Jerry Nunn (deceased)
Year Inducted: 2003
Born: March 12, 1922 Oakland, CA
Died: August 20, 2009 Flagstaff, AZ
Jerry Nunn was an outstanding pioneer ski patroller and the first woman U.S. Forest Service Snow Ranger. She was assisting the Soda Spring's ski area’s regular emergency physician, Dr. Ralph Reynolds, in the Ski Patrol room at age 18 and in fact was invited to join the ski patrol at that time making her one of the youngest patrollers in the country. By 1944 she joined the National Ski Patrol. In 1949, she joined the Ski Patrol at Sugar Bowl and in 1954 applied for the patrol at Squaw Valley, where she was only accepted after completing several intensely physical demonstrations which other patrol recruits didn’t have to perform.
In 1957, she applied for the Intermountain Forest Service Snow Ranger certification course in Utah: the Forest Service had no idea that “Jerry” was female. When the Supervisor Felix Koziol said they didn't take women, Jerry replied, "You already have." She then aced the course to become the first accredited woman Forest Service Snow Ranger.
As the only woman certified Snow Ranger in the Far West, Nunn instructed many avalanche courses to all-male classes. In 1959, she was picked as one of 90 patrollers for the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympic Ski Patrol.
In 1966, Jerry partnered with Monty Atwater to market and develop the Avalauncher, a gas-powered gun capable of shooting four-pound canisters of explosives a mile to set off avalanches before they came down on skiers. She went on the road demonstrating the Avalauncher, carrying explosives in the back of her car. Finally after a lot of hard work and dedication the Avalauncher became successful. She contributed to the success of a tool that has become a standard component for avalanche control in the United States.
In 2006 she received the Carson White Award from the North American Ski Journalists Association and in March 2007 was honored with the Award of Merit from the American Avalanche Association.
(The Hall of Fame appreciates the assistance received from Dr. Getchen Besser in preparing this biography.)