Faculty Network

EFSA Faculty biographies- Outdoor Leaders, Wilderness Guides, & Filmmakers.

EFSA leaderDr. DB Palmer, EdD, LPC, WFR, SRT
Former Lead Professor of the Outdoor Leadership Program & Founder of Expeditionary Film School of Alaska, Advisory Board- Alaska Avalanche Information Center, Advisory Board- Wrangell Institute for Science & Environment, Advisory Board- Therapeutic Adventure Professionals Group (AEE), Research Consultant- North America Outdoor Institute

DB has acquired an extensive leadership background, having led treks across the western states and internationally. His skill sets include wilderness therapy, sea kayaking, coastal & river canoeing, light mountaineering, backpacking, dogsled guiding, winter camping, hunting, sailing, and rafting. He is currently the Deputy State Director for the Alaskan chapter of the American Canoe Association. His research focus is Outdoor Risk and Safety Outcomes (ORSO), and he regularly presents on human factors, group dynamics and leadership, and wilderness therapy. Dr. Palmer earned his Bachelor of Science in Recreation Management from John Brown University, the MA in Marriage and Family Counseling from Liberty University, and completed his Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University in Seattle. Professor Palmer and his wife, Greta, have four adventurous kids and a Chocolate Labrador named Grizzly Jack.

mb_film_school_largeMichael Brown, Adjunct Faculty, Founder/Director of Outside Adventure Film School and Serac Films, Primary Area: Adventure Filmmaking, ODS 293

While Emmy-award winning Director Michael Brown has always loved telling stories (he grew up in family of adventure filmmakers), he also has a passion for science–especially climate, weather and geography, all of which he studied at the University of Colorado at Boulder while working at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. He’s put that knowledge into practice during productions for National Geographic Television, NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, OLN, the BBC, Rush HD, and the Discovery Channel.  Serac Films

Sky RondenetSky Rondenet, Adjunct Faculty, Founder/Director of Sky Rondenet Media, Sierra Nevada College: Ski Business and Resort Management, Primary Area: Adventure Filmmaking, ODS 293 & FLM 298

Sky Rondenet is a video producer out of Lake Tahoe and has been creating videos for over ten years.  Her experience includes producing shows for Tahoe TV, ski shows, real estate promotional videos, restaurant, golf, retail stores, and adventure shows. Sky has been involved in the international filming and production of top selling surf and snowboard films, freelance work for Fox Sports, Warren Miller, corporate event and commercial work, as well as production of high-end wedding videos. She loves finding something different and special about her clients and reproducing that uniqueness on film. Her goal is producing videos that speak to the viewer and keep them engaged. Sky is not afraid to try something different and to help her clients stand out. This is her passion. Sky Prides herself on excellence and has won various awards and recognitions. Sky Rondenet Media.

Sarah CarterSarah Carter, Adjunct Instructor, Primary Area: Avalanche & Alpine Specialist

Originally a nordic skier from Anchorage, Alaska, Sarah lives in Valdez with her husband Peter, and sons, Chance and Cirque. Sarah has worked as a ski patroller in British Columbia and Alaska as a heli-ski guide and snow safety director.

Sarah has been involved with outdoor education and snow science research with the University of Alaska Southeast, and has presented three posters at the International Snow Science Workshop. She promotes avalanche education throughout Alaska and loves to be in the snow.

Sarah works along with a cadre of women instructors hosting women’s avalanche skills classes, an opportunity for women to get out, learn, and enjoy the winter backcountry in a safe, fun environment.

Greta Thompson Pass VDZ 2015- 2Greta Palmer, MA,


Adjunct Faculty, Primary Area: Expedition Fitness, Alpine Skiing, & ODS Core.

Greta’s background in skiing includes alpine ski training from the time she was 5 years old through her tenure on her college’s ski team, including summers in training with junior Olympic coaches and glacier training on Mt. Hood. Greta has lived and breathed alpine skiing, Nordic expeditions and adventure travel, group expedition leadership, and she has spent the last 10 years as a mother of 4 adventurous kids.

Pete CarterPete Carter, Adjunct Instructor: ODS 218, Board President, Director of Valdez Avalanche Center

Pete Carter is the Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) avalanche forecaster at Thompson Pass. He is a professional member of both the American and Canadian Avalanche Associations.

