Guides / Instructors


John Buffery (Buff)

John Buffery

John Buffery is really known as Buff, unless you are his Mother. Buff has been exploring and guiding on his snowboard for almost three decades — throughout many undiscovered mountains and with some of the best riders of all time: Craig Kelly, Terje, Travis Rice, & Nico Mueller just to name a few.

Buff was one of the original guides at Nelson’s own Baldface Lodge where he articulated terrain, guided and played in their 32,000 acre tenure for several years. Buff helped to integrate Snowboard guiding within the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) and is currently a full ski guide with the association. It gets better — Buff is a longtime Nelson resident and is a senior avalanche officer for the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Buff is truly dedicated to Splitboarding and sharing his experience and knowledge to amateur through expert enthusiasts.

John Buffery - Hiking

Dano Slater

Dano Slater

Dano Slater is a passionate skier and coach and has been actively involved in the ski industry for over 20 years. Whether it be coaching young athletes in freestyle and aerials as well as freeskiing, competing on the freeskiing circuit, judging ski contests, or navigating his own backcountry lines and first descents – Dano has always known that skiing would make up the fabric of his life. 

In the phase of pushing his own ski limits, Dano nailed countless first descents in the North Selkirks, Rockies and Purcells – some are now popular lines yet many remain unskiied to this day. Big lines and first descents aside – Dano is a really fun skier to watch and learn from as well as an extraordinarily personable coach. His passion for playful skiing is contagious and his teaching style is perfectly casual.

Originally from Ontario, Dano now makes his home in Nelson with his wife and young son. Over the past 15 years his time in the Kootenays has formed him into the skier he was always meant to be. He competed on the freeskiing circuit for 6 years with multiple top 10 finishes and later would become a professional judge on that same circuit for several years. This judging experience gave Dano a broad understanding of the discipline of freeskiing and has led him to his current position as the Freeride Coach for the Whitewater Freeride Team.  There were some words about his most recent endeavour and when prompted to add to this bio, he notes (in true Kootenay style), "I suppose the only cool thing to add would be coaching team Canada Freeride at the World Championships in Andorra and getting 1st, 2nd and 4th , no big deal though if it dosnt fit in".  Yea Dano.

Dave Treadway

Dave Treadway

Dave Treadway could be classified as one of the least-jaded pro skiers in history.  Based out of Pemberton, BC, and citing Whistler as his home resort, he skis for a livin’ and has prioritized fun and stoke as the critical ingredients in all things skiing. 

Dave grew up skiing a 200 vertical foot hill in Kenora Ontario, and being towed behind his family’s snowmobile on the frozen lake in front of their house.  From this modest ski heritage, Dave has developed into a freeskier of this age with multiple cover shots, photo awards, Redbull accolades, and a long list of ski film credits with top producers.  He is also documenting his own journey in a web vimeo series.


He notes his passion is grounded in a desire to explore mountains around the globe, push the limits of possibility on skis, and soak in the adventure that is the journey.  He is also equally content on the magic carpet shredding corduroy with his toddler.  And just like the rest of us, he'd like to find a ski area with a surf break at the bottom of it...with 87 degree water.


Dave jumped at the opportunity to share his passions, experiences and insights at Coldsmoke and is joining us for the festival because he believes that skiers are one big family, and no one embraces this family of all ages and abilities better than Coldsmoke at Whitewater. 

Dave Treadway Skiing

Dan Markham

Dan Markham

Dan resides in Banff with his wife and husky. Skiing most of his life, he took up Telemark skiing about 15 years ago after many years of Alpine racing and instructing. When skiing in-bounds he spends most of his time at the Lake Louise Ski Resort, otherwise he is touring the Monashee, Selkirk or Purcell ranges. He free-heels exclusively - but with a mix of Tele and Alpine styles - all depending on the conditions and his mood.

