Friends of CAIC
|Aaron Carlson||Executive Director|
|Heather McGonegle||Program Coordinator|
|Alan Henceroth||Board Member|
|Ethan Greene||Director of CAIC|
Ethan has directed the CAIC since 2005. He has approached snow and avalanches from both a practical and theoretical perspective. He grew up in Boulder skiing Colorado’s Front Range. After a few winters in the San Juan Mountains, he worked at Big Sky Ski Resort in Montana as a ski patroller and at the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center in Salt Lake City as an avalanche forecaster. Ethan also studied meteorology at the University of Utah (BS) and snow drift formation at Colorado State University (MS). He has spent a lot of time looking at the microstructure of snow and its metamorphism in very large freezers in Colorado and Switzerland (PhD). Ethan has published a variety of articles on snow, weather and avalanches and been a member of national and international working groups on snow and avalanche projects. Ethan lives in Leadville.
Brian has spent much of last 15 years chasing snow in the South when things got too warm here in the North. He began backcountry skiing in Colorado as a college student, and later as a mountain guide; and as an avalanche educator, curriculum developer, and as current Executive Director with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), and member of the American Avalanche Association Education Committee. After a decade or so of guiding in a variety of snow climates on both sides of the equator, Brian returned to graduate school where he earned a MS in Engineering, studying snow and ice mechanics in Alaska’s Chugach, and conducting research at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. In the summers, you can find Brian complaining about the heat, planning his next trip to the snow, and trying to keep up with his wife Michelle on mountain bikes.
Mike “Coop” Cooperstein has been working in the mountains for the last 20 years. He began his snow career when he was 18 years old, as a ski patroller at Snowshoe in West Virginia. He soon moved to Bozeman, Montana, where he finished his undergraduate degree in Biology. He worked at the Yellowstone Club for 11 seasons as the assistant Snow Safety and Assistant Ski Patrol Director. In 2008, he completed his master’s degree in Earth Sciences from Montana State University with a thesis on the “Effects of Slope Aspect on the Formation of Surface Hoar and Diurnally Recrystalized Near-Surface Faceted Crystals.” For the last 6 years, Coop has guided around the world for Andes Mountain Guides.
Jeff grew up in Ohio and started skiing on the snow-covered landfills of Southern Michigan. Following a ski trip to Colorado, he was hooked on the Rocky Mountains and hung a map of the state above his bed. Jeff started his career in the ski industry after graduation from Ohio Wesleyan University. He patrolled in Southern Vermont for two seasons. He moved to Colorado and worked at Copper Mountain where his passion for snow, backcountry skiing, and avalanche mitigation took off. At Copper, he was a Terrain Management Foreman within the snow safety program. To broaden his knowledge of snow, Jeff spent three summers in the Southern Hemisphere patrolling and working with the snow safety team at Mount Hutt in New Zealand. Most recently, Jeff held the position of Risk Manager for Telluride Ski and Golf. He is excited to share his passion for safety with the avalanche community. When not in the snow, Jeff enjoys riding his bike, playing hockey, working on his house in Sawpit, and spending time with family on Lake Michigan.
Mark grew up in the Front Range taking an early interest in skiing. Once able to drive, he began to explore the backcountry and with that, realized the importance of getting educated about avalanches. This led eventually to a job at Copper Mountain where he worked for ten years as a ski patroller taking a greater role in snow work. He spent two seasons at Silverton Mountain learning what is possible is terrain management. Mark was hired as a forecaster in Silverton in 2009 after interning for two seasons. When not on snow, Mark can usually be found on the oars on a desert river.
A love for the mountains and backcountry adventure lured Susan to the Colorado Rockies 28 years ago. Innumerable ski mountaineering escapades and a few encounters with avalanches left her with both respect and curiosity for avalanche phenomena. This interest was piqued during her ten years with the Snowmass Ski Patrol’s Snow Safety Team where she also oversaw the Avalanche Rescue Dog program. In 2004 an irresistible opportunity came along to work as an intern forecaster for the San Juan CAIC office. Here she learned the intricacies of local highway forecasting. Two years later, Susan was on board as a full time forecaster in the Silverton CAIC office.
Becs comes to the CAIC with a ski patrolling background. She began patrolling in the mid-nineties on Mt Ruapehu, a volcano located in the central plateau of New Zealand’s North Island. She went on to work at other resorts in New Zealand, Canada and the US. The last eleven years she has been working at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, first as an avalanche technician and later as Assistant Patrol Director. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Otago University and is currently plowing her way through the CAA L3 Applied Avalanche Risk Management course. She is a section rep (Colorado/New Mexico/Southern Wyoming) for the American Avalanche Association. Becs is excited to take her career in a new direction and is looking forward to the challenges of forecasting and communicating on a much larger scale.
