The Testers

Jackson Hogen

Test Director

Hogen has labored as ski designer, binding and boot product manager, freestyle competitor, bootfitter, lecturer on risk management, ski instructor, marketing director, resort feature writer, ski tester for 30 years and boot tester for 20, OLN and RSN television show host, extreme camp coach, Desperate Measures co-creator, four-time Warren Miller screenwriter, R&D chief…

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…honorary Canadian, college racer, two-time personal therapist to Greg Stump, regular contributor to at least ten different ski magazines, and his guise as Pontiff of Powder, married Paul Hochman and Carrie Sheinberg in all ways but legally. He currently serves as a bootfitter at Bobo’s in Reno, Nevada, when not providing all editorial services for, including his weekly Revelation from the Pontiff of Powder. In addition to the 126 Recommended ski reviews on, Hogen also provided 48 original reviews for the Masterfit Real Skiers 2018 Buyers Guide and another 99 for, making him the world’s most widely read ski analyst.

Corty Lawrence

Founder, Superfeet

Corty Lawrence was born on January 7, 1953, in Rutland, Vermont, to David J. and Andrea Mead Lawrence (of double Olympic gold medal fame). A member of a skiing family from the very start, he does not remember learning how to ski other than his mom and dad teaching him how to sidestep, sideslip, herringbone (how many know that one?), and kick turn. 

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Skiing with peers and race coaching provided the remainder of his technical foundation. He has been in the ski business his whole working career. He met Sven Coomer, boot designer and a founder of Superfeet and Footloose Sports in Mammoth Lakes, California, and became a boot-fitter there in 1980. He has pursued that career since then. “Anything to keep me in my habits … skiing the primary one,” he says.

Jim Schaffner

Owner, Start Haus

Schaffner has been working in the ski industry his entire adult life. Originally from the Midwest, he started in ski retail as a teen and was then picked to work with athletes in racing service for Salomon North America. His home is in Truckee, California where he owns and operates The Start Haus ski shop.

Jack Walzer

GM, Jan's LTD

General manager of Jan’s LTD, which includes Jans MT Outfitter, White Pine Touring and Rennstall World Cup tuning service, Jack Walzer is a ski industry veteran. He is an Avid Alpine skier, Nordic skier, MTB and road biker with a fly-fishing fetish. With over 30 years of specialty retailing experience, he has experienced all trends and product improvements over the years. 

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He has served on numerous product advisory panels and has tested hundreds of skis over the years. He grew up in Vermont before settling in Park City. He is also a longtime bootfitter and equipment connoisseur.

Silver Chesak

Footloose Sports

Growing up on a 600 acre ranch in the California Wine Country I was introduced to the wonder of the outdoors at an early age.  My innate sense of exploration quickly led me to the ocean as well as the seemingly endless expanses of the Sierra Nevada.  

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All things mountain related and specifically skiing consumed the next 25 years of my life. This led to a series of ski area jobs and eventually a career as a professional skier, finishing 9th in the world on the 1995 Freeskiing World Tour. Traveling around the world competing and creating beautiful images taught me more than any college experience and introduced me to the interesting world of marketing. After settling down in the true alpine environment of the Mammoth Area I have enjoyed a long successful career at Footloose Sports. My current position is Marketing/Information Manager.  As an avid surfer and mountain biker I have always maintained an enthusiastic relationship with my closest beaches and riding areas in Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona. I look forward to servicing all my accounts in every one of these great areas.

Larry Rhoads

Footloose Sports

Larry Rhoads began skiing when he was only 8 years old, 1967. Larry grew up in Long Beach, CA, so naturally Mammoth Mountain was his true home. Larry frequented mammoth very often growing up and was eventually accepted into UCLA and chose to major Economics.

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Larry went on join the fire service for almost 27 years and retired as a Fire Captain. Larry also served as a ski patroller and ski instructor for mammoth mountain for nearly 10 years. Larry has been a loyal employee to Footloose sports for 10 years and manages our rental tech department. Larry still spends his winters here in mammoth and enjoys his summers in long beach surfing and cycling.

Theron Lee

Bobo's Ski Shop

Theron Lee has been part of the race culture for nearly four decades. He spent 16 years providing tech services for K2 athletes, the last three on the Europa Cup circuit. He moved on to a 6-year stint at Salomon and a 2-year tour with Nordica before transitioning to ski tuning at the retail level, where he has represented Dynastar and Lange for the past 17 seasons. 

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His mastery of both machine and hand tuning techniques makes Lee the rare technician skiers ask for by name. He also maintains his Level 200 slalom coaching certification and remains active in junior racer development. Rounding out his technical qualifications, Lee is a Masterfit University instructor and world-class bootfitter. He currently plies his trade at Bobo’s in Reno, NV.