Over the years he has qualified to teach both Alpine and Telemark, as well as coach. Dan has also sat on the Canadian Avalanche Centre’s board of directors for the last nine years, acting currently as Vice-President.  Dan would define himself as a ‘free-heeler’ vs a strict tele-marker as he prefers the opportunity to use both techniques, and incorporates this into his teaching style. “Coldsmoke is a great opportunity for snow-obsessed people together to have fun doing what they love the most, party some, and meet new friends… I’m looking forward to it”

Dan Markham Skiing

 

Jesse Moore

Jesse Moore

Photo: Naosuke Murota

Jesse grew up in Lethbridge, Alberta spending his early years on snow at West Castle (now Castle Mountain) and skiing Fernie. Loving all aspects of mountain life, Jesse has been a dedicated student of sliding on snow and as a result is one of the most diverse instructors in the country. Jesse is a Level 3 Alpine Instructor (CSIA), Level 4 Snowboard Instructor (CASI) and Level 3 Telemark Instructor (CANSI).

Now a resident of Canmore and based primarily out of Sunshine Village, Jesse has spent 14 years passing on his eclectic knowledge and experience in snowsports. He has spent one season on ski patrol at Sunshine honing his first aid and avalanche awareness skills, and after returning to the ski school, has spent several seasons teaching instructor-training courses. Taking time for fun is also a priority and he has spent two seasons hunting powder in Niseko, Japan and a summer riding the volcano, Mt. Ruapehu, on New Zealand’s North Island.

Jesse is a favoured coach for the local ‘Big Mountain Riders’, a program intended to develop young freeriders into epic skiers, safe mountain travelers, conscientious reps of the sport, and of course, good decision-makers. On the weekends, you can find him leaping off anything that has a good landing with a herd of teenagers on his (free?) heels in hot pursuit! Jesse’s biggest love is Telemark skiing and he can’t wait to be a part of something as spectacular as the Coldsmoke Powder Fest!

Jesse Moore Skiing

Karen Reader

Karen Reader

Karen has dedicated much of her adult life to enjoying and anticipating both perfect and imperfect turns, in search of fluid lines, and of course the pursuit of Coldsmoke. She has twice earned podium finishes at the US National Telemark Freeskiing Championships and is two-time champion of the infamous Al Johnson Uphill-Downhill Telemark Race.

Karen has been teaching skiing for over 15 years; she is fully certified in Telemark in the US and Canada and also holds Alpine and Adaptive certifications in both countries. Her own ski improvement is a life-long pursuit and she believes her best turns are still to come.  It is with this attitude and passion that she works with her students.

Karen lives in Rossland where she coached their Freeride Team for 8 years. She is currently a course conductor for CANSI, coordinates the Skier Development Program and coaches at Black Jack Ski Club, she travels to teach clinics in the US and Canada, and is one of Coldsmoke's festival organizers.

photo credit:  lesley chisholm photography/sherri harkin photography

Karen Reader Skiing

Kendra Starr

Kendra Starr

Kendra Starr started her professional snowboard career in Rossland, BC with a part in the all female film, "No Man's Land" by Christian Begin. She studied Traditional Chinese Medicine in Victoria, BC where there is no snow. So while she was studying, she would spend the summer months in South America and snowboard around Chile and Argentina winning many contests and hooking up with various magazines and film crews. She has toured volcanoes with Craig Kelly and many other famous snowboarders.

She continued her snowboard career in Whistler, BC where she rode for Option snowboards, developed her pro-model boards and designed her signature outerwear. She focused on photo and film content, working in the back country of Whistler and other spots around North America. She was a pro-coach at Camp of Champions summer camp and every winter for the Roxy women's camps in Whistler. She did compete quite a bit but her heart was always in the mountains, and she preferred free riding and powder to competition.

Kendra was always pushing herself to be better and learn new tricks, but she liked to maintain a high level of fun - - and she found learning new things and riding with friends to be the most fun.

She now has two daughters and has relocated from Squamish, BC back to her roots in Nelson. She practices Traditional Chinese medicine in Rossland and Nelson.

Kendra Starr Riding

Kirsty Exner

Kirsty Exner

Kirsty is a ‘home-grown’ local from Rossland, BC who grew up skiing Red Mountain. Red was back then, and still is, an excellent training ground for her to pursue her passion for skiing.  She competed on the World Freeskiing Tour for 4 years, earning many podium finishes including two silver medals at the Worlds in Alaska.  From the cornerstone of her personal free-skiing background, Kirsty created her own women’s freeskiing camps based out of Rossland and coached hundreds of women through her multi-day camps.

