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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center has new director

Jeff Thompson, executive director of the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center, with his avalanche rescue dog, Annie. (U.S. Forest Service)
Jeff Thompson, executive director of the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center, with his avalanche rescue dog, Annie. (U.S. Forest Service)

WINTERSPORTS -- A man with 20 years of experience with safety in the snow industry has moved to Sandpoint to head the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center.

Jeff Thompson joins IPAC as executive director after leaving his central Colorado post as head of Snow Safety for Beaver Creek Mountain. 

"He also brings extensive trails, wilderness, and winter sports experience from his many years working with the White River National Forest," says a release from the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

“I’m excited to encourage involvement from all people and groups who participate in winter recreation – from backcountry skiers to snowmobilers and snowbikers,” he said in the release. 

See the S-R's one-on-one Q&A with Thompson about the Avalanche Center.

In addition to his IPAC role, Thompson will be ski patrolling at Schweitzer Mountain alongside his canine companion Annie – a trained Avalanche Rescue dog. 

The Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center forecasts avalanche conditions in the area's forests and offers numerous avalanche awareness educational opportunities and classes, most of which are free to the public. 

Info is posted during the season on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests website.

Here's what's posted on the IPAC website so far:

IPAC Avalanche Class Offerings in Sandpoint, 2016/2017
Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center offers the following classes that are free to the public and will be held from 6-8 PM in the Conference Room of the New Forest Service Building in Sandpoint, 1602 Ontario St., west of town on the way to Dover.  Parking is in the back and enter through the courtyard.  Call Kevin Davis at 265-6686 or Eric Morgan at 265-6674 if you have a group that is interested in attending.  
2016 / 2017 Schedule
  • Nov 8 – Winter 2016/17 Forecast   (6pm)               
  • Nov 22 – Beacon Practice and Avy Gear Review  (6pm)
  • Dec 6 – Avalanche Rescue (6pm)
  • Dec 20 – Using and Understanding Avalanche Advisories  (6pm)
  • Jan 5 – Sidecountry – Skiing safely out-of-bounds (6pm)
  • Jan 24 – Snowbikes – Riding, gear, and avalanche safety (6pm)
  • Feb 7 – February is prime avalanche time in North Idaho  (6pm)
  • Mar 7 – Spring touring and riding tips  (6pm)
IPAC Avalanche Class Offerings in the Silver Valley 2016/2017
  • Coming soon! For information on classes in the Silver Valley call Dan Frigard, (208) 783-2130.
Idaho Parks and Recreation 2016/17 FREE Snowmobile Avalanche Awareness Classes
  • Coming soon! Contact Nate Sparks or Blair Geiger, (208) 769-1511.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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