Wed, December 11, 2019

Staff changes at CNFAIC – our best wishes to Heather Thamm and welcome Ryan Van Luit!!

Some of you may have noticed there have been some staffing changes here at the avalanche center:

After five wonderful years, the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center is sad to see Heather Thamm move on. During her tenure, she shared her diverse skill set and thoughtful perspective. In addition to her competent forecasting and being a wonderful field partner, Heather grew the center’s workplace safety protocol by creating and implementing a formal field day debriefing process. While mentoring an intern, she put a large effort into examining the forecasting challenges in our region’s unique climate when going to Low Danger with persistent weak layers. As a talented professional photographer she produced many avy-eye-candy photos, which have been a highlight of CNFAIC’s advisories and observations. Heather will be missed by the CNFAIC staff and the Southcentral Alaska backcountry community. We wish Heather the best of luck in all her future pursuits!


With this transition the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center is excited to welcome Ryan Van Luit to the forecasting team this season. Studying mass balance with the Juneau Icefield Research Program in 1998 set the path for Ryan as a lifelong student of wild and snowy places. Ryan has worked on six continents and spent hundreds of days in the snow with students and clients as an outdoor educator, avalanche forecaster, and mountain guide.  He is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association, the American Mountain Guides Association, and a certified Wilderness First Responder. Ryan is slightly obsessed with 3-dimensional puzzles, makes the best fermented pickles this side of Calgary and is looking forward to calling Girdwood home for the winter.