Kirsty is currently living and practicing physiotherapy in Rossland and Trail and is also a proud mother of two young daughters. Whether it’s snowplowing with her daughters on the magic carpet, coaching skiing, or ripping her favourite pillow lines with friends, Kirsty’s passion for skiing is infectious and her expertise in ski instruction and body mechanics provides an invaluable learning experience for her clients. She is really excited to be a part of Coldsmoke this year and share in the enthusiasm of the festival!

Kirsty Exner Skiing
Photo: John Dougall

 

Peter Velisek

Peter Velisek

"As my ski skills and experiences have developed I have really come to value the simplicity of skiing and the spirituality that it provides. Skiing has allowed me to travel to many amazing places but it has also allowed me to travel within as it acts as such a strong metaphor for life."

After several years as a Big Mountain Skiing competitor with a number of titles on the circuit, Peter moved on to play a valued roll as a judge for the sport while continuing to travel throughout the world. Filming and photo shoots have taken Peter throughout Western Canada and the United States as well as Scandinavia, Europe and Asia.

Peter is excited to clinic at the Coldsmoke Festival because he looks forward to sharing ski experiences with folks from all sorts of different backgrounds in skiing and life. He believes that a strong technical base along with a positive, open attitude creates a teaching environment where people will naturally push their own limits to achieve new realizations within their skiing. He also sites connecting with others and having fun as the best parts of the job.

Peter Velisek Skiing

 

 

 

Sonja Lercher

Sonja Lercher

A tree planter and forester at heart, Sonja has called Whistler her home since 2004.  Sonja grew up ski-racing in the Bavarian Alps and competing throughout Europe with the German Junior National Team.  Life as a competitor was intensely disciplined and serious and at age 20, ready for a change, she immigrated to Canada in search of powder and a more laid-back lifestyle…

Her search for powder was successful as it brought her to the Kootenays and she settled down in Ymir, BC.  Living and skiing in BC opened her eyes to the profound Kootenay ski culture and her endless love for the mountains of the region, the copious Coldsmoke and the amazing people. She started competing on the Canadian Freeskiing circuit and over the years would step up her challenge on the international stage with the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour and the Swatch Freeride World Tour (FWT).  After 9 years of travelling on the circuit she is taking a step back from the FWT and re-connecting with her organic love for the sport by exploring her backyard in New Denver, and judging our local ISFA/FWQ Freeride events in BC. 

Sonja is an experienced athlete and coach and a welcome import into the local Freeskiing community; she is excited to return as a coach at Coldsmoke Powder Fest alongside fellow competitors and judges of many memorable years ago, like Dano Slater, Pete Velesik and Susan Medville.

Sonja Lercher

Susan Medville

Susan Medville

Susan is a skier who loves exploring the mountains and discovering new lines around her home in Pemberton, BC and afar. For many years she competed as ski racer and later on the International Freeskiers Association's World Tour. She has won the North American Freeskiing Championships and placed second overall on the North American Tour twice.


Through coaching clinics, Susan loves sharing the knowledge she has gained through her experiences ski racing, competing in freeskiing events and ski mountaineering. She understands and communicates the technical aspects of skiing while never losing sight that skiing is just plain fun.


She came to coach her first Coldsmoke five years ago and is hooked. This year she looks forward to introducing her six year old son and his grandparents to the delights of Whitewater!!

Susan Medville Skiing

Trace Cooke

Trace Cooke

Trace grew up skiing Whitewater.  And indeed at his current age of 21 or so, one might say he continues to grow up skiing Whitewater.  Over the past several years Trace developed from a rad local skier into one of the world’s most promising junior freeski competitors. Now on the senior circuit, he feels fortunate to include the rest of the world as his ski playground.

Whitewater has been the perfect training ground for Trace who is now is pushing the limits in big mountain freeride competitions around the world.  In 2013, Trace became the first ever Canadian to win the overall Junior IFSA Freeski tour with many first place finishes throughout North America.  Last season Trace competed in Europe where he took two first place finishes at the two mountains he has always dreamed of skiing:  Chamonix & Verbier.

Helping coach his sister at many of the comps and seeing her finish second overall in her age category on the tour resonated with Trace. It was his coaching efforts with his sister that gave him the inspiration to coach and bring to stoke to other younger athletes. Trace articulates that igniting that ‘stoke’ in younger skiers brings him almost as much joy as the sport itself. Trace is a natural leader, understands skiing intimately, and displays humility beyond his years when coaching. Speaking of stoke, we are indeed all that to have him on board sessioning Coldsmoke this year.