Ian came to the CAIC with a background including stints as a researcher, ski patroller, and avalanche educator. He dug a lifetime’s worth of pits while researching the spatial variability of the Extended Column Test as part of completing his M.S. in Snow Science from Montana State University. Prior to that, he ski patrolled at the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, MT. He has also worked as an avalanche educator for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center (GNFAC) and learned the joy of snowmobile powder turns while interning with the GNFAC forecaster’s around SW Montana. When not working, Ian enjoys baking bread, tandem bicycling and trying to keep up with his dog in the mountains.
Jason made the pilgrimage from the east coast to the Rockies in 1999. He has not looked back. The journey started in Steamboat Springs, where the routine of skiing all day and working all night began to take its toll so Jason sought out a career that would allow him to work and ski simultaneously. Jason joined the ski patrol team at Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah in 2005. There his passion for snow safety work and avalanche forecasting developed and he joined the resort’s snow safety team. In his spare time, Jason taught courses for the American Avalanche Institute where he maintains he learned more from the students than he taught. The need for more winter led Jason to spend summers in New Zealand as the snow safety officer at Craigieburn Valley ski area and the public forecaster for the Craigieburn Range. Now adjusting to life with only one winter per year, Jason spends his summers working as a wilderness ranger for the US Forest Service and mountain biking as much as possible. Jason and his wife, Katie, enjoy traveling the world in search of peaks to ski and most recently ski toured in the fjord region of western Norway.
Spencer learned to ski at the now-defunct Hidden Valley Ski Area, near Estes Park. He still enjoys touring there. Spencer joined the CAIC in 2004. He spent the two years prior in Montana obtaining a MS in Earth Sciences from Montana State University. Spencer investigated how shear strength of weak layers changed over space and through time. He and his colleagues dug many snowpits, moving over 25,000 kg (55,000 lbs) of snow one winter. He learned to backcountry ski in northern Utah, where he graduated from college, spent three winters forecasting for the Utah Avalanche Center-Logan, and married a wonderful gal. His sons are the fourth generation of the family to ski and the fifth to fish in Colorado.
Ann has spent much of her avalanche career in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. She began under the wing of a longtime forecaster in the late 90s and worked for a decade as an avalanche educator and mountain guide. She learned the intricacies of highway forecasting as an intern for the CAIC’s Silverton office and honed her weather forecasting and multi-tasking skills while working as a forecaster in the Boulder office. Ann then took over as the Northern San Juan backcountry forecaster before turning her focus back to highway forecasting. She now devotes her energy to keeping the Highway 550 and 145 corridors safe in the wintertime.
Lee moved to Summit County in the 1970s. He worked on the ski patrol at Breckenridge for 15 years and joined the CAIC in 1992. Lee has been working on Vail, Berthoud and Loveland Passes ever since. He is an avid hunter and outdoorsman. In the summer he works with Metzger Brothers Concrete.
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. After spending more than a decade working as a ski patroller, avalanche forecaster, ski guide, and avalanche educator, he joined the CAIC in 2014. Avalanche work has taken him around the world, and he has worked in the Himalaya as Snow Safety Officer at Gulmarg Gondola, and in South America forecasting avalanches for the mining industry. During the Colorado summer, you can find him in Chile enjoying another ski season, and working on his Spanish.
While Mark was living in North Lake Tahoe and working at Alpine Meadows, an interest in ski mountaineering led to an early encounter with an avalanche. A fortunate outcome left Mark with a keen desire to learn more about avalanches (and a permanent dent in his skull). A ski bum since graduating from high school, he patrolled at Squaw Valley, CA, becoming Patrol Director for 12 seasons. Mark moved to Pagosa to become a CAIC/CDOT highway avalanche forecaster. He and his wife Sandy, a seasoned avalanche professional herself, have played the avalanche game for many years. They own and operate Wolf Creek Backcountry, offering yurt-based backcountry skiing and avalanche education near Wolf Creek Pass. Mark loves skiing, road biking in the off-season, reading, drinking beer, learning foreign languages, traveling, and hopes one day to live in the Alps for a winter (or longer).
Blase started skiing on golf courses in Ohio. A search for bigger mountains and deeper snowpacks led him to West Virginia to ski patrol, Utah to ski powder, Kyrgyzstan to explore, and Montana to dig very deep snowpits for the USGS Global Change Research Program. He thinks the Aspen area might be the happy medium of big mountains and manageable snowpits. Blase’s previous avalanche work includes forecasting at Glacier National Park in Montana and the Sawtooth Avalanche Center in Idaho. He edited The Avalanche Review for five years, has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Utah and studied glacier mass balance at the University of Montana. When he’s not in the snow, Blase reads, rides bikes, and chases his dog. He wonders if putting gears on his bike and a camper on his truck are signs of growing up or aging.
