Board of Directors

   

 

Canadian Avalanche Centre Board of Directors
 

Ross Cloutier - President
Ross Cloutier is an Associate Professor and the founder of the Adventure Studies Department at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in Kamloops, British Columbia. He is the owner of Bhudak Consultants Ltd., which specializes in providing outdoor-related risk management services to schools, businesses, governments and law firms. He is also the managing partner in Pinnacle Risk and Insurance Consultants, which provides risk rating services to adventure tourism insurers. Prior to joining TRU in 1992, Ross was employed by the Justice Institute of BC as the Provincial Search and Rescue Training Coordinator.

Ross’ education includes an MBA in International Business (Southern California), BA Recreation Administration (Alberta) and BPE Outdoor Pursuits (Calgary). He has guided journeys to 35 countries and was the Climbing Leader of the Mt Everest Canada expedition in 1991. Since then, his expeditions primarily revolve around sailing. As a long-time fan of the CAC, Ross has watched with interest the role the organization has played in avalanche safety and the impact it has had. “As a member of the board, I am focussed on transitioning the CAC and its board towards a new and separate policy-governing model,” he explains. “I believe the future for the CAC is bright and that this transition is timely.”

 

Dan Markham - Vice President 
Dan brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the board of the CAC. He has an MBA in marketing and finance from the University of Calgary, and was a member of former-Alberta Premier Ralph Klein's communications team in the early 1990s. Dan left political life to join the world of advertising working on accounts such as the Calgary Stampede and Lotto 649. After many years in the ad business, Dan moved on to manage Marketing & Communications for Canadian Pacific, where he first worked with the CAC to bring CP in as a major sponsor.

Currently, Dan and his wife live in Banff, where he is the Director, Marketing and Sales for Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine. Dan is an Affiliate Member of the CAA and also an active volunteer, donating his time to help raise funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society as well as the Canadian Avalanche Foundation. Dan hopes to dramatically increase the membership of the CAC, through greater public support and increasing opportunities for a wider range of people to participate in the building of the CAC.

 

Kevin Seel - Secretary Treasurer
Kevin Seel holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in earth sciences and a doctorate in systems dynamics modeling from the University of Calgary.  Throughout most of the 90s he worked across Canada and the US on environmental impact studies for a variety of industries including energy, mining, forestry as well as government and military training operations. In the early 2000s he changed directions and worked as a senior management consultant with Arthur Andersen Business Consulting (pre-Enron). There he focussed on strategic and financial risk modeling, primarily for energy and manufacturing clients.

In 2005 Kevin co-founded a small start-up product development company that has since taken a number of inventions from "bright idea" to store shelf. His company now manufactures 16 different household products that are distributed to over 8000 stores across Canada and the US. Kevin and his wife Amanda live in Calgary and are avid backcountry skiers. When asked why he wanted to serve on the board, Kevin replies, "I've been watching the evolution of the CAA/CAC over many years into an absolutely one-of-a-kind, world class organization. I'm honoured and deeply humbled to be given the opportunity to contribute to this amazing team and community in any way that I can."

 

Paul Chatterton - Director 
Paul Chatterton is the Program Director at Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Education Centre (SPL) on Vancouver Island. Experiencing the impact nature and adventure activities have on youth inspires him to contribute to enhancing public access to outdoor recreation. Paul’s skills and experience include risk management of outdoor programs, leadership, organization, education and coordinating logistics in a fast-changing workplace. Prior to starting at SPL in 2005, Paul completed the Adventure Travel Guide diploma and Bachelor of Tourism Management degree from Thompson Rivers University and worked as a tourism consultant and guide. He still manages to instruct rock climbing a few times a year and puts his CAA Avalanche Operations Level 1 to use guiding winter school programs.

