Who We Are

Friends of Berthoud Pass (FOBP) is a grassroots collective of backcountry enthusiasts committed to preserving the legacy of public recreation at Berthoud Pass through safety, access and education.

Founded in 2003 by ski patrollers and backcountry riders, we are a non-profit 501(c)3 tax-exempt  charitable organization managed by a volunteer executive board and supported by a diverse and active member base.

Our funding comes from generous donations by our members and our local retail partners. Membership is by a suggested donation of at least $25 per year. Lifetime membership is granted to individuals who donate more than $500.

.The Skiers Behind It

Shan Sethna – Executive Director

Shan Sethna

Shan is a founding member and has managed FOBP since 2003. A graduate of Colorado College and CU Boulder, Shan has lived and traveled around the world as a writer, teacher and media consultant. He is an experienced outdoor leadership educator, non-profit administrator, certified EMT and AIARE-qualified avalanche instructor who has been exploring Berthoud Pass and the Colorado backcountry since 1987.  shan@berthoudpass.org.

Carl Dowdy – President

Carl Dowdy

Along with day-to-day operations of FOBP, Carl also handles government relations and legal issues. He enjoys Berthoud powder just as much as anyone, but Carl’s passion is ski mountaineering. On May 3 2013, he entered the record books when he became one of only 10 people to have skied from the summit of all Colorado’s 14,000ft peaks. When he isn’t skiing or climbing, Carl works as an attorney in Denver. carl@berthoudpass.org.

Chris Groves – Vice President

Chris GrovesChris switched from racing to backcountry skiing when he moved to Colorado several years ago and got involved with FOBP. He’s been a Field Team instructor since 2009, on our board of directors since 2011 and is a member of the American Avalanche Association with advanced training from Silverton Avalanche School. When he’s not coordinating our volunteers, managing events or hiking the Pass, Chris works in Denver in the oil and gas industry. chris@berthoudpass.org..

Rick Thompson – Secretary

Rick Thompson

Born in Missoula and raised in Colorado, Rick learned to ski at Powderhorn Resort on the flanks of Grand Mesa. He began backcountry skiing at Berthoud Pass, and has honed his skills by traveling and studying with experienced mentors, ticking off numerous big peaks and steep lines across Colorado. When he’s not managing our paper trail, Rick works as a metallurgical engineer in Denver. rick@berthoudpass.org

Mike Bean – Treasurer

Mike Bean

Mike grew up in Hawaii, but you wouldn’t guess it based on how much he loves mountains. On any given day, you’ll find Mike ski mountaineering, mountain biking, trail running or racing triathlons. Mike is an avid photographer and his enthusiasm, never-ending energy and keen safety sense make him an ideal partner for mountain outings of any kind. A civil engineer by day, Mike joined the FOBP leadership team as Treasurer in 2012. mike@berthoudpass.org

Justin Peacock – Lead Avalanche Instructor

Justin Peacock

 As our Lead Avalanche Instructor Justin is responsible for curriculum, instruction, leadership and field protocols. Justin is an accomplished rock climber, telemark skier and teacher. He is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association, an AIARE Level 1 certified instructor and graduate of the National Avalanche School. He has been a member of Alpine Rescue Team since 2005 and serves on Flight for Life’s Avalanche Deployment program. A professional music producer on ‘inside days,’ Justin can be found at his studio, The Hook Factory. justin@berthoudpass.org.

Brian Pollock – Director of Education

Brian Pollock

Brian was introduced to the Berthoud backcountry by a few locals who wound up becoming the founding members of FOBP so he’s been around since day one. His extensive background in outdoor education, curriculum development and field operations keeps our grassroots avalanche education program thriving. When not skiing the Pass, riding his mountain bike or chasing after his two young sons, Brian runs his own sleep analysis company.  brian@berthoudpass.org .

Rusty Perry – Director of Sponsor Relations

Rusty Perry

Rusty has been a year-round explorer of Berthoud Pass for 25 years. Despite a serious skiing addiction, he manages to practice law full-time and has launched several successful start-up businesses over the years. As FOBP’s Sponsor Relations manager Rusty works with partners and vendors to create lasting relationships to support FOBP’s mission. Rusty lives in Denver with his wife and a small army of aging Labrador Retrievers and relies on his “uncanny aptitude at eating and drinking” to impress and win friends in the industry and around the globe. He is very good at this. Just ask him. rusty@berthoudpass.org……..

Gary Apostolou – Member-at-Large

Gary Apostolou

Gary is our FOBP Member-at-Large, or ‘large member’ as he likes to remind us. He is our resident split-knuckle-dragger and is responsible for our close relationship with several snowboard companies. Gary has mentored countless Berthoud Pass riders over the years and you’ll frequently find him splitboarding around Berthoud with his dog Cody, who is a very good boy, and a crew of die-hard BP powder hounds who may, or may not, on any given day, be good boys. gary@berthoudpass.org.

BJ Marraccini – Communications Director

BJ Marraccini

BJ grew up skiing in Pittsburgh and moved to Colorado in the mid-90’s. An affiliate-member of the American Avalanche Association with advanced training from Alpine World Ascents and Silverton Avalanche School, BJ is an avid splitboarder and is stoked on trail running and map collecting.  When he’s not overseeing our web presence, member communications and other key initiatives, BJ works as a geospatial professional in Boulder. bj@berthoudpass.org

Jeff Welch – Team Director


Jeff was born and raised in Colorado, and has pretty much been skiing since he could walk. Eventually that led to walking uphill on skis, first at Berthoud Pass, then on many other mountains around Colorado, where he enjoys scaring himself senseless on steep lines. As FOBP’s Team Director, Jeff manages our volunteer instructor team and keeps everyone up-to-date on training. In his spare time between skiing, rock climbing, and otherwise wandering around in the mountains, he works as a Mechanical Engineer near Denver. jeff@berthoudpass.org

Preserving the Legacy of Public Recreation at Berthoud Pass