4SAW Speakers!

4SAW Speakers!

Dr. Jerry Johnson - Montana State University, Snow and Avalanche Lab

Topic at 4SAW: “Unpacking the Human Factor” 

Professor of Political Science at MSU, Bozeman. I work in the areas of political economy of public lands, tourism impacts, and of course – decision making.  I work with Jordy Hendrikx in the MSU Snow and Avalanche Lab and Andrea Manburg at Artic University in Tromso, Norway. Together we have published over a dozen papers on various aspects of investigating the human side of travel in avalanche terrain.

Dr. McKenzie Skiles - University of Utah, Snow Hydro Lab

Topic at 4SAW: "Digging up the dirt: How dust deposition impacts our changing mountain snowpack"

Dr. McKenzie Skiles is an Assistant Professor, and director of the Snow Hydro Lab, in the Geography Department at the University of Utah. Her research focuses on mapping and monitoring mountain snowpacks, including the impacts of dust deposition and snow darkening. She started doing fieldwork in the San Juan Mountains for her graduate research, managing to spend most of her PhD at UCLA in Colorado, and hasn't missed a field season since. Her research is at the forefront of understanding how larger climate variables are influencing the mountain snowpack and has received research awards, been highlighted in the media, and is a science alliance member of Protect Our Winters.

Dr. Jeff Deems - Airborne Snow Observations

Topic at 4SAW: "Upping our snow mapping game: updates from the expanding Airborne Snow Observatories Colorado program”

Dr. Jeff Deems, in a continuous quest to legitimize his skiing habit, has been pioneering applications of snow laser mapping for avalanche and hydrology interests. As a Research Scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, and as Co-Founder of Airborne Snow Observatories, Inc., he is developing and producing lidar data products and methods for decision-support in avalanche and water resources applications.

Laura McGladrey - Responder Alliance

Topic at 4SAW: "Stress and Avalanche; Incremental and Rapid Loading"

Laura McGladrey has instructed for the NOLS Wilderness Medicine for the past 20 years and is a Nurse Practitioner with dual certification, practicing both emergency medicine and psychiatry across the lifespan. She is currently in the Emergency Department and the Stress Trauma Adversity Research and Treatment (START) Center with expertise in trauma support for Emergency, Wilderness, and frontline workers. She has a background in international and relief work on Psychological First Aid and Stress Injuries. She is the Stress and Resilience advisor for Portland Mountain Rescue and Eldora Ski Patrol, and works with teams throughout the US following critical incidents and fatalities. She is the founder and director of Responder Alliance.

Kenneth Wylie - Thompson Rivers University 

Topic at 4SAW "Recognizing the Innocuous Steps to Catastrophe. Breaking down the unthinkable tragedy of La Traviata"

Certified internationally as a mountain guide with the International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations (IFMGA). Ken has many difficult first ascents to his credit on rock and ice and has also experienced profound consequence, which has pushed him to claim accountability and bring educational value from what he has learned. Ken has developed practices for adventurers that have utility for decision making in risk environments. His mission is to help adventure be understood as something to be honored and protected as an avenue of personal and collective evolution. He understands risk to be a critical element for engaging humanity in a process of becoming self-actualized. He has held faculty positions at Thompson Rivers University and Mount Royal University in their respective outdoor programs.

Roz Reynolds - Wyssen

Topic at 4SAW: "New Developments on avalanche mitigation installations for Lizard Head Pass, SW Colorado."

Roz works full time for Wyssen Avalanche Control and was tasked with kick starting operations in the United States. She has worked on projects in the USA and in Canada promoting safer avalanche mitigation installations and avalanche detection systems. She is an avid skier, white water rafter, and climber. Last fall she spent 6 weeks in Rico, CO working on installing the first Wyssen Avalanche Towers in Colorado.

Drew Hardesty - Utah Avalanche Center

Topic at 4SAW: "On the Nature of Forecasting (and Why We Get it Wrong)"

Drew Hardesty is on his 23rd season as a backcountry avalanche forecaster with the Utah Avalanche Center and recently retired from work as a Jenny Lake climbing ranger in Grand Teton National Park.  His essays on risk, joy, life, and death have been published in Outside magazine, Backcountry magazine, Ascent, and the Avalanche Review.  You can find his full library at drewhardesty.com

Mark Miller - National Weather Service, Grand Junction Field Office

Topic at 4SAW: “2021-2022 Winter Weather Outlook”

Mark Miller is a meteorologist and the leader of the Science and Operations team at the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Travis Laverty - La Plata Search and Rescue

Topic at 4SAW: "A season of uncertainty: an exploration of two tragic cases in the San Juans"

Travis grew up in SW Colorado and continues to roam the deserts in the summer and the mountains in the winter. He is an active member of both La Plata County and San Juan County mountain rescue team(s). He has held several jobs in the snow and avalanche industry, most recently as the Director of Snow Safety at Wolf Creek Ski Area.

Dr. Rory Cowie - Alpine Water Resources 

Conference Convener

A local of Silverton, CO, Rory has a PhD in Mountain Hydrology from the University of Colorado and a BA in Ecology and Wildlife Biology from Colorado College. Dr. Cowie has worked in remote mountain ranges around the world including projects on Mt. Kilimanjaro in Kenya, the Annapurna and Everest regions of Nepal,  Mt. Blanc and the Italian Alps, and across the Rocky Mountains and Alaska Ranges in North America. Dr. Cowie's most extensive work has occurred in the San Juan Mountains of SW Colorado and is currently based in Silverton, CO.  Dr. Cowie's work focuses on the processes controlling hydrologic fluxes in mountain regions and across greater earth systems. 

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