Laura Beardsley has dedicated her career to supporting and guiding nonprofit organizations that help change lives and inspire individuals to care about the natural world including Outward Bound Philadelphia, NatureBridge, the Yosemite Conservancy, and Friends of the Inyo. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, she first served as a volunteer instructor with DSES before joining the staff. A keen hiker, skier, biker, and lover of the outdoors, she is committed to enhancing opportunities for adaptive recreation in the Eastern Sierra while supporting the entire DSES community. She lives in Crowley with her husband and their dog, Clyde.
Kathy Copeland spent her first 17 years in Vermont…skiing and racing from a very early age. She moved to Mammoth in 1971 and worked at Mammoth Mountain for 29 years, mostly in the Sports School and running the Children’s Sports School. She is certified by the Professional Ski Instructors of America; Alpine Level III, Adaptive Level II and Snowboard Level II. Kathy was also an examiner for Alpine Certification. She was instrumental in developing the Mammoth Adaptive Sports School, which was part of Mammoth Sports School. And she is a founding director of Mammoth Adaptive Sports Foundation which became Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra. Kathy's passion, dedication, and energy, transformed a fledgling program into a dynamic organization and strong community of athletes, families, and volunteers.
Jill Thompson is new to the Mammoth area and DSES. She comes to us from the North Carolina and has spent her entire professional career in the non-profit world starting at large summer camps on the coast of NC (Camps Seafarer and Sea Gull), then Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and most recently, the CarolinaEast Foundation. She spent the last 10 years at the helm of the CarolinaEast Foundation supporting the local healthcare system (CarolinaEast Health System) and the local community. She is passionate about connecting people and resources to advance impactful non-profit missions. She moves to Mammoth with her large family of five teenage and pre-teen children, her husband, mother, sister with Down Syndrome, and many animals. “It was an adventure traveling across this great country and exploring National Parks along the way. I feel like we have landed in God’s country. What an amazing area! I am grateful for the opportunity to work with DSES and get to know all of the people who have contributed to make this great organization a reality.”
Cara Leonard is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and moved to the Eastern Sierra after earning a degree in biology from the University of California Santa Barbara. A passionate skier from an early age, Cara started working and skiing in Mammoth in the early 90’s. Cara has an extensive background in instructing, staff training and ski school management with the Mammoth Mountain Ski School and at Mount Hutt in New Zealand. She has also managed training and outside operations here at DSES. In addition to being a certified Alpine instructor and examiner she also has Adaptive and Nordic certifications. In her spare time she enjoys long distance running, teaching science classes at the elementary school and international travel with her family. Cara lives in an old house with her husband Dave and their children Jack and Tess.
Laurel Martin moved to Mammoth in 2006 and has been loving it ever since. Being a beach girl at heart rather than a snow bunny, she has helped to develop and expand our summer offerings and helped to create a year-round adaptive program. But she has also discovered a love for winter sports … skiing, dog-sledding, skijoring and camping. After growing up in suburban Connecticut, Laurel headed west to attend college at the University of California-Berkeley. After graduating with a degree in Environmental Sciences with an emphasis on Biological Sciences, she headed back east to spend some time with her family and boyfriend. Following some pretty extensive travel and temporary employment opportunities, she found her dream job. Working at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo as a Zoo Educator gave her the opportunity to educate and excite children about nature and the environment. Unfortunately her dream job did not include big mountains, something her other half quickly became addicted to, once he knew they were out there. So the time came for Laurel to pack her things and head west again. This time she landed in Mammoth where she happily divides her time between exploring, climbing, hiking, and spending time with her 40 best friends, the Mammoth Dog Teams sled dogs. Volunteering with Mammoth Dog Teams has allowed Laurel to still get to work with animals and see the difference they can make in peoples’ lives. Laurel is happy to be a part of the Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra team and excited to see what the future holds as this great organization grows.
