Staff

 Our Staff

Instuctors and Staff

The exemplary reputation of the Alaska Avalanche School is greatly due to the quality of our instructors and staff members. We employ only the most experienced, professional individuals in the outdoor education industry.  Most of our instructors are longtime Alaskan residents and outdoor enthusiasts, partaking in backcountry mountain travels. From mountain rescue to industrial forecasting, mountain guiding to heli-ski and backcountry ski guiding, all aspects of avalanche evaluation and mitigation are represented within the AAS staff. 

 

AAS instructors have extensive qualifications to make them the best in the industry. All are Wilderness First Responders or have obtained greater medical certifications. Many of our instructors have completed advanced avalanche training and are certified instructors of the American Avalanche Association. Our instructors continue with snow science research of their own. We also are up to date with current developments through the International Snow Science Conferences, teaching nationally. The wealth of knowledge and strength of our instructors makes an AAS education second to none.

 

 

Aleph Johnston-Bloom
Executive Director
 

Aleph grew up in Vermont exploring the woods on her cross-country skis. She ventured out west and fell in love with snow and avalanche studies as Prescott College while pursing her degree in Outdoor Experiential Education. After college an internship with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center landed her in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. This launched her into a diverse career where she has garnered experience as a highway avalanche forecaster, a backcountry avalanche forecaster, a patroller and a ski guide. She has worked and skied in many of the western states, experiencing different snow climates and spent a summer patrolling in New Zealand. Through all the jobs and travels she has been an avalanche educator sharing her passion for snow. She is the former director of the Silverton Avalanche School, an American Avalanche Association Certified Instructor and AIARE instructor. She loves helping her students learn to have an opinion about the snow and be part of the decision-making process. (Photo credit: lombard.litindustries@gmail.com)

Aleph J-Bloom trenching her way to the Outpost

Current Instructors

Bill Romberg

Bill has been active in backcountry skiing, mountaineering, and ice climbing since coming to Alaska in 1990.  He has spent several hundred days in the backcountry all over Alaska, including the Brooks Range, the Alaska Range, and the local Talkeetna, Chugach, Kenai, and Tordrillo Mountains. He is a former president of the Mountaineering Club of Alaska, and has more than 10 years of experience in technical rescue and avalanche response with the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group (AMRG), where he spends considerable time coordinating classroom and field training events related to avalanche skills and avalanche accident response. Bill's interest in snow and avalanche education is a direct result of increasing exposure to avalanche terrain through personal climbing and skiing, as well as avalanche accident response with AMRG. When not working, volunteering with AMRG, or teaching with AAS, Bill can found enjoying the Alaska outdoors with his family skiing, climbing, hiking, or rafting.

Brad Cosgrove

Brad grew up in the Pacific Northwest and fell in love with the outdoors when he had the opportunity to begin working in the outdoor recreation industry at the young age of 14. Since 2000, Brad has lived in the Turnagain Arm region, a great place to play and work on the water (both solid and liquid).  

During his last 18 years working on the snow, he has had the opportunity to work as a ski touring guide, a mechanized ski guide, an avalanche course instructor, and has spent several seasons working with snow sports movie production crews.  He has also worked with avalanche mitigation teams during that time. His real strength comes from countless days in the field both personally and professionally–and an unending desire to keep skiing the backcountry.  Like most snow professionals, Brad has blended his work and play time on the snow with the necessary certifications it takes to stay on the "sharp end" of things, and he has had the chance to gain this experience in a variety of locations and snow climates. Brad is proud to be a part of Alaska's original avalanche school, the Alaska Avalanche School.  

When not obsessing about snow or water Brad can be found enjoying Alaska with his wife Shannan and 3 year old son Will.

Brad Bio
Bio coming soon!

Caitlin Hague

Chris Love

Chris Love is a lifelong skier and outdoor enthusiast.  He began his education in Avalanche Awareness in 1998 when he first came to Alaska.  Since then he has spent many days climbing and skiing throughout Alaska, Montana, and Washington.  In 2006 Chris began teaching Avalanche Awareness courses for NSP and in 2007 started working for the Alaska Avalanche School.  When not guiding or working as a biologist during the summer months Chris works as a ski patroller, NSP Avalanche I instructor, and EMT from his home in Talkeetna, AK where he lives with his wife Colleen.