Canadian Avalanche Association Level II 1998, 1981
National Ski Patrol avalanche instructor since 2002
Avalanche Control Explosives Use tickets 1979-2010
105 M1A101 Howitzer gunner (avalanche control) 2007
105 Recoilless Rifle gunner (avalanche control) 1998
Medic First Aid and American Heart Association instructor since 2006
American Red Cross instructor 2001-2004
Emergency Medical Technician Level 1 2009
Wilderness First Responder since 2002
Outdoor Emergency Care Technician since 2001
BC Occupational First Aid Level III 1978-2008
American Red Cross CPR for the professional rescuer 2001-2006
Search and Rescue Technician II, National Association of Search Rescue 2005
Rescue 3 Technical Rope Rescue Operations 2005
Rescue 3 Swiftwater Rescue Technician since 1997
American Mountain Guides Association Certified Top Rope Site Manager 2003
BC Provincial Emergency Program Basic Search and Rescue 1992
Royal Life Saving Society Lifeguard: Award of Merit 1975
Certified Interpretive Guide, National Association for Interpretation 2002
Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance Level I 1979
Red Cross Swimming Instructor
CDL: class A, all endorsements

Sean WisnerSean Wisner, Visiting Lecturer: ODS 266, Instructor, Rescue Coordinator, Board Member

Sean Wisner has been active with avalanche forecasting, education and rescue since 1988. Sean is a Fire Officer and Rescue Technician for Alyeska Pipeline. He also volunteers as a Firefighter/EMT/Rescue Technician for the City of Valdez Fire Department and is a team leader and instructor for the Valdez Search and Rescue Team. Sean has worked for a number of years as a helicopter ski guide in Valdez, as a high altitude mountain guide on Denali (20,320′) and Aconcagua (22,841′), and as a snowmachine tour guide and whitewater raft guide across the state of Alaska.

Sean is a team leader and instructor for the Valdez Search and Rescue Team, and teaches several avalanche awareness classes to the community of Valdez annually in addition to training the SAR team in avalanche rescue and forecasting, crevasse rescue, and glacier travel.

He has been involved with mountain rescue teams in a variety of North American locations for over 20 years, and has a great passion for mountain safety and education. Sean lives in Valdez with his wife and son, and enjoys backcountry skiing and snowboarding, snowmachining, kiteboarding, surfing, mountaineering, mountain biking, and teaching.

Professional Member, American Avalanche Association (AAA)
Level II Avalanche Technician (US)
State of Alaska: EMT-I
State of Alaska: Firefighter I
State of Alaska: Fire Service Instructor I
Swift Water Rescue Technician II
Confined Space / High Angle Rescue Technician II and instructor

Luc MehlLuc Mehl, Visiting Faculty, Packrafting Alaska

Graduate of MIT and UCSB. Here’s what National Geographic has to say about Luc, “Mehl has risen to a sort of auspicious fame in his home state of Alaska. With a mind inclined toward calculations and an academic background in geophysics, Mehl scrutinizes topographic maps just for fun. In those maps he discovers long elegant, and unlikely routes. With a line drawn, he then turns his laser beam focus to traveling it. Completion of trips like his Mt Logan Traverse garner a mix of awe and envy from the cadre of wilderness adventurers who follow his exploits.” (http://adventureblog.nationalgeographic.com/2013/04/03/the-orizaba-traverse-230-miles-of-biking-climbing-and-packrafting-in-mexico/)
 49-faces_logo_web2“If you meet this humble, soft-spoken adventurer on an outing in the Chugach mountains, Luc won’t be the one to tell you that he has won the winter Alaska Mountain Wilderness Ski Classic five times and the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic twice. A friend might whisper it in your ear, or you may discover through his website, Things to Luc At. The Wilderness Classic, a low-key, grass-roots adventure race, has humbled more than a few ultra-distance runners. The course has changed every few years since its inception in 1982. Rules are simple: traverse 150 to 250 miles of wilderness under human power, use no roads, carry all food and equipment; leave no trace; and depend on yourself for rescue. Winners embrace purity of style.  Luc and partners complete wilderness journeys in less than four days that most adventurers envision as two-week expeditions.” http://49faces.com/people/luc-mehl/

woodruff patrick laputkaWoodruff Patrick Laputka, Laputka Films, Adjunct Faculty, Digital Video Editing & Adventure Filmmaking

A graduate of University of Alaska Anchorage in Journalism/Film Production, Woodruff has quickly gained notoriety within the travel film industry, having filmed all over the globe.

Shann Jones, MA, Adjunct Instructor, Primary Area: Flyfishing

Shann Paul Jones has been an Instructor of Outdoor Skills with Prince William Sound College since Fall 2011. He also holds the position of Instructor of Leisure & Sporting Activities at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) where he specializes in adult outdoor education/recreation program development and delivery. Since 2001, he’s offered over 70 post-secondary level outdoor education/recreation clinics, workshops, classes and community outreach events.


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