Larry SchickMeteorologistPowder Skier
A world away from the deep powder he chases, Larry grew up under the warm, sunny skies of Laguna Beach, California. Surrounded by breathtaking seascapes, he played in the ocean - enjoying an idyllic childhood and a wonderful beach life. Think Norman Rockwell meets the Beach Boys. When he discovered the thrill of riding waves, he soon realized the ocean offered infinite entertainment value. Observing ocean swells, waves, tides and beach topography, he deluded himself into thinking he had a knack for predicting quality surf. He claims he really never saw snow until he attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona - elevation 7000ft. From his home base, in the dorm, he skied the high southwest including Arizona, Colorado and Utah. Much to his astonishment and his parent’s relief, he obtained a degree. His diploma was in Earth Science and weather forecasting. But he wondered, what was one to do with this newfound knowledge?
He had a driving ambition to tell people about the weather. He went on a crusade to get his dream job as a TV meteorologist. After an intensely focused six-month search and more than a hundred resumes to small stations, unending networking, infinite phone conversations, aided by detailed research into the television industry, then pursuing dozens of dead-end leads - there were no interviews and certainly no offers.
But alas, there was a sudden change in the wind. Somehow, he talked his way into an on air TV weathercasting job in beautiful Monterey, California. This was a charming piece of salesmanship, as he had no on air television experience. Unlike most TV weather people of the time, he had a weather degree and sometimes actually knew what he was talking about. It seems people noticed that distinction, garnering him a growing and very loyal audience. He peppered his nightly weathercasts with humor, science education and always an accurate forecast. In this case, the college education did pay off.
Living in the stunning coastal city of Monterey, he skied the nearby Sierra Nevada in on his days off. He was hooked on deep powder skiing at Kirkwood and all the Lake Tahoe resorts. To his surprise, a phone call came from another extraordinary place – Seattle. It was the prestigious KING – TV and they wanted him to be their on-air morning broadcast meteorologist. He accepted immediately. The TV station manager was disappointed when Larry said he couldn’t start for six weeks. Larry was shading the truth. Who could blame him? A monster El Nino was in progress, hammering Tahoe and he had a season pass to ski Kirkwood. The “Wood” was getting pounded with daily, epic powder, weeks of dumpage, with no end. Also, during that month, he went on a seven-day trip skiing in Canada. You can see how playing in the snow often directed his life and took priority. He finally got settled in Seattle and presented the weather on TV for the next two decades. He skied the Washington Cascades, B.C., Oregon, Idaho and Montana. He won awards for his TV science journalism reporting and also a national award for snowsports reporting. His ski trips for the station were often cleverly disguised as a news report, blurring the lines between work and play - often to his advantage.
After 25 years of daily TV broadcasts, he was hired as a meteorologist/hydrologist for the Seattle District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He forecasted and assisted in flood control throughout the NW. Including operating huge dams during many floods – five of which were historic. He became an expert in Pacific Northwest and West Coast intense flooding caused by extreme atmospheric rivers. It was an exciting and interesting job for 15 years. He retired in 2017.He now bikes, skis, travels, cooks (grills) and is attempting to write a book on the Great West Coast Floods of 1861-62.
Larry now cherry picks the best powder days to ski. He has skied more than 60 ski areas in the Western U.S. and British Columbia – including cat and heli-skiing. He started the Powder Alert in 1996. Since then, he has anointed himself the Grand Poobah of Powder. It was clearly a shameless power grab since nobody had claimed the title. He's been humbly serving NW skiers for decades with accurate powder forecasts.
Michael FaginOperational Meteorologist
Michael has worked in weather forecasting consulting for major expeditions worldwide including Mt Everest. He also forecasted for the Seattle Mountaineers Club and scramble leaders. Michael has been providing mountain forecasts for the Washington Cascades and Olympics to active outdoor enthusiasts and the serious mountaineer as an operational meteorologist since the mid 90's.
Michael started Mt Everest Weather Forecasting with weather forecasts for expedition groups climbing Mt. Everest and other major mountains. In his spare time, he hikes, bikes, kayaks, skis, and snowshoes.
He and his wife Elizabeth are travel writers focusing on the Pacific Northwest at Weather, Wine, Food, and Travel. Elizabeth acts as editor for Michael's climate and wine stories, weather, and weather reports. In her spare time, she enjoys forest walks and kayaking often in the Greater Puget area.
Andrea Hamilton Marketing & Events
Andrea is a long-time ski instructor at The Summit at Snoqualmie and known in the ski marketing world, especially at Sturtevant's. She is a PNW native and started skiing as a child at Snoqualmie Pass. Andrea spent plenty of time at Alpental with her aunt and uncle, cousins and siblings. Andrea says "I still call the chairs by number and ask, are we're meeting in the "new lodge or the old one?"
Andrea spends weekends at Hyak and teaches in the Alpentykes program at her favorite place, Alpental.
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Gunnar Leffler Technology
Meet Gunnar Leffler a software engineer, information security professional and all around multi-talented individual. He began writing computer programs at a young age, teaching himself how to code and quickly becoming proficient in multiple programming languages.
Gunnar's passion for technology led him to pursue a career in engineering, where he quickly established himself as a top performer in his field. He is known for his ability to solve complex problems and his attention to detail.
Outside of work or helping people out with fun projects like powderpoobah.com, Gunnar has an adventurous spirit, He is an avid snowboarder and hiker, enjoying the thrill of the slopes and the peace and tranquility of the mountains. He also practices martial arts, which he finds to be an excellent way to stay in shape and maintain a clear mind.
Gunnar's combination of technical skills and physical abilities make him a unique and well-rounded individual. His dedication to his passions and drive to constantly improve have brought him much success both in his professional and personal life.