Our Instructors

Katie Johnston

Katie's love for the mountains and skiing led her pursue a master's degree in Geology, with a focus on snow science, from Central Washington University. After graduating she spent a winter as an intern for the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center in Girdwood, AK. Upon returning to her home in Washington State she began ski patrolling at Stevens Pass Mountain Resort.

In addition to full time ski patrol work, Katie is also a part-time avalanche technician/forecaster for Washington State Department of Transportation on Stevens Pass, US HWY 2 and an AIARE avalanche instructor. She also enjoys working with the Stevens Pass Avalanche Rescue Dogs as a secondary handler.

Tess Morris

Tess grew up in Leavenworth, Washington and started skiing at the age of four.

Both parents were avid skiers and consistently managed to get Tess and her two siblings out in the mountains, skiing mainly at Mission Ridge.

During high school, an opportunity presented itself in the form of becoming a volunteer ski patroller. This volunteerism eventually propelled her towards other volunteer opportunities in the EMT and Fire Fighting fields.

With this emergency care background, she became a full time patroller at Mission by age 21. Since then, Tess has served as the Assistant Patrol Director, and as of this year, has accepted the Patrol Director position.

Rob Gibson

Rob began his avalanche career in the 1979-80 season with the Alpental Pro Patrol. He was a full time Pro Patroller through 1991. From 1992 to 2006, he worked full time as a WSDOT Avalanche Forecaster for Snoqualmie and Chinook Passes. he also continued as a full time Ski Patroller during that same period. Rob spent 5 opposing seasons as a Patroller/Avalanche Forecaster in New Zealand at Mr. Ruapehu in the 1980's and 1990's. Since 2007 he has been employed full time as Patrol Director/Risk Manager at Snoqualmie Pass. Rob also works as an avalanche dog handler and is a professional memember of the Alpental Back Country Avalanche Rescue Dogs Association.

Angela Seidling

Angela conducts the Foundation's Companion Rescue workshop at Stevens Pass. Angela, who earned a B.A. degree in Education from the University of Montana, taught for five years in the Missoula, Montana middle school. She has been a mountain guide since 2004, guiding for the American Alpine Institute since 2007 (rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering and skiing.) She has just completed her eighth season of patrolling at Stevens Pass. Her certifications include Wilderness First Responder, AIARE Level 2, and AIARE Level 1 instructor.

Bram Thrift

Bram is the snow safety supervisor for the Summit at Snoqualmie, as well as a part-time forecaster for the Washington State Department of Transportation and a member of the Back Country Avalanche Rescue K-9s (B.A.R.K.). He has been a professional ski patroller at Alpental for the last fourteen years. Bram has substantial relevant training, including the Northwest Avalanche Institute – Level 2, the National Avalanche School – Phase 1 and Phase 2, the American Avalanche Association – AVPRO, and an instructor of development for the National Ski Patrol. He has also attended the ISSW on four different occasions.

Ryan Forbes

Ryan is currently the "Mountain Manager" at Stevens Pass. He has been a ski patroller for over twenty years. He is a certified dog handler and state blaster. His avalanche courses include Levels 1, 2, and 3, and he is a Level 1 ski guide in Canada. Ryan was very instrumental in conceiving of the Foundation's mission and facilitating free mountain safety courses. As past vice-president of the Association of Professional Patrollers, he has worked closely with the Foundation from its inception.

John Stimberis

John's interest in environmental issues, natural systems, mapping and the newly- developed field of geographical information systems (GIS) led to a degree in Geography and Environmental Science from Central Washington University in 1992. He also studied art with photography being the main focus of his interest.

John started his avalanche career with the Alpental Pro Patrol as a full time Ski Patroller in the early 1990's. He has spent many summers hiking the trails of the Alpine Lakes wilderness area for the U.S. Forest Service at that time. In 1999, John joined the WSDOT Avalanche Forecasting and Control Program on Chinook and Snoqualmie Passes. He then moved to year-round work for WSDOT, where he is currently Supervisor for the South Central Region Avalanche Forecasting and Control Program.

John has a keen interest in teaching avalanche safety. He has taught avalanche courses and given talks about avalanche phenomenon for close to twenty years. He is currently a Level I-II Course Leader for AIARE and is also certified as an Avalanche Instructor by the American Avalanche Association. In addition, John partners with CWU and UW for snow and mountain weather related studies. He is currently the President of the American Avalanche Association and Vice Chair of the Artillery Avalanche Users North America Committee (AAUNAC). He lives in Seattle and enjoys running and live music.

Corey Rubinfled

Corey has taught safety workshops for the Foundation since its inception. He received his degree in physical geography and geology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he started teaching avalanche classes. He now has over 10 years experience teaching avalanche classes, and is a Lead Instructor for the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education for both Level 1 and Level 2 avalanche courses.

Core has taught geology and physical science in high school and for the last 8 years has been a program manager for Outward Bound, taking students on lengthy trips in the wilderness and teaching outdoor and human leadership skills. He has worked as a Helicopter Ski Guide in Valdez, Alaska, as a field observer for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, and as a Research Scientist for the Army Corps of Engineers in their Cold regions Research and Engineering Laborator in Hanover, New Hampshire.

The last 8 years, Core has worekd the winter months as a Ski Patroller at Stevens Pass, has held positions as Medical Trainer for the Ptarol and has taught in-house avalanche classes for patroller and the public.

Brad Whiting

Brad is the director of the Mission Ridge Ski Patrol. He grew up skiing Mission Ridge. In his younger days, he was a competitive mogul skier traveling the country competing in mogul contests. Through the years, Brad has been the mountain's avalanche forecaster, and avalanche control worker for the Patrol, and the Assistant Patrol Director before he was promoted to Director in 2002.

Steve Kunnen

Steve has been a Stevens Pass professional ski patroller for almost twenty years. He is an AIARE Avalanche Instructor, Steven Pass mountain education instructor, former PSIA instructor, and an AAA member.