About Us

The mission of the Sawtooth Avalanche Center is to provide avalanche safety information for people recreating, working, or travelling in the Sawtooth National Forest.

We begin daily avalanche advisories in the fall after enough snow accumulates in the mountains for on-snow travel in the backcountry and continue them until mid-April. We also offer a variety of classroom and field based educational programs, including instruction specifically aimed towards youth, backcountry skiers, snowmobilers, and professionals.

Scott Savage, Director

Scott began poking around the mountains in the late 1980's while earning degrees in Chemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He headed to Big Sky, Montana to ski-bum for a winter before enrolling in medical school... or so he thought. Scott ended up spending the better part of two decades as a Ski Patroller, Avalanche Forecaster, and Snow Safety Director at Big Sky Resort before joining the SAC program in 2012. He has presented at several international avalanche conferences and regional professional seminars and is a regular contributor to The Avalanche Review. Scott is a National Avalanche School instructor, former Secretary of the American Avalanche Association, and President of Avalanche Worker Safety. He likes to spend his free time playing in the mountains, on rivers, and on rocks and generally considers each day that he learns more than he forgets to be a success.

Matt Wieland, Avalanche Specialist

Matt grew up playing and getting lost in the mountains of Montana. He moved to Bozeman to attend college and realized working as a ski patroller at Moonlight Basin Ski Area was pretty fun. He eventually became an avalanche forecaster and worked at the ski hill for over a decade. Along the way he earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Snow Geography at Montana State University - Bozeman. Not satisfied, he went back to MSU to earn a Master's degree focusing on surface hoar formation in forested meadow openings. He began forecasting for the Sawtooth Avalanche Center in 2015. In the winter he enjoys going out for a rip on his snowbike and occasionally brings his skis along. He spends his summers riding singletrack trails on anything with two wheels.

Ethan Davis, Lead Avalanche Specialist

Ethan began working as a forecaster with the Sawtooth Avalanche Center in 2015. His interest in snow started at Anthony Lakes, a mom-and-pop ski hill in rural Eastern Oregon. He attended the University of Idaho, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Geography and a minor in Mathematics. Following an interest in winter storms he earned his Master's degree in Meteorology from Pennsylvania State University. After three years in a dark lab growing ice crystals, Ethan returned to the light as a forecaster in Alaska and Colorado before making his way home to Idaho. When not in the snow, you can find him and his wife Robyn brewing beer, fishing, biking or tying-in to climb at a local crag.

Chris Lundy, Forecaster Emeritus

Chris worked at Sawtooth Avalanche Center for almost 10 years before becoming an owner of Sawtooth Mountain Guides. Chris forecasts for the SAC on special occasions.

Ben VandenBos, Intern Avalanche Specialist

After a youthful dalliance with the world of riding lifts at Bridger Bowl, Ben opened his eyes and embraced the rest of the mountains that surrounded his hometown of Bozeman, Montana. He earned a B.S. in Geology at the University of Montana in Missoula, where he also developed the masochism required for long approaches to questionable skiing and climbing while exploring the Bitterroot Range. In the following years, and supported by off-season work as a geologist, Ben focused on the study of mountains and snow. When he’s not searching out first descents, he reads, picks up rocks, skis and climbs with his girlfriend, Gabrielle, and drinks a whole lot of coffee. If you see him, be prepared to discuss anything from stellar dendrites to the Paleogene trans-Challis dike swarm.