Paul’s outdoor interests have always focused more on adventure and seeking out new experiences over sheer technical difficulty. With two young kids now sharing in the adventures, rock climbing, mountaineering, back country skiing, long bike tours and sea kayaking have given way to sailing, bike camping, mountain biking and skate skiing. Paul is happy about the opportunity to serve on the CAC Board. “The CAC has done a remarkable job developing educational tools and resources to enhance public safety for winter mountain travel. I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to be part of the board to help guide its continued development."

 

John Irvine - Director 
John Irvine has 18 years of experience in outdoor retail, sales and marketing campaigns for two of the outdoor industry’ top brands— ARC’TERYX and the Mountain Equipment Cop-op. After ten years with ARC’TERYX, the past three as Director of International Sales, John is now the Director of Sports Marketing for Mountain Equipment Co-op.  With his experience in virtually all the core functions of the outdoor industry business, John brings a strong skill set in effective marketing and promotions. His passion for a wide range of outdoor activities, including ski mountaineering, ensures credibility with the end users—an important asset for any board.

“I’m very excited about the possibility of working with the CAC,” says John. “I am always inspired to share my passion for winter mountain travel. By working with the CAC to promote public awareness of these activities, and how to participate in them safety, is a very big motivator for me.”

 

Curtis Pawliuk - Director 
Originally from Prince George, Curtis brings some northern BC perspective to the board. Curtis now lives in Valemount where he is the General Manager of the Valemount Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA), a non-profit group that promotes and helps manage public recreation in the Valemount area.  Curtis is a graduate of the Northern Outdoor Adventure and Ecotourism Program from Prince George’s College of New Caledonia, and is currently working on his CAA Level 2 certification. In addition to his position with VARDA, Curtis is also a member of Valemount’s volunteer fire/rescue team.

 For a number of years now, VARDA has been at the forefront of promoting avalanche safety for its members and the mountain snowmobiling community in general. “I take pride in what Valemount and our umbrella organization, the Association of BC Snowmobile Clubs, has done to encourage avalanche education,” says Curtis. “Increasing the avalanche awareness of the recreational snowmobile community is something I pursue very heavily on a local level. I’m looking forward to bringing that desire to my new position on the CAC board, and getting more involved on a provincial and national level.”

 

Jim McAllister - Director 
Jim Mcallister has more than 35 years of experience with search and rescue in British Columbia, and he brings a unique SAR perspective to the CAC Board of Directors. Jim was the Search and Rescue Specialist for the Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) from 2002 and then later a Director at PEP. He has been involved with the CAA since 2003 when he represented the province of BC in the ‘Review of Public Avalanche Safety,’ and participated in a national roundtable with the CAA which resulted in the establishment of the CAC. Jim continues to consult and volunteer in emergency management and search and rescue. He looks forward to participating on the CAC board “to further the great work that has been done in public avalanche safety.”

 

Sandra Riches - Director
Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Sandra Riches has been calling BC’s Lynn Valley in North Vancouver, BC home for more than twenty years. Sandra has a long-standing passion for the outdoors, completing an Outdoor Recreation Management program at Capilano University in 1994.

Sandra started her career with BC Parks as a Senior Ranger in the Lower Mainland Region. She continued her career as Coordinator for the AdventureSmart program, focusing on education, youth outreach and program delivery. AdventureSmart is now a national program due to its success in BC. She continues to work with the National Search & Rescue Secretariat (NSS) and the Search & Rescue Volunteers Association of Canada (SARVAC) with outreach, training and delivery. Sandra currently works at the Justice Institute of BC (JIBC) as the Program Assistant for the British Columbia Search & Rescue Association. She is also the Project Manager for BCSARA Search and Rescue New Initiatives Funds projects.

Happiest outdoors, Sandra enjoys hiking, trail running, skiing, adventure travel and snowshoeing. She is excited to sit on the CAC board. “It gives me a chance to give back.  I’ve been fortunate in my career and have learned a lot from my fieldwork and technical experiences to youth outreach and project management, which will allow me to bring that knowledge to the CAC table.”

