The Splitty Guiding Fund: Rick Gaukel Splitboard Scholarship

When splitboarder Rick Gaukel and four friends were killed in an avalanche on Loveland Pass, Colo. on April 20, 2013, he had recently completed a 12-day ski-guide course with the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). Splitboarding was his preferred method of backcountry travel, and he was an advocate for getting it accepted by the AMGA.


Rick Gaukel splitboarding during a day of guide’s training in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah. [Photo] Mike Alkaitis

Carrying on this vision, Jonna Book-Gaukel, his widow, with help from her friend Natasha Shipman, set up The Friends of Rick Gaukel Everywhere (F.O.R.G.E) scholarship. The annual fund will pay the complete tuition for a splitboarder’s AMGA ski course and exam.

Raised in Santa Cruz, Calif., Gaukel was fascinated with board sports—wakeboarding, skateboarding and snowboarding, to name a few—since he was a child. Gaukel studied outdoor education at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina and was a director of the adventure program at Oliverian High School in Haverhill, New Hampshire where he took inner-city youth on snowboarding and backpacking trips. He was a certified Single Pitch Instructor and apprentice rock and ski guide. “He was genuinely kind, wicked talented and full of laughter—a real pleasure to be around. Ugh. I miss him,” said friend and fellow Colorado Mountain School guide Luke Terstriep.

So far, the F.O.R.G.E. fund has raised $5,170 with a goal of $14,200. The fundraiser closes on December 15.

To find out more and donate, visit or

Related posts:


  1. Ben Rollo says:

    I was an Oliverian Student and hearing the stories about Rick. What he did, who he was, it was all amazing. several of the people at Oliverian had photos of him on their desks, he was prolific.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.