John is a lifelong wilderness educator, program director, skier, climber and biker. John directed the University of Vermont Outdoor Programs and advised the UVM Ski & Snowboard Club for more than two decades. As a lecturer in the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Program, John taught a Wilderness Education and Leadership course where Ryan was enrolled as a student. Given Ryan’s accomplishments as a rising big mountain ski athlete, John was impressed by his humble nature, willingness to help others and joy for being outdoors. After Ryan’s passing, John & Peter became friends when the Flyin’ Ryan Hawks Foundation was launched. Many of the early Adventure Scholars were UVM students – and the mission of FRHF was spread annually during screenings of the Banff and Telluride film festivals.

The Town Administrator in his community of Jericho, John explores the mountains of Vermont on bikes and skis with his wife Katy and teenage kids, Cally and Hazen. The children are nationally ranked freeskiers who train and compete for the Smugglers Notch Ski & Snowboard Club, where John is a U-12 coach. Like many Vermont kids, Ryan’s achievements as a big mountain freeskier, and outstanding human being, inspired their dream of competing on the Freeride World Tour.