the American Avalanche Association as well. He continued these pursuits back to Washington, this time for the Washington State Department of Transportation as an Avalanche Specialist. After five years, the Sierra called again. Following an incredibly deep winter patrolling at Bear Valley, Mark has joined us at SAC. He is excited to be part of the SAC team and Tahoe community, and is eager to help promote positive backcountry experiences that keep people coming home safe and protecting our incredible resource.

He enjoys floating rivers in the summer on his paddle board and an old raft he bought for $350. This past summer he got his kicks guiding high water trips on the Tuolumne River, and only lost two pairs of swim trunks in Clavey Falls!

Don Triplat
Interim Executive Director

Don currently serves as the Executive Director. Prior to this position he had been a board member with Sierra Avalanche Center since 2005 offering expertise in event organization, business management, and development. He is an avid backcountry skier with fifteen years of experience; holding A.I.R.E level II, Wilderness First Aid, and CPR certifications. Don has put on special events on and off the snow while operating a catering business, working for the resort industry and coaching for the mighty mite ski program at Sugarbowl. He currently owns a landscape business in Truckee and dabbles as a farmer. Don also volunteers for the Truckee River Watershed Council in support of erosion control, stream monitoring, and restoration projects inside the Lake Tahoe Water System. His contributions to SAC include educational talks to community groups, fundraising, donor development, and community outreach at events around the region.

Travis Feist
Professional Observer, Education Coordinator

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 motorcycle trip, and decided to stick around to enjoy the deep snow that Colorado couldn't offer. He now splits his time during the North American winters as an Observer and Education Coordinator for SAC, and during the South American winters as a guide and avalanche educator in Argentina. When the snowmobiling and dirtbiking are no good, Travis can sometimes be heard making "braahp braaaahhp" noises while skiing.