Steve Olson

Viking Ski Shop

Steve Olson is a long time ski enthusiast and manager of Viking Ski and Snowboard Shop in Barrington, Illinois. Steve has been testing skis in the Midwest and Western United States for 28 years. He specializes in all-mountain skis and carving skis.

Zach Yates

Footloose Sports

Zach did not grow up in a ski family he spent lots of time skateboarding and took to a love of snowboarding. His mother received a job at Mt. Hood Meadows. They did not rent snowboards at the time, so that was it. He got a job as a busboy at Mt. Hood at fourteen, saving up all winter to buy his first pair of skis: “K2 Extremes. 207’s. 

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Zach became one of the youngest certified instructors at fifteen, teaching at Hood though high school, and then moving to Kirkwood where he met Silver Chesak. At Kirkwood he got his first chance to ski more technical terrain, and with heroes of the time like Glen Plake and Darren Johnson. Eventually Zach discovered Mammoth mountain. 30 years later the hard work has paid off and he is now co-owner of Footloose Sports.

Zach is known to customers as the tall quiet guy in the ski repair room, and to local racers as the tall quiet source of sophisticated race tunes, Zach Yates started out in the rental shop at Footloose in 1995.

Bill Allen

Peter Glenn Ski & Sports

Bill Allen started skiing at the age of 5 at Glenwood Acres Ski Area, in Colden, NY. He competed for the West Seneca East Schools Ski Club from 7th Grade through 12th. Bill has been a Peter Glenn Ski & Sports employee since October 1999. He called in sick on his first day to work at Peter Glenn due to the birth of my daughter Alexis Rose Allen! Bill also has a son, Ethan, with his wife of 25 years, Brenda.

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Larry went on join the fire service for almost 27 years and retired as a Fire Captain. Larry also served as a ski patroller and ski instructor for mammoth mountain for nearly 10 years. Larry has been a loyal employee to Footloose sports for 10 years and manages our rental tech department. Larry still spends his winters here in mammoth and enjoys his summers in long beach surfing and cycling.

Edie Thys Morgan

Former Olympian, USST

Edie Thys Morgan, AKA Racer eX, is a two time Olympian, recovering downhill racer, freelance writer, and frequent contributor to Ski Racing and Skiing History Magazines. The reverse commuter grew up in Squaw Valley and now lives in NH with her family. 

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Thys Morgan, AKA Racer eX, is a two-time Olympian, recovering downhill racer, freelance writer, and frequent contributor to Ski Racing and Skiing History Magazines. The reverse commuter grew up in Squaw Valley and now lives in NH with her family.

Brooke Froelich

Adventure Journalist

Although she didn’t learn to ski until her mid 20’s, Brooke Murray has made up for lost time by skiing 90+ days most seasons. Before the kids came along, she was chasing after lines in the Wasatch backcountry. After the birth of her second child…

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…Brooke began dividing her time between pulling the kids up backcountry roads on her skis helping her 5 year old learn to cruise down moguls at their home mountain in Colorado, and sneaking away for the occasional “mom ski trip” with friends. Brooke loves working with Nordica to helping other mom’s find a love for skiing (learn more about her family and story here). In the off season, Brooke loves to take her kids camping, biking, hiking, climbing, and doing anything to keep her quads and glutes strong.

Jennifer Simpson

PSIA Demo Team Member

Jennifer is a member of the PSIA Demo Team. She spends her winters in Aspen, Colorado.

Brenna Kelleher

National Team Alpine

Brenna Kelleher grew up in Big Sky, MT. She started skiing as soon as she could walk and began racing at 5 years old. Developing her career as an outdoor mountain athlete, she continued as an NCAA ski racer for Montana State University and claimed the 2001 Junior World Championship as a freestyle kayaker. 

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She is currently a member of the PSIA National Alpine Team.  Brenna works as a ski instructor and guide at Big Sky Resort. In addition to her PSIA level III and Wilderness First Responder certifications, her avalanche education and mountain expertise has aided her in leading advanced women’s and youth-specific clinics training big mountain tactics, steep skiing technique, terrain management and use and understanding of avalanche rescue gear.  Brenna coaches and owns an international ski business called the Turn Project.

Kim Reichhelm

Former USST

Since starting Ski With Kim in 1989, Kim Reichhelm, has been hosting clinics, camps, corporate skiing, private trips and adventure travel for all ages and abilities around the world. A pioneer in the ski industry, Kim was a member of the US Ski Team, an NCAA All American for the University of Colorado, a professional ski racer and two-time World Extreme Skiing Champion. 

