By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: December 13, 2016

The Flathead Nation Forest is pleased to announce Zach Guy as the new Director of the Flathead Avalanche Center (FAC).  Zach is currently the Director of the Crested Butte Avalanche Center in Crested Butte, Colorado. Zach comes to the FAC with a master’s degree from Montana State’s snow science department and 6 years of forecasting and snow safety experience working for Irwin Guides and the Crested Butte Avalanche Center. Karl Birkeland, Director of the National Avalanche Center, says that “he is excited to see the Flathead National Forest bringing in a top notch candidate to lead the Flathead Avalanche Center.”  Zach will be stepping into his new position later in the season, coming in behind Erich Peitzsch, of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), who is stepping down as Director to pursue his PhD research in snow and avalanche science. Erich will continue to support FAC part time and maintain an applied research collaboration with the USGS and FAC.

Until Zach arrives, Todd Hannan, who is in his 4th year as an Avalanche Specialist with FAC, has stepped in as Interim Director and will lead the FAC and the daily forecasting operations, along with Avalanche Specialists Mark Dundas, Erich Peitzsch, and Seth Carbonari. Guy Zoellner will provide support to the FAC as an observer, along with Jenny Cloutier as the education coordinator for the Friends of the Flathead Avalanche Center (FOFAC). FOFAC helps support FAC financially as well as promoting avalanche education programs in northwest Montana and beyond.

The purpose of the FAC is to inform and educate the community and businesses about the impact of snow avalanches on recreation, tourism, and industry. The goal is to help provide the public with current avalanche, snowpack and mountain weather information, as well as provide basic avalanche education and educational resources.  FAC achieves this purpose through a dual mission of avalanche forecasting and public education. FAC provides winter backcountry travelers the tools they need to stay alive and recreate safely in avalanche terrain.  For information visit

http://www.flatheadavalanche.org/ or call the hotline at 406.257.8402.