Originally from the East Coast, Margaret Palchak grew up in Southern California and received a Bachelor of Science in Biology (with a concentration in Ecology and Environmental Biology) from the University of California at Irvine. During her university years, she spent summers working in Yosemite National Park, exploring the Sierra Nevada and cultivating a love of outdoors. Upon graduation she spent two years abroad, teaching Conversational English in Japan, traveling on the Trans-Siberian Express across the former Soviet Union. She then explored Turkey and Greece and finally settled in London, England. While in London she began pursuing her passion for photography. On returning to the U.S., Maggie moved to Mammoth Lakes to work as a biologist and feed her love of the outdoors. She became involved with DSES in December 2004 and volunteered for four seasons before joining the staff in February 2008. Margaret has PSIA Level 2 Nordic Downhill, Level 3 Adaptive and USSA Coach 100 certifications.
Ski School Director
Mark Spieler grew up as a typical Southern California kid in San Diego and Orange County. After a friend’s family took him skiing once he was hooked on the sport and the mountains. After graduating from SDSU with a BA degree in Applied and Physical Geography, he worked in Summit County, Colorado for one season and then moved to Mammoth Lakes, where he has resided ever since. Mark started with the Mammoth Mountain Ski School in 1986. A few years after obtaining his U.S. certifications he started supervising and training for the School. In the summer months he taught skiing and trained other Instructors at the Mt. Hutt, New Zealand and Blue Cow, Australia Ski Schools. His most recent position was Training Manager for the Mammoth Mountain Ski and Snowboard School, where he oversaw training for all of the school’s Ski and Snowboard Instructors. He holds PSIA (U.S.) Level 3 Alpine, Level 2 Snowboard, Level 2 Adaptive, NZSIA (New Zealand) Stage 2 and Coaches Level 1 Certifications. He is also an Alpine Examiner for the PSIA-W. Mark has now joined the DSES staff and is looking forward to sharing his knowledge of Skiing, Snowboarding and Teaching with all of the remarkable DSES Volunteers. He is also excited to expand his horizons into the area of Adaptive Snow Sports Instruction. Mark’s summers are now spent fishing in the Eastern Sierra, where he guides and teaches people how fly fish for the area’s beautiful varieties of Trout. Mark is married to Sandi Rowan, another long time Mammoth Ski Instructor and has two young daughters Kaylynn and Kendall.
Communications & Outreach Manager
Originally from Southern California, Katie Johnson moved north to work a few seasons in Yosemite's backcountry. After also trying out a year in the busy Bay Area, Katie moved back to the Sierra Nevada. She joined the DSES team in 2015 and loves being part of the DSES family and community of the Eastern Sierra. Katie has been involved with philanthropic community organizations in Southern California and has experience with non-profit administrative work. She lives happily with her husband and their dog near Mono Lake.
Amanda Carlson grew up on a farm in "the middle of nowhere", North Dakota. It was here that she nurtured her love of the outdoors, a wild imagination and an adoration for all living things. For the past 20 years Amanda has lived and worked in the Eastern Sierra. One of her career highlights include working with national and international television networks to tell the story of Mammoth Mountain. Amanda has raised three children in Mammoth Lakes, creating in them a love of community and outdoor adventure.
Guest Services Supervisor
Originally from Central California, Chelsea Goodwin moved east to Yosemite National Park in 2015 to pursue her passions. She has experience in administrative work for the Yosemite Mountaineering School and the Nordic Cross-Country Ski Center at the Badger Pass Ski Area. She then spent a year in New Zealand in 2018, obtaining a certificate in New Zealand Alpine Resort Operations from Cardrona Alpine Resort. She enjoys travelling, hiking, backpacking, paddle-boarding and ice skating in her off time, as well as spending time with her boyfriend and her dog, Mickey.
Originally from Anaheim Hills, CA, Emily Estremo has been skiing recreationally at Mammoth since she was about 5 years old. Emily graduated from California State University Fullerton in spring 2014 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in clinical exercise science and pre-allied health. She is working to apply to Master’s programs within the Occupational Therapy field. As a part of her graduation requirements, she took on the internship at DSES. “What a way to end college!” she exclaimed. Emily spent four years working at a children’s science museum in Southern California. “It really brought a love and need to teach children, but not in a classroom environment,” she said. “I have to be actively doing something and moving around, it is impossible for me to sit still for more than 20 minutes.” Emily loves the cold weather and said that being on a mountain is her paradise. Emily is a skier, but also recently started learning how to snowboard.