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Most recently, Kim was named by Skiing Magazine as one of the “Most Influential Skiers of All Time.” Sharing the sport she loves the most brings out the best in Kim. She is vivacious, fun-loving, detail-oriented and professional. When she is not traveling to resorts around the world, Kim is based out of Aspen, Colorado and Baja, Mexico.

McKenna Peterson

K2 Alliance Test Team

McKenna is the quintessential ‘ski bum’. A former Freeskiing World Tour competitor, McKenna spends most of her winter backcountry skiing and chasing snow. She captains her family’s 58’ commercial fishing boat in Alaska during the summer months, catching salmon. 

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McKenna has almost two decades of backcountry skiing experience with extensive trips around the world. She has worked with world renowned mountain photographers and has been a part of multiple film projects including Warren Miller, Matchstick Productions, Pretty Faces and numerous adventure documentaries. McKenna has been a K2 athlete and Alliance test team member since 2012.

Madeline Dunn

Nordica Test Team

Madeline Dunn is a professional ski-mountaineer, avalanche educator, and outdoor sports model. She grew up ski racing in Michigan’s Pine Knob resort and competed in the Junior Olympics and NorAm competitions. 

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In addition to being a ski tester for Nordica, she has worked in the industry as a professional athlete, ski model and professional guide. Her ski career recently led her to teach certified AIARE Avalanche Education Courses. She lives in Aspen and recently started her own company Aspen Art Curation.

Megan Dingman

Former NCAA Racer

Megan is a 22-year-old former collegiate ski racer turned big mountain skier from Park City, Utah.

Robin Barnes

PSIA National Alpine Team

Robin Barnes is a member of the PSIA National Alpine Team and Director of the Ski and Snowboard School in Portillo Chile.  Robin serves as a Contributing Author and Reviewer for 32 Degrees Magazine, the official publication of the professional Ski Instructors of America.

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Barnes is a self-confessed skiing addict, getting in “only” 275 days a year, so she sees every kind of snow imaginable.  “I love ripping it up in a GS course,” she says with her characteristic enthusiasm, “frolicking in the bumps, or tracking up fresh snow.”

Ingrid Backstrom

Professional Skier

Ingrid Backstrom is a professional skier, new mom, and amateur but enthusiastic cook, mountain biker, trail runner, and berry picker, among other things. I love adventures of any kind, but mainly the ones where you leave out the backdoor or up the street with a pair of shoes or some skis and a daypack. In other words, I like things that are simple and straightforward with a challenge. 

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In twelve years of skiing professionally I’ve had the good fortune to travel around the world and visit lots of places, and I’ve learned that I enjoy connecting and sharing stories with other people who also love mountains and mountain activities. I like regular, normal food that’s fun and delicious, and usually the kind where I can make it last minute.
I live in Central Washington with my husband, Jim, our daughter, Betty, and our rascally miniature Australian Shepherd, Buddy.

Kim Beekman

Professional Ski Tester

Kimberly Beekman is the former editor-in-chief of the late, great Skiing Magazine (RIP), and a longtime editor of SKI Magazine before that. She currently uses the titles of “freelancer” and “professional ski tester” as a beard to ski powder all over the world. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her wonderful daughter and terrible cat.

Claire Challen

Former Racer

Outside the rustic family ski cabin on Hudson Bay Mountain in Smithers, British Columbia, Claire strapped on her first pair of skis at the age of two. Since then she’s travelled the world as a racer, coach, TV host, journalist, action model and Rossignol athlete. 

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Claire loves to travel and share her passion for skiing and now spends her winters teaching skiing anywhere she can. In the off-season you’ll find Claire whipping skiers and fitness enthusiasts into shape.

Jill Beers

I’m a 26 year-old East Coast transplant now living in SLC, Utah. I grew up racing on Vermont ice & have now been recreationally skiing the Wasatch for 4 seasons. I love to rip fast groomers in between storm cycles but a blower Utah pow day will always top the list. If I’m not taking hot laps on the Wildcat chair at Alta, you can find me in the backcountry finding fresh snow & avoiding the crowds.

Kaylin Richardson

Former USST Member

Kaylin grew up in Minnesota skiing at Hyland Hills, a small spot with little vertical. After her first family trip to Colorado, she was hooked. “It was pure magic,” she said, adding that the magic has never diminished for her. She started racing at age nine and made the US Ski Team at 15-years-old. 

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After ten years of racing internationally and competing in the Torino and Vancouver Olympics, she retired from competing on the World Cup. “I wanted to explore the mountains without gates and courses dictating where and when I could turn,” she said. She began to discover the beauty and adventure of backcountry skiing. Now a reincarnated big-mountain skier, she travels to some of the most staggering corners of the world as a professional ski tester.