Dayton Bio

Dayton Young

Dayton Young has been with AAS since 2010. He has actively enjoyed the snow and mountains of Alaska his entire life. Dayton's background in skiing began when he alpine raced at UAA. He has telemarked world cup events in Europe as well as in extreme comps in the Lower 48. Dayton has competed in Arctic Man, near Paxson, Alaska, several times and has even brought home the big money! Now a seasoned backcountry adventurer, he has a knack for finding powder stashes, whether he's skiing or riding his sno-mo. He enjoys sharing the knowledge and experience he's gained. Dayton is working on his greatest teaching opportunity yet, as he trains up his two "Young Ladies," ages 5 and 2.

Eeva Latosuo

Eeva Latosuo is Assistant Professor in Outdoor Studies at Alaska Pacific University and part time avalanche educator with Alaska Avalanche School. Born and raised in Finland, she has called AK home for the last 10 years. Before moving up north, she sampled other mountain regions in the North America. This included skiing Mount Baker during the record snow in season '94-'95, ski patrolling in Colorado for five years, and and teaching mountaineering courses in the North Cascades & the Coast Range. Eeva teaches Level 1 & 2 courses for AAS and would love to travel around Alaska to teach more custom courses. With all the spare time, she trains her operational avalanche rescue dog, Sisu, and drinks strong coffee.

Eeva
Fredrik Bio

Fredrik Norrsell

Fredrik Norrsell grew up in Sweden, where he started leading groups in the outdoors at the age of 17. He initially came to the USA in 1998, where he earned his MS in Chemistry from Utah State University. In his spare time he volunteered for the university's Outdoor Program, leading trips and teaching courses in backpacking, mountaineering, and climbing rescue skills. He was also involved with Logan Avalanche Forecast Center providing backcountry observations. Since 1995, Fredrik has worked full-­time in outdoor education, logging over 2500 days teaching and leading groups in the outdoors—everything from backpacking in the Utah desert, sea kayaking in New Zealand, mountaineering in Patagonia, to winter camping expeditions. A student recently summarized Fredrik's teaching skills: "You were by far the best teacher I have ever had,­­ including a lifetime in private school, four years at Harvard, and the rest of NOLS.” When not teaching he is pursuing his passion for nature and adventure photography (www.norrsell.com).

Joe Stock

Joe is an internationally certified, IFMGA mountain guide with a passion for mountain adventure in Alaska. He has been climbing and skiing around the world for 30 years with significant time in New Zealand, Australia, Asia, Alps, and throughout South America and the western United States. Of all the places he's visited, the mountains of Southcentral Alaska are his favorite. Joe has an undergraduate degree in geology and geography from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and a graduate degree in watershed science (snow science focus) from Colorado State University. In addition to guiding, Joe works as a writer and photographer. His guidebook for backcountry skiing in Southcentral Alaska, The Alaska Factor, was published in 2012. He lives in Anchorage with his wife Cathy. 

Joe Bio

Henry Munter

Henry has been backcountry skiing since he was a kid in Sun Valley, Idaho. In 2004, he moved to Montana, learned to snow machine, and worked for four years on the Yellowstone Club Ski Patrol. At the YCSP, Henry did avalanche control work, as well as fieldwork for Montana State University snow and avalanche research programs. As a result of daily observations and thousands of grain-scale snow crystal photos, Henry and his coworkers presented a paper on near-surface faceting at the 2008 ISSW. In 2008 he moved to Girdwood. In Alaska, Henry works as a helicopter and snowcat ski guide for Chugach Powder Guides, an instructor for the Alaska Avalanche School, and a Denali mountain guide for Mountain Trip. When they’re not in the mountains, Henry and his wife, Kelly, like to explore the whitewater rivers of the world. 

 John Sykes
Bio coming soon!

John Bio
Kami Bio

Kami Cabana

Kami was born and raised in Girdwood, Alaska, where she continues to spend the majority of her time. A passionate skier, Kami grew up at Alyeska, first ski racing and then progressing into all that backcountry skiing has to offer in Alaska. There's no sitting still for Kami when there is snow on the ground, and she spends her summers commercial fishing, as a boat owner and deckhand. Kami also runs her own business, offering Marine Surveys and appraisals in Alaska. Since finishing high school, Kami has worked for Chugach Powder Guides doing various jobs, and apprentice guiding the last two seasons. She has also volunteered for numerous ski programs through Alyeska.

Certifications: EMT I, WFR, AAS Level II Avalanche Safety

Kent Scheler

Kent has over 8 years of combined experience in professional avalanche forecasting, mountain education, ski mountain guiding, and remote project logistics. He holds a B.S. in Environmental Science (ENVS) with an emphasis on avalanche science from the University of Alaska Southeast. His experience includes: 

•operational avalanche forecasting

•mountain safety education 

•recreational ski guiding 

•film production support 

•remote expedition/project logistics and safety. 