Born and raised on the California central coast, Ben Voss grew up with a love for the outdoors. Ben split his time between the ocean and the mountains where he cultivated a passion for sliding on water, both liquid and frozen. Becoming a certified ski instructor at Mammoth Mountain in 2008, he spent three seasons with the ski school and two winters coaching the All Mountain Chargers team. In 2006, Ben was diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disorder, Crohn's Disease. He has gone through various forms of autoimmune therapy and management plans since being diagnosed. His life experience with the ups and downs of managing a chronic health condition has brought him an appreciation for what it takes to overcome life challenges in order to pursue dreams and passion for an active lifestyle. Ben feels grateful to share with others the magical experiences of surfing, snowboarding and skiing through the Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra program.
Operations Lead - Instructor
Brendan Steinman is an Alpine Level 2 Instructor with PSIA. He comes to DSES with 8 years experience at the Mammoth Ski and Snowboard School. His good nature and passion for teaching recreational activities makes him a good fit for the DSES family. Having fun, teaching, learning and safety are his forte. You may even hear him singing in the halls or on the snow...
Barb came to the east side in 2016, and has been living in Bishop ever since. After growing up in New England, she moved to California in 2014. She first taught outdoor science in southern California, then began mountain guiding out of Bishop. In the winters, she started to ski again - she grew up skiing and snowboarding at small hills in New England. Barb first volunteered with DSES in 2017-18. After that first winter of volunteering, she was excited to join the staff the following season! Then after a summer of volunteering, she joined the summer staff in 2020. Barb brings with her a passion for working with people - teaching them skills, connecting with each individual as best as possible and having fun in an outdoor learning environment. She has her PSIA Level 2 Alpine and Level 1 Adaptive certifications. Along with loving most all things outdoor related activities, she also enjoys petting friendly dogs and puzzles.
Michael Salvatierra is a California native who decided to settle in June Lake, California. He started out as an intern with DSES in 2016 and joined the winter staff in 2018. A talented and creative athlete, Michael enjoys teaching both skiing and snowboarding, as well as mountain biking in the summer. His enthusiasm for keeping learning fun and getting others excited about outdoor sports makes each of his lessons unique and exciting. When he isn’t teaching, you might find him skiing, mountain biking, fishing or hanging out with his two cats. Michael is PSIA Level 1 certified in Alpine and Snowboard, as well as BICP certified in adaptive mountain biking.
Juliette Lee was born and raised in San Diego and learned to ski at a young age, although she simply tolerated the sport. In college, she spontaneously joined the Ski or Snowboard Club, which brought her to her senses as she finally fell in love with skiing. After graduating with a BA in Creative Writing, she went on to pursue her CA state teaching credential, but ended up putting it on hold in order to intern with DSES in 2019. She completed her internship as an Alpine Level 1 Instructor and went on to receive her English teaching credential. She is excited and grateful to be able to bridge her two passions at DSES.
Madison Sigmon is 21 years old and grew up in Los Angeles, CA. There, she has volunteered for Ride-On Therapeutic Center (horseback riding!), as well as working as a surf instructor. She has also worked for June Mountain in June Lake, CA for a season. Per her love of traveling, she has spent her time working in Australia and South East Asia for a year, as well as a winter season in Japan. In addition, she has spent her last year traveling around Mexico and Central America. In her off time, she enjoys surfing, snowboarding and traveling.
Second Chance Thrift Shop, Manager
Cai Lepre has managed Second Chance Thrift Shop since 2013. She was originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. She moved to Mammoth Lakes in 1982 and has called this home ever since. Professionally, she has worked in the music business, print and runway modeling, tourism, interior design, real estate and sales and marketing. Her hobbies are hiking, dancing, fishing and skiing. She’s involved with volunteering for many organizations in the Mammoth Lakes community. Her son, Jesse, was born in Mammoth Hospital in 1986 and her daughter, Kalyn, was born in 1988. She raised both her children in Mammoth Lakes. She brings both her personal and professional experience to Second Chance Thrift Shop.