SAVE THE DATE - NSAW 2016 - October 23, 2016 - Town Hall, Seattle

Join NWAC in supporting the ninth annual Northwest Snow and Avalanche Workshop (NSAW). For the first time this fall, the Northwest Avalanche Center will host this Pacific Northwest workshop. NSAW is a professional development seminar bringing together professionals and avid backcountry recreationists for a full day of avalanche education presented by some of the leading researchers and avalanche practitioners in North America.

Jump to: Speakers / Directons / Lunch Options


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Pascal Haegeli, PhD, Simon Frasier University


The Effectiveness of Avalanche Airbags

Pascal Haegeli is an Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Burnaby, British Columbia, where he holds the industry-funded Research Chair in Avalanche Risk Management. He leads the newly formed SFU Avalanche Research Program, which conducts interdisciplinary research at the interface between natural and social science to find innovative solutions to today’s avalanche safety problems in Canada and worldwide. Prior to his engagement at SFU, Pascal was an avalanche safety research and development consultant. Some of the highlights of his recent research and development activities include the development of the Avaluator, a decision aid for amateur recreationists travelling in avalanche terrain, an examination of the effectiveness of avalanche airbags and the complete redesign of the InfoEx, the daily information exchange among Canadian avalanche safety operations.


Nick Bond, PhD, WA State Head Climatologist


Prospects for the Upcoming Winter in the Pacific NW

Nick Bond is a principal research scientist with the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO) of the University of Washington (UW).  He is the State Climatologist for Washington.  He has a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington. His research is on a broad range of topics with a focus on the weather and climate of the Pacific Northwest and the linkages between the climate and marine ecosystems of the North Pacific.  He cheerfully admits to being a weather geek, as evidenced by his preference to visit Alaska in winter, and steamy places like Florida in summer.

Heiko Stopsack, Paramedic, Senior Paramedic and Acting Medical Services Officer with King County Medic One


Stay Alive by Staying Warm: Hypothermia Awareness for Backcountry Travel

Heiko Stopsack is a Senior Paramedic and Acting Medical Services Officer with King County Medic One. A graduate from the University of Washington’s School of Medicine Paramedic Training Program in 1988. Heiko has responded to emergencies from Rainier’s Nisqually Glacier to the streets of White Center. It has given him a unique perspective on delivering emergent medical care.  Other Medic One duties include as a flight medic with KCSO Guardian 2.  Heiko has been teaching avalanche safety with Ridge Explorations LLC. He founded Stopsack Medical Training & Consulting Associates LLC. His company provides medical and resuscitation courses to Puget Sound’s advanced medical providers, fire departments, and hospitals. White Salmon, WA is home and his base for ski mountaineering and touring the Cascades.  

Martin Volken, IFMGA, Pro Guiding Service


Hazard Evaluation Made Easy

Martin Volken was born and raised in Switzerland near the town of Zermatt. He is a certified Swiss Mountain Guide and the founder and owner of Pro Guiding Service and Pro Ski and Mountain Service (a specialty outdoor retail-business). He is the author and co-author of several backcountry skiing books, an instructor team member of the American Mountain Guides Association. He also works as a product development consultant for K2 Sports and Outdoor Research and does independent risk management consulting work.

Margaret Wheeler, IFMGA


The Dark Underbelly of Good Avalanche Education: Overconfidence and Overexposure

Margaret Wheeler learned to ski and climb at an early age in New England, and became interested in ski mountaineering while living in Europe for several seasons.  Her guiding career began in the northwest in 2002 when she began working for Pro Guiding Service as an aspiring guide. In 2006, she became the second woman in the United States to complete her international AMGA IFMGA guide certification.  These days Margaret splits her time between Seattle, WA, and Chamonix, France, guiding ski mountaineering, alpine, and rock objectives in Europe and North America. An active member of the guiding community, she is an instructor/examiner of guide training for the AMGA and serves on its board of directors. She is involved in avalanche education through her work as an AIARE instructor and trainer.  Margaret is co-author of the book “Backcountry Skiing: Skills for Ski Touring and Ski Mountaineering”. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Dartmouth College and a master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington.