•AAA Certified Avalanche Instructor

Kent is currently the Snow Safety Director for Alaska Heliskiing in Haines, Alaska and Lead Guide for Teton Gravity Research (TGR). Kent spends his free time enjoying all that Alaska has to offer.

Kyle Bio

Kyle Bates

A resident Alaskan, Kyle has been been guiding for the past 10 years in Alaska, Utah, and Nepal. He is a longtime Alaska heli ski guide, expedition skier, altitude mountaineer, and wilderness medical professional and feels most at home while traveling among the high mountains of the world. With numerous ascents on Denali, Island Peak, and remote high-altitude peaks, Kyle has the drive and exemplary safety record to give clients a remarkable and rewarding experience.

Certifications: BS in Earth Science and Outdoor Leadership, Alaska State EMT1, Wilderness EMT, AAS Level II Avalanche Safety, American Avalanche Association Professional Member, McGyver Award (2008, 2009, 2011)

Leighan Falley

Leighan Falley, a lifelong Alaskan, has been playing in the snow since she was tiny.  During an eight-year stint as a ski patroller, she learned a lot about explosives and even more about the avalanche phenomenon.  She has held an AIARE Level III avalanche certificate since 2006, and is also an AIARE level 1 instructor. Her winters are filled with avalanche instruction and long guiding epics in Chilean Patagonia.  Summer finds her once again in the snow, where she is a lead guide on Denali for the Alaska Mountaineering School.  Known for spending the entire summer in the Alaska Range, she has been able to visit such mountain temples as the Kichatna Spires, the Eyetooth, Mt. Hunter, and more.  In 2008 she was fortunate enough to carry her skis to the summit of North America. She is also a mountain artist, a pilot, and an avid rock climber… but above all, a skier.

Nancy Pfeiffer

Nancy began her snow experience when she started skiing at just 2 years old. Her outdoor career took a turn when she participated in her first avalanche course at age 18. It was then that she realized the study of snow was something that could hold her interest for a very long time. She has been teaching avalanche classes for 18 years and recently presented at the International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW), a nation wide study on the effectiveness of avalanche education. To keep current of the development of snow science, she attends the ISSW regularly and is active in The American Avalanche Association (AAA) as a Professional Member and Certified Avalanche Instructor. Nancy stays in touch with the other programs by teaching at avalanche schools and forecasting centers in the lower 48 and Chile. Nancy has extensive experience with avalanches as a guide, instructor, forecaster, and avid skier. Her experience guiding extensively in Alaska and many of the world’s mountain ranges, including New Zealand, Antarctica, and Patagonia makes her one of AAS’ lead instructors.

Nick D’Alessio

Nick grew up in New Hampshire and has been skiing and climbing in the mountains since before he even remembers. He appreciates having grown up and skiing the icy North East. However, he made the move to Colorado in hope of more snow and to get his degree in Outdoor Leadership from Colorado Mountain College. Then it was up to Alaska to “check it out” and get his Outdoor Studies degree from Alaska Pacific University. He hasn’t left since and is not planning on it, “Why leave good snow to try and find good snow”.  Nick works year round as a professional mountain guide since 2008. He is also a lead guide and instructor for the Alaska Mountaineering School where he enjoys an annual trip to the summit of Denali. He thoroughly enjoys sharing his knowledge of safe mountain travel. Nick is an ambitious and passionate ski mountaineer. Along with his extensive experience base he holds a Wilderness First Responder, Avalanche Level 3, Leave No Trace Master Educator and is close to earning his Ski Mountaineering Guide certification through the American Mountain Guides Association.

Sean Bio

Sean Fallon

Originally from Rochester, NY, Sean grew up playing in the snowy hills of the Finger Lakes, but quickly realized there had to be more than the icy, man-made ski trails and infrequent snow storms. Alaska Pacific University's Outdoor Recreation program drew him to Anchorage, and the beautiful mountains, unbelievable snow totals, and warm community kept him around. After graduating with a BA in Outdoor Studies concentrating in Snow Science, he moved to Girdwood in search of a better stage for our ritual dances, prayers, and offerings for the snow gods. When he's not looking for powder, Sean works for the Alaska Mountaineering School and for Nova River Runners as a raft guide and ice climbing guide.

