The mission of the Alaska Avalanche School is to provide exceptional experience-based avalanche safety education to all users of the mountain environment.The Alaska Avalanche School (AAS) was founded in 1976 by Doug Fesler, the chief ranger of Chugach State Park, who spent many years recovering the bodies of avalanche victims and wanted to try to stem the rise in avalanche accidents through education. One of the first schools of its type in the country, the AAS gained an international reputation for providing top quality, intensive field-oriented avalanche and mountain safety training for backcountry travelers. In its early years, the School was part of the Snow Avalanche Safety Program under the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. In 1986, when the statewide avalanche program fell victim to budget cuts, Fesler teamed up with Jill Fredston, the director of the newly defunct Alaska Avalanche Forecast Center and co-author of the classic primer Snow Sense: A Guide to Evaluating Avalanche Hazard, to create the Alaska Mountain Safety Center, a nonprofit organization. As part of their mission to promote mountain safety through education, publishing, consulting, and research, they directed the AAS until the winter of 2005-2006 when the Alaska Avalanche School was established as a separate nonprofit organization. With a staff of 37 instructors, the school teaches hundreds of participants each winter season, both in the field and in the classroom.
The Alaska Avalanche School’s volunteer Board of Directors is made up of recognized leaders across many areas of expertise. They represent the broad diversity of our community and contribute significant amounts of time, talent, and energy to further the mission of the organization.
Get to know the professional instructors at Alaska Avalanche School. Click on an image for a full bio statement.
Mar 19, 2016 Alaska Dispatch News avalanche awareness video