AKA “The Bear”
Juris Ojars Krisjansons was born in Riga, Latvia on May 8, 1936. During the Stalin invasion his family was forced out of their homeland, taking refuge near the Swiss/German border until WWII was over. They were able to immigrate to the United States when Juris was age 12, settling in Cleveland, OH. Juris attended school, learned English and graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering in 1958.
While traveling out west he discovered his passion for climbing and skiing eventually landing a ski patrol job at Squaw Valley ski area where he learned about their avalanche program. When he heard of a new ski resort being built in Jackson Hole, Wyoming he applied for and was hired on as ski patrol/forest service ranger at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Juris was responsible for determining and mapping the avalanche terrain within the new resort, designing the avalanche control program and establishing weather stations for gathering snow and weather data used to forecast avalanche danger for the ski patrol and other agencies. Juris travelled for the forest service teaching highway departments and ski areas in use of the large military guns for avalanche mitigation.
Retiring from the forest service in 1971 he moved to Alberta, Canada, where started a commercial stock ranch and worked as a lead guide for Mike Wiegele Heli-Skiing. Juris was a master of terrain management while guiding skiers and climbers. Juris’s life was taken by prostate cancer on April 19, 1998 leaving behind his wife, Margo, three daughters and three sons.