People
Eric Morgan
Forecaster

Eric joined the Avalanche Center in 2005.  Eric has extensive experience in wildland fire fighting.  He is trained to deal with complex situations that can have severe consequences.  This perspective gives him a great advantage for relating the nuances of avalanche hazards and describing the situational awareness that backcountry travelers require when venturing into mountainous terrain in the winter.  Eric has been an incredible asset with his strong backcountry skills, eagerness to learn, and great teaching skills; Eric teaches advanced fire courses.  Eric has attended Level 1 and 2 AAA and level 2 AIARE, and the National Avalanche School this year.  When not teaching his “Fire and Ice” class he can be found kayaking, skiing, hunting, or doing anything to get out of the house.

Jeff Thompson
Forecaster

Jeff gained most of his Avalanche Education and experience in the central mountains of Colorado. After graduating from Colorado Mountain College with a Ski Area Operations degree Jeff joined Beaver Creek Ski Patrol and served as the Head of Snow Safety for many years. He has taught many Avalanche courses as well. After 20 years in CO Jeff and his family moved to northern Idaho where he took the job as the Director of the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center. In the winter Jeff also spends time Ski Patrolling at Schweitzer Mountain as well and is a Avalanche Rescue dog handler. When Jeff isn't playing in the snow he can usually be found with his wife and daughter on a wild desert river, camping in the woods or enjoying some singletrack on his bike.

Melissa Hendrickson
Forecaster

Melissa joined the Avalanche Center in 2016, forecasting out of the Silver Valley/St. Regis Basin.  Melissa’s avalanche and backcountry experience started 20 years ago back east; covering terrain in Maine, New Hampshire, Quebec and New Brunswick.  She has been out west for 8 years, with 4 years in the Intermountain snowpack.  Melissa is also a hydrologist for the Forest Service, making it her business to know everything about water in both the liquid and frozen forms.  Her formal training includes AIARE Level I and AAA Level II. When Melissa isn’t out in the creeks or snowpits, she can be found biking, skiing, hunting, or fishing.

Kevin Davis
Forecaster

Kevin has been involved with the Avalanche Center since 1996 when he first began volunteering to provide pit data for the advisory.  In 2006 he became the director of the program.  Kevin’s avalanche experience has come through 20 years of backcountry skiing in Montana, Idaho, and Canada.  His formal training extends from Level 1 from the American Avalanche Institute to Level 1 from the Canadian Avalanche Association and Level 2 from the National Avalanche School and numerous professional development courses.  Kevin has been teaching Avalanche Awareness courses since 1998 and became a AAA certified instructor in 2016.  He’s happy anytime there’s snow in the mountains.

Ben Bernall
Forecaster

Ben has been working as the Avalanche Specialist for the Kootenai National Forest since 2015. His avalanche education includes Canadian AST-1 and 2 courses as well as Level 2 and 3 courses through the American Avalanche Institute.  His entry into the world of winter backcountry travel began in 1994 when he borrowed some telemark skis from a friend and made some skins out of bailing twine.  This turned into an obsession that eventually led to assisting with teaching avalanche awareness through the local SAR unit. When he is not working in the snow Ben helps manage the Trails and Recreation program in Troy, Montana. In his spare time he chases two kids and a wife around in the mountains biking, skiing, running and drinking coffee.