Craig Hollinger

Craig Hollinger

Craig has lived in Nelson for over 15 years and skied at and around Whitewater for most of that time. He started backcountry skiing more than 25 years ago and is a veteran of several multi-week ski traverses in BC and Alaska. He is an ACMG Assistant Ski Guide and a Professional member of the CAA. He has taught skiing (both telemark and alpine), ski touring and avalanche courses both recreationally and professionally for a good part of the past 20 years.

"The Coldsmoke Powder Fest is a great way to show off our little 'gem' here and a great way to meet new friends. I'm passionate about my sport and enjoy passing on my knowledge and experience to others."

Judson Wright

Judson Wright

Judson has spent the past 17 years guiding and exploring the Mountains of Western Canada and has over 500 days of skiing and guiding experience in the Whitewater and Kootenay Pass backcountry.  Originally from Ontario, Judson moved to Rossland, BC in 1998 with the explicit goal of pursuing a career in ski guiding.  He has done just that and can claim that as a fully certified ski guide he has guided for multiple heli and cat operations throughout BC and now is the ‘soul’ proprietor of Kootenay Backcountry Guides, a locally based guiding operation (www.kootenaybackcountryguides.com).  Judson has been teaching Avalanche Skills Training Courses for the past three years and loves spreading his knowledge to beginners and experts alike.  His enthusiasm for both backcountry skiing and avalanche safety is infectious. 


Over the years, Judson has learned that most of us are after the same thing… searching for fresh powder, seeking the perfect and endless fall line, tasting adventure, having fun, getting away from it all and being safe in the backcountry so we can tell our epic tales.  He feels that the ‘Kootenay Experience’ is pervasive in everything we do as mountain culture enthusiasts - - on and off the hill -  - and that is why he is super stoked to guide at Coldsmoke this year!

Judson Wright Skiing

Wren McElroy

Wren McElroy

Born and raised in Nelson, BC, Wren has a passion for the mountains that she loves to share. Growing up skiing at Whitewater fueled a drive to ski for Wren that has formed a career in the mountains. Starting as a professional ski patroller gave Wren a solid foundation to play in the mountains. Early in her career, Wren was published in Powder, Freeze, Ski Canada, The Freak Radical and other media. In 1997 she was part of a team that successfully climbed Mount Logan, Canada’s highest mountain. Wren also worked a stint in the cat skiing industry as a tail guide at Selkirk Wilderness Skiing. In 1990 she sailed across the Pacific Ocean with her family on a 32’ sailboat.

Wren is now the Snow Safety Supervisor at Whitewater Ski Resort. She has worked for 10 years as an Instructor for the Canadian Avalanche Association. She is a Professional Member of the Canadian Avalanche Association and holds a CAA Level 3 certificate in Applied Avalanche Risk Management.

Wren has been guiding for Coldsmoke throughout its 10 years teaching a variety of back country clinics. Wren has a passion for avalanche education and being in the mountains that she has been sharing through teaching for more than 20 years. This year Wren has taken on the role of Coldsmoke Clinics Coodinator and is enjoying learning about the other aspects of the festival.

Wren McElroy Skiing

Martin Keyserlingk

Martin Keyserlingk

Martin has been working in the ski industry longer than he has been able to drive (legally). Initially as a ski instructor (alpine, nordic and telemark), then ski patrolling, as a tour guide and finally as a fully certified ski guide. After guiding and doing ski related marketing work across western Canada, he started and co-owned his own catskiing operation in the Nelson area which he ran for many years before selling it and starting to teach in the Ski Resort Operations and Management program at Selkirk College. He has worked internationally guiding and setting up new operations but now more and more Martin stays close to home. He still heli-ski guides in some of his favorite areas in BC, continues his work at the college and is now clocking his best runs ever skiing with his wife as they try to keep up with their two daughters at Whitewater resort.

Martin is a powder lover and adores sharing this passion with others. Often away working during Coldsmoke, Martin is very excited this year to work and hang out with long-time friends at his home resort, have fun and carve up some of the amazing terrain and snow that Whitewater has to offer with everyone.

Martin Keyserlingk Skiing