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With a childhood in Michigan’s flat, cold, and very snowy Upper Peninsula, Eryka Thorley grew up with skis on her feet and the local ski resort as her childcare. When it came time to decide a place for her undergraduate studies, the logical place was Montana State University near the iconic Big Sky Ski Resort and local Bridger Bowl. In Montana, Eryka continued to ski and snowboard and launched her ski patrol career at Big Sky in 2005. Moving forward with snow, melted snow specifically, Eryka spent a few seasons as a white water river guide on the Gallatin River before heading to Mount Rainier and guiding for Rainier Mountaineering Inc.. She has over 70 attempts on Mountain Rainier (22 summits) and more throughout the Cascades.

In 2011 Eryka was responsible for travel and safety on a National Science Foundation expedition to the Greenland Ice Sheet where her eyes were opened wide to the impact of climate change on the frozen landscape. This experience motivated Eryka to move to Colorado where she achieved a Master’s Degree in Medical Anthropology with a focus on climate change and health. Today, Eryka lives with her husband and daughter, Wynter, in Nederland where she orchestrates hiking tours to the Switzerland Alps and teaches avalanche courses in nearby Rocky Mountain National Park and Summit County.

Eryka is an AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide, AIARE (Provisional) Course Leader, Registered Yoga Teacher, Leave No Trace Trainer, Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician, CPR Certified, and is pursuing her AMGA Ski Guide certification. Eryka has a Professional Level 2 Avalanche certification from the American Avalanche Institute and was a certified blaster during her time ski patrolling in Montana.

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