El Furtney

PSIA Demo Team Member

El started skiing at three and grew up chasing her big brother around Okemo and Bromley before moving out West and getting spoiled by sunny California skiing. After graduating from UC Berkeley, where she raced with the ski team, El was hired as a ski instructor at Alpine Meadows, where she relearned everything she thought she knew about skiing. 

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Today, she is equally at home dissecting the finer points of counter movement in technical skiing or finding the smooth line through the steeps and chutes of Squaw|Alpine.  Her favorite non-skiing activity is mountain biking, both cross-country and downhill. When not skiing secret stashes or pucker lines at Squaw|Alpine, you can find El on her downhill bike, going bigger than when she’s skiing (but of course, wearing a lot more protective gear). Currently, El is the Managing Director of Ski & Snowboard Schools for Squaw Valley|Alpine Meadows, her home resort for the past 30 years and an active examiner & clinician with PSIA-W.

Juliette Willimann

French Freeskier

Emma is a 23-year-old French freeskier based in Chamonix. She has spent the past two seasons on the Freeride World Tour and have worked closely with the development team at Rossignol on the new Blackops range.

Cara Williams

Blizzard Tester

Cara Williams is a former world-ranked professional Big Mountain Freeskier & Ski Cross athlete. She spent over 10 years coaching and guiding with Extremely Canadian Steep Skiing Clinics in Whistler, South America and Europe. Cara also worked as PR and Communications Director of the Freeskiing World Tour, US Freeskiing Open…

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…The Honda Ski Tour, and The North Face Masters of Snowboarding with Mountain Sports International, a Utah-based sports marketing company. Since moving back to Canada, Cara has been working as the Editor-In-Chief of Escarpment Magazine, and is the Southern Ontario Division Head Coach at Georgian Peaks Ski Club—Alpine Canada’s 2020 “Club of the Year.”

Emma Whitelande

K2 Alliance Test Team

Emma was raised in Vermont, navigating the bumps, trees and often variable conditions of her home mountain, Mad River Glen. During her college years she was drawn West to the Rocky Mountains and started to compete in big mountain skiing. She later found a love in coaching youth freeride skiing at Aspen Valley Ski Club.

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Emma is a member of the K2 Alliance and works with K2 to develop the women’s ski line. She resides is Snowmass, Colorado with her husband, Stephen, and daughter, Merritt, who will be on skis shortly after taking her first steps.

Meghan Ochs

PSIA Level 3, USSA Level 200 Coach

Meghan Ochs has been skiing since a (fairly) young age. How young depends upon who you ask. In the present time, her mom says she was 8 or 9; however, when Meghan first started her accidental career as a snowsports professional, her mother claimed it was younger. We may never know, but one thing is certain, nowadays, Meghan certainly skis a lot.

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Typically, she skis 75-125 days a season depending on the year & travel. Meghan is a PSIA-AASI Level 3 certified ski instructor & USSA Level 200 Ski & Snowboard Coach. Meghan is on snow, mostly full-time, at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe in Nevada. Despite her permanent residence out west, she never forgets her small Pennsylvania and mid-Atlantic roots. Meghan also spends a lot of time coaching athletes at a Reno-based functional fitness and weightlifting gym where she is a CF-L2 Trainer, a USAW Level 1 Coach, and a Certified Adaptive & Inclusive Trainer (ATA). Meghan fervently believes in the power of physical activity to not only promote health within the body but also develop crucial life and coping skills that can be used in nearly any environment at any age.  Meghan knows that Skiing is Believing which is why she started an organization of that same name in 2018. Her life truly revolves around snow and movement which is why she is happy to be a part of the Realskiers test team. 

Lara Hughes-Allen

PSIA Level 3, USSA Level 200 Coach

Lara has lived in Truckee, CA since 2012 when she started working as an instructor and race coach. Lara has her PSIA Level 3 certification, Children’s Specialist Level 2 certification, and USSA Level 200 certification. Lara has also spent a lot of time skiing in the backcountry and in-bounds in California, Nevada, Utah, France, and Austria. Her recommendation to female skiers in particular is: “Don’t underestimate your abilities, you are strong and you can bend that ski.”

Clare Martin

Peter Glenn salesperson and bootfitter

Clare Martin is a veteran salesperson and bootfitter at Peter Glenn Ski & Sports, Atlanta. She got serious about skiing while attending college in Vermont and still skis there every year while visiting her brother. In addition, she always makes at least one trip a year to Snowmass and Steamboat to ski and visit family. Clare enjoys demoing next year’s equipment to ensure she’s recommending the proper equipment for each customer. When Clare’s not in the slopes, you can find her on one of her bikes or out on the tennis court.