Stu is a third generation Leadville resident. He worked as a ski patroller at Ski Cooper in the late 80s and helped develop Chicago Ridge Snowcat Tours. He later became the director at Chicago Ridge as well as ski patrolling at Breckenridge Ski Resort. Stu joined the CAIC in fall of 1999 and has been working along the highways in Summit, Grand and Eagle Counties ever since. He has a B.S. and M.S. in Geology from Fort Lewis College and Colorado School of Mines respectively. In the summer, Stu enjoys wandering through the desert and running rivers.
John has a long history in forecasting and technology transfer. He received his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University and spent fourteen years working at NOAA’s Forecast Systems Laboratory. He has also worked as a consultant, developing weather forecast systems and mesoscale atmospheric models for several private and government groups. John is an avid backcountry skier and has been on the volunteer ski patrol at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area since 1985.
Scott’s first encounter with an avalanche came while full moon skiing on Loveland Pass back in the 1970’s. A friend was caught and buried up to his neck in the debris. At the time, Scott did not know an avalanche from a VW microbus. Eventually Scott began ski patrolling at Arapahoe Basin (1977) and played that game at various resorts around the world, including Courchevel 1850 in the Savoie of France, Mt Hutt in New Zealand, and Vail. He joined the CAIC in the early 90s. Since he has lots of free time, he dabbles at bike riding, rock climbing and spending time with his son Beau. When the opportunity arises, he goes to Europe to do one of the classic ski tours there. Scott lives in Breckenridge in a house he built a few years ago.
Friends of CAIC
Aaron grew up skiing the 299 vertical foot hills in Minnesota. Since then, Aaron has discovered his passion for the backcountry while living and skiing in Utah, Colorado and New Zealand. Aaron has a bachelor’s degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism from the University of Utah, which has allowed him to work in and experience many different parts of the world. In 2008, Aaron brought his passion to the CAIC Benefit Bash. As the co-organizer, he was able to design, organize, and run the largest fundraiser in CAIC history. Together, Aaron and Joe were able to raise over $26,000 for the CAIC and make an impact on the backcountry community. With this momentum, Aaron has been an asset to the development of the Friends of CAIC. When he is not working you can find him on his mountain bike or skiing pow.
Five years ago, Heather threw her belongings into a car and made the move from Iowa to Colorado. Colorado became home, not just a vacation spot, for all things skiing, rock climbing and running. Heather has a master’s degree in Recreation, Sports and Tourism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, coupled with an extensive background in non-profits and the recreation industry. Mostly recently, Heather has worked closely with Access Fund, Boulder Climbing Community and the Ken-Caryl Ranch Metro District in outreach and events, creating innovative ways to educate and excite the recreation community. Heather is excited to take Friends of CAIC to the next level and invest in its future and the future of avalanche forecasting and education in Colorado. When not working, she can be found on the slopes, rock faces and trails around Breckenridge.
Knox got his Master’s Degree in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University in 1970, and then worked with the U.S. Forest Service Avalanche Research Project in Fort Collins as a snow scientist and avalanche forecaster. In 1983, he helped found the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and was its Director until retiring in 2005. In 36 years in the avalanche business, Knox was a researcher, forecaster, teacher, program director, and author, writing a couple of books and a bunch of papers and articles. He is a past president of the American Avalanche Association. Now in semi-retirement, he works with the CAIC Director as needed to keep the CAIC healthy and progressive.
Bruce Edgerly is co-founder and vice president of Backcountry Access, Inc., a leading manufacturer of avalanche rescue equipment, including the Tracker DTS avalanche transceiver. Bruce has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Brown University and a master’s degree in business administration from CU-Boulder. He is a former contributing editor to Powder and Couloir magazines and has published numerous papers for the International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW) and International Commission on Alpine Rescue (ICAR); those can be viewed at http://www.backcountryaccess.org/research. “Edge” is a dedicated backcountry skier and tours most of the time in the Summit zone, although he travels for “business” quite frequently in the Tetons, Wasatch, B.C., and Europe. He has level 3 avalanche training in the U.S., professional level 1 training in Canada, and is a qualified AIARE level 1 avalanche instructor.
Growing up in Tucson, Alan moved to Flagstaff completing his degree in Forest Management from Northern Arizona University in 1983. After spending five years at Keystone, he moved up the road to Arapahoe Basin where he has worked since 1988. There, he has held the positions of Ski Patrol Director, Director of Mountain Operations, and since 2005, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Alan serves on boards for the National Ski Areas Association, The Summit Foundation, The Summit Stage, the National Avalanche Foundation, Friends of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, and the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board. Alan enjoys biking, skiing and rafting with his wife, Kay, and now adult kids, Justin and Whitney.