 

Christina Tutsch - Director
Christina grew up in Toronto where her love of the outdoors and skiing began with her time canoeing on the lakes of Ontario and ski racing. After high school, she headed to the mountains of Vermont where she graduated from Middlebury College with degrees in Environmental Studies and Education. Christina taught in a small rural elementary arts school in the Green Mountains for a number of years. While in Vermont she also received her Masters in Education, focusing on student engagement in the 21st century classroom. Christina now works at St. George’s School in Vancouver in the Outdoor Education department, teaching and coordinating the Discovery program. Professionally and personally, Christina is a backcountry enthusiast, especially when it comes to skiing.

Her position on the CAC board brings her passions for wilderness, skiing and education together. She is committed to giving youth opportunities to experience the outdoors, as the lessons that they learn through adventure extend far beyond the mountain.

 

Jeremy Vandekerkhove - Director
Jeremy Vandekerkhove is an avalanche forecaster with Silver Star Mountain Resort during the winter, a project manager for Just Rocks during the spring, summer, and fall, and an active member of Vernon Search and Rescue throughout the year. In the past ten years, he has focused on avalanche control, summer guiding, search and rescue and helping build his family’s aggregate business. He has been employed by CMH Bugaboos and Bobby Burns, Mt. Norquay, and the Alpine Club of Canada.

Jeremy has a degree in Political Science from UBC, in addition to completing his Avalanche Operations Level 2 with the CAA, and is in the process of completing the Primary Care Paramedic program through the Justice Institute of BC. He is the recipient of the Ed Hornell Memorial Award and Saxon Peters Achievement Award from Vernon Search and Rescue. He is an active member with his local SAR group, both sitting on the board as Director of Rescue, and providing leadership and training in avalanche, high angle, medical, and swift water response. Over the past year, he has worked with his SAR group to reconstruct their board and election process and has acted as a Team Leader in several mountain rescues. When not working, Jeremy enjoys backcountry skiing and snowmobiling, white water kayaking, and mountaineering. Jeremy lives in Vernon with his wife, Sylvia, and his two year old son, Thomas.

 

Lawrence White - Director
Lawrence White is the Executive Director of the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC), a non-profit organization with over 10,000 members in 20 regional sections across the country. Lawrence grew up in Victoria, BC and attended Capilano University studying Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management. His work with the ACC began in 2000 with a semester-long work placement while he was still in school. After graduating, he was offered the job of Mountain Adventures Coordinator for the organization. He and his wife moved to Canmore in 2002 to start new lives in the Rockies.
 
Since then Lawrence has held a number of positions in the ACC, including Facilities Manager and Facilities Director; he took the role of Executive Director in 2007. Lawrence also sits on the Canmore Enrichment Advisory Committee as well as Parks Canada’s Advisory Development Board. “I’m looking forward to participating in the growth of the CAC,” he says. “There are a lot of exciting initiatives ahead and I feel I can apply my experience in a member-driven organization to help realize the CAC’s full potential.”

 

Kevin Williams - Director
 A passionate backcountry skier and ski mountaineer, Kevin Williams has been involved in avalanche science, rescue and education since the early 1980s. As a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol System, he patrolled and was involved in avalanche work at Lake Louise, Fernie and Whistler. He was instrumental in the early development of the Avalanche Skills Training (AST) education program. Born in Montreal, Kevin holds a B.Eng and M.Sc (Geophysics) from McGill University and was a PhD candidate in avalanche research at UBC.

Because of his dedication to the backcountry, Kevin calls himself “one of the CAC’s most avid clients.” He is happy to hold a position on the CAC Board: “the CAC delivers one of the best avalanche awareness, education and information systems in the world. I’m proud to contribute to an organization that has so much to offer.”

His work in oil and gas exploration has taken him to remote locations around the world—much of the past ten years have been spent in the Canadian Arctic and Newfoundland. Kevin spent two and a half decades living in Calgary and now calls Canmore home.