Northwest Avalanche Center Announces New Executive Director, Scott Schell


June 30, 2016
Seattle, WA – The Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC), a collaborative effort between US Forest Service meteorologists, multi-agency cooperators and the non-profit arm, announces Scott Schell as the new Executive Director of the non-profit. Since 1976, NWAC has grown capacity and resources to improve forecasting and educational outreach in Washington’s Cascades and Olympics as well as Oregon’s Mt. Hood. Schell begins his new position in July in preparation for the upcoming snow season.

Scott previously served as NWAC’s Program Director for the past five years and has driven innovative educational programs and a professional observers network. He is a certified AMGA Ski Mountaineering Guide who has guided throughout the US, Alaska, Canada, and Europe. An avid ski mountaineer, Scott brings nearly 20 years of backcountry ski industry experience—as an avalanche instructor and instructor trainer. He is a co-author of the popular backcountry skiing handbook, Backcountry Skiing, Skills for Ski Touring and Ski Mountaineering.

“NWAC is fortunate to have Scott step into role of Executive Director,” said Justin Davis, NWAC Board President. “Scott brings tremendous experience and relationships to the role and has been an integral part of the NWAC team for the last 5 years. His vision and dedication can be seen in the growth of our avalanche awareness programs and forecast products.”

Scott takes the leadership position at a time of tremendous growth for the organization. In the most recent season, the NWAC website hosted 1.7 million sessions to 450,000 unique users. Scott led projects that proved innovative on a national scale including the “Going Deep” education series for intermediate to advanced users, and the NWAC app, which is a collaborative effort with the Colorado Avalanche and Information Center (CAIC).

NWAC has continued to tailor its educational offerings while recommitting to serve five key recreational communities: backcountry skiers, backcountry snowboarders, snowshoers, alpine climbers and snowmobilers. The organization will continue to expand its efforts around youth education and reaching out to the wider, more diverse community of winter backcountry recreationalists.

“I’ve used NWAC products for over 20 years and I’m proud to be a member of this community,” Schell said. “I’m honored to lead the non-profit team, and excited to work with our forecasters and partners to communicate the most accurate and useable information available—so that we can all manage risk in the mountains.”

The Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) is a collaborative effort between the US Forest Service Northwest Avalanche Center and the non-profit Northwest Avalanche Center. The mission of NWAC is to save lives and reduce the impacts of avalanches on recreation, industry and transportation in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains of Washington and northern Oregon through mountain weather and avalanche forecasting, data collection and education. For additional information, please visit or call 206-276-4729.