Paul was the ski patrol director at Crystal Mountain Resort in Washington State for over 30 years. He also directs the Northwest Avalanche Institute a group that consults on avalanche matters for a variety of clients including Burlington Northern railroad, guide services, the military, SAR groups, USFS, NPS, and local land use agencies. Paul’s extensive ski safety and risk management consulting work with ski areas across the country includes several recent ski area inbounds avalanche trials. Additionally, Paul is a former guide and co-owner of International Mountain Guides (IMG), a climbing guide service based at Mt. Rainier. Since the 80's, Paul’s professional work experience has included snow safety director, ski patrolman, and heli-ski guide in winter and as a mountaineering guide and climbing ranger at Mt. Rainier National Park in the summer. Paul was a past chairman of the National Avalanche School steering committee. He is also a former vice president of the American Avalanche Association. Paul received a B.A. in Economics from the University of Puget Sound in 1978.
Mike has recently been named the Program Director for the National Avalanche School. Mike at-tended the NAS in 1997. He is in his 30th year working for Mt. Rose Ski-Tahoe. For the past 20 seasons he has been the Patrol and Risk Manager for the resort. During his time at Mt. Rose he went through the planning process with the USFS to open The Chutes in the 2004/05 season that is some of the steepest sustained vertical inbounds avalanche terrain in North America. Mike is the past Treasurer of the American Avalanche Association (A3). He is also a recreational course provider and Instructor with AIARE. Mike lives in Reno, Nevada with his wife Daniela and his three girls. He has a 7 year old Border Collie named Mac and a 2 ½ year old German Sheppard named Kona that work with him on the mountain. He is looking forward to giving back to a program that started his formal avalanche education.
Mike works as the avalanche hazard reduction leader for Jackson Hole Ski Patrol and as a for-caster for the Bridger-Teton NF Avalanche Center. Mike is the coordinator and lead instructor for the JH NAS Field Session. He has had extensive experience guiding and forecasting for Valdez Heli-Ski and Chugach Powder Guides and is currently a guide and snow safety consultant for Tordrillo Lodge in the Alaska Range. Mike floats, fishes, hikes and skis with his wife and daughter, both of whom ski better than he does.
David Richards is the Director of the Alta Ski Area Avalanche Program. He has worked at Alta for 21 years. First as a Ski Patroller, and now for eight years as the head of the program. He has worked as a helicopter ski guide, an avalanche dog handler, and is still active with backcountry search and rescue with the Wasatch Backcountry Rescue program. As part of his job experience David has been active in developing a RACS program within Little Cottonwood Canyon, the development of new explosives for avalanche mitigation, and the study of the psychology behind avalanche work. He has also been involved in the study of emotional trauma and stress in the avalanche worker. David’s passion remains backcountry skiing without the radio pack.
Lel grew up in Switzerland and started her skiing career in the Alps at the age of three. She ski raced during her college years in Vermont and even had a short stint competing in Extreme com-petitions when she moved to Squaw Valley in 1994. Lel has been a member of the Squaw Valley ski patrol since 1994 and from 2004 to 2010 was the assistant avalanche forecaster there. Lel has been guiding in the Chugach mountains since 1999, and in 2000 became a guide at Chugach Powder Guides. She has been guiding for Tordrillo Mountain Lodge in the Tordrillo Mountains since 2010. Lel is a licensed blaster in the state of California and is an avalanche control route leader at Squaw. She has her Level 1, 2, and 3 avalanche certifications and is an AIARE Level 1 and 2 avalanche instructor. Since 2004 Lel has been teaching avalanche courses in the Lake Tahoe area and far be-yond in South America. Lel feels passionately about teaching people on the miracle of snow science and how to travel safely in the mountains. She has been an EMT since 1989 and a professional member of the American Avalanche Association since 2000. She was a member of the board for the American Avalanche Association and held the Ethics Chair position. Lel is a guide member of Heli Ski US and instructor for the HSUS Guide School.