Sean McManamy

Like all east-coast kids who love snow, Sean left home as soon as possible.  After a short tour in the rocky west he came to Alaska for its deep snowpacks. Since graduating from Alaska Pacific University in 2007, Sean’s work history includes: Mountain Guide, Avalanche Instructor, Dishwasher, Whitewater Photographer, Handyman, A.P.U. Adjunct Faculty Member as well as volunteering for the CNFAIC Observer Program. In 2008, Sean presented at the Eastern Snow Conference in Vermont (held in the same room as his senior prom) and the International Snow Science Workshop in British Columbia. Most recently, the American Avalanche Review published an article on his work with The Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale in Alaska. Today he calls the small town of Hope home, and even though  backcountry skiing is his passion, Sean does own and operate a snowboard.

Bio coming soon!

Ted Purdy

Tucker Chenoweth

Tucker Chenoweth was born in the high windy mountains of Colorado to a pair of devoted skiers.  Instead of attending daycare with all the other children, his parents sent him out on the slopes to learn the ways of gravity.  After a teenage ski racing career and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, he began pursuing his ultimate passion full time. During a ski patrol career that lasted nine years, he discovered Alaska in 2000 as a volunteer Mountaineering Ranger on the slopes of Mt. Denali.  He was hired as one of the eight paid rangers in 2004, and his adventures have taken him to such exotic locales as the Kitchatna Spires, Mt. Huntington, Mt. Hunter, and many more.  He has also been a part of the AMGA ski mountaineering program and has worked as a ski guide.  The avalanche phenomenon has interested him from the start, he is a professional member of the AAA, an AIARE Certified level one instructor and for the last decade he has studied snow and helped create interest in educating backcountry users.  Tucker enjoys spending his free time with his lovely wife Leighan.

 

Office Staff

Cindi Squire
Office Manager

Cindi moved to Alaska in 1970 and was hooked on the outdoors at the tender age of 10 on her first backpacking/camping trip on the Kenai Peninsula. This love of the outdoors has been an ever-expanding area of her life. Winters find her ice climbing and skiing while summers are completely filled with rock climbing, biking, hiking, fly-fishing, backpacking and camping. Cindi has been involved with the fundraising and construction of the Snowbird Hut in the Talkeetna Mountains as a way of giving back to the outdoor community. Cindi is actively involved with the Alaska Section of the AAC, the outdoor community in Alaska and is always planning the next trip.

Cindi Bio
Emma Bio

Emma Walker
Intern

Emma grew up skiing in the Rocky Mountains, and loved it so much she stuck around for a degree at CU-Boulder. She graduated with plans to become a classroom teacher, but soon realized she couldn't stand to be stuck inside and miss out on Colorado's 300 annual days of sunshine. After a yearlong stint in Golden at the American Alpine Club, Emma was ready for bigger mountains and more snow, so she packed her bags and headed to Anchorage for graduate school at APU. She hasn’t figured out what she’ll do with her “Master’s in Camping,” but she hopes it will land her a job in the mountains.

 

 

Former Instuctors

Blaine Smith

Blaine began his study of avalanches in 1985 and has worked for the Alaska Avalanche school since 1991. He initially apprenticed under Doug Fesler and Jill Fredston of the Alaska Mountain Safety Center, and he has continued his ongoing avalanche training through a variety of workshops and conferences, including the International Snow Science Workshop. He is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association (AAA) and AAA Certified Avalanche Instructor.

In addition to his dynamic teaching style and avalanche expertise, Blaine brings a long history of working, guiding, and teaching in the outdoors. In 1987 he began his career as an outdoor educator and guide and has since worked for the University of Alaska, Alaska Pacific University, Alaska Denali Guiding, Alaska Mountain Safety Center, and the Alaska Mountaineering School, among others. He has guided several successful seasons on Denali with multiple summits.

When not teaching avalanche courses, Blaine can be found volunteering with the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group as an avalanche specialist, skiing in the backcountry, or mountain guiding. Blaine has been published in Accidents in North American Mountaineering, International Technical Rescue Symposium Proceedings, and in Lessons Learned II, Using Case Studies and History to Improve Safety Education.

Mike Janes

Mike Janes is an instructor and apprentice forecaster for Alaska Avalanche Specialists, LLC. in Juneau. He grew up in Juneau, and for years has been one of the most active climbers and backcountry snowboarders in the area. He got started in avalanche work with Level 1 and 2 courses and put in many field days helping the Southeast Alaska Avalanche Center (SAAC) on their research projects. He has completed the Alaska Mountain School's rigorous mountain guide training, guided for several seasons on Denali, and completed the American Avalanche Association AvPro professionals' course. He has worked on the Kensington Mine project, the Juneau urban forecast program, and the Snetttisham power line projects for Alaska Avalanche Specialists and SAAC. He has taught the University of Alaska Southeast avalanche course series with Bill Glude and has taught Alaska Avalanche School courses in Southcentral Alaska.