Dallas Glass - AAA 


So You Want To Be An Avalanche Forecaster? From the couch to the snowpit; a look at the changing world of U.S. avalanche education.

Dallas is a Seattle based avalanche professional who measures his winters in thousands of feet skied and W2 forms. Wearing a variety of hats during the winter, Dallas works as a professional observer for the Northwest Avalanche Center, the Professional Training Coordinator for the American Avalanche Association, an Instructor and Instructor Trainer for the American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education, and as a ski guide. He calls Seattle home, but you’re more likely to find him sleeping in his car to get an early start for the next ski day.

Trent Meisenheimer, Avalanche Education and Outreach Specialist, Utah Avalanche Center


Freedom and Anarchy in the Backcountry

Trent Meisenheimer grew up in Salt Lake City Utah, skiing and snowboarding the Wasatch mountains since the age of two. He can be found most winter days pursuing his passion- hiking the backcountry, shredding Utah’s famous powder. He also works for the Utah Avalanche Center where he is continually seeking knowledge for snow and avalanche science. In 2009 he completed his Level One Avalanche Operations course in Canada and in 2013 went on and successfully completed the Level 2 Avalanche Operations course. He devotes himself in the winter months to avalanche outreach and education and follows his passion of the mountains. In the summer months you can find him clinging to the side of a rock wall or floating down one of the many scenic rivers in the western U.S. Trent lives in SLC and is a full time Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Utah.

Kyle Van Peursem, Graduate student, MSU


Validation of a coupled weather and snowpack model at Bridger Bowl ski area: Can the simulation of seasonal mountain snow cover using forecasted weather data aid in avalanche prediction?

Kyle Van Peursem is a graduate student and teaching assistant in the Snow and Avalanche Laboratory at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, USA.  He has an extensive background in meteorology earning his B.S. in Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Utah in 2008.  Following graduation, he served for over 6 years in the U.S. Air Force as a Weather Officer with assignments in Germany, North Carolina, Alaska, and Kyrgyzstan, forecasting for nearly every corner of the globe.  Kyle also spent this past spring in Glacier National Park as an avalanche forecaster for the annual opening of the Going to the Sun Road.  His research is focused on utilizing numerical weather and snowpack prediction systems to help forecast avalanche danger.


Susan Joslyn, PhD, Associate Professor University of Washington

Decision Making with Uncertainty

Susan Joslyn is an Associate Professor of Psychology at University of Washington. She received both her BA and PhD from the University of Washington. She is a cognitive psychologist whose research is on real-world decisions made under uncertainty, such as those involving severe weather, climate change and medical treatment. Her highly interdisciplinary research makes important theoretical contributions to the psychology of decision making as well as having practical implications for best practices in uncertainty communication techniques in several domains. The American Psychological Association recognized the quality of her work with a New Investigator Award in 1999 and a Best Paper Award in 2012.




Lunch Options:

When you purchase tickets online, you will have the option of ordering a boxed lunch, provided by a local delivery start-up, Peach. Boxed Lunches are $12.00 and will be delivered to the conference center. See menu choices below.


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The Ciscoe:

Fresh spinach, cucumbers, shaved carrots, tomato, avocado, jalapeno-lime aioli and cheese on baked white bread. Served with classic deli chips and a pickle spear.





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The Reign Man with Classic Deli Chips:

House made “wooden table” roast beef, horseradish aioli, white cheddar, lettuce, tomato, shaved red onions, on Essential Bread Co. Fremont Sourdough. Served with classic deli chips and a pickle spear.




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Tofu Quinoa Salad:

Quinoa salad with marinated tofu, roasted corn, black beans, zucchini, yellow squash and tomatoes atop. Served with house chipotle ranch.



























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