Hello! Susan Purvis here, chiming in from Whitefish, Montana. Welcome to my website.

A little bit about me

“As an outdoor aficionado, author, educator, & world traveler, I’m here to motivate, educate, and inspire you to live your best life. I’ve worked at the hottest, coldest, and highest places on the planet. I’ve lived with indigenous cultures in the Amazon, Nepal, Africa, and Mexico. I’ve traveled by foot, bike, skis, camel, Cessna, and dugout canoe to capture stories of the human spirit. As a storyteller, I have created a broad oeuvre of work across the many cultures of our globe. In 2024, and with the assistance of  The Explorers Club and Darwin200, I sailed on the Oosterschelde, a 50-meter schooner built in 1917 from Uruguay to the Las Malvinas.”

“Currently, I live in the small ski resort town of Whitefish, Montana. The best part of living in NW Montana is the amazing community of authors, screenplay writers, and creative talent. I’m a life-long learner and continue to challenge myself either on the page, in the mountains, or with my writing clients. The proximity to Glacier National Park and rafting on its cold clear waterways is just another plus to the life here.”

— Susan

Susan is a Maverick

Often called a Maverick, Susan paved a not-so-easy, yet successful career, in the male-dominated outdoors for 40 years, shuffling between business owner, scientist, author, K9 search and rescue dog handler, wilderness medicine, and avalanche specialist.

Her outdoor education company, Crested Butte Outdoors International captured the attention of The Oprah Show, the US Secret Service, the FBI, and the Navy Seals. Her exploits put her in Smithsonian, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on CNN. She appeared on the science documentary, The Hottest Place on Earth on the BBC and Discovery. She consulted for National Geographic Channel, truTV, and in 2013 embarked on an epic 45-day expedition to Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.

An acclaimed author, and renowned educator, Susan is an entertaining keynote with over 25 years of public speaking experience. Whether it’s an intimate gathering with men who protect the president, a national outdoor trade show, or the private setting at one of the Turner Ranches, Susan has spoken to over 10,000 individuals from CEO’s and corporate investors, and on the international stage. Susan connects with the audience keeping them listening, laughing, and learning. Her speaking topics include motivation/inspiration, travel, health and wellness, avalanche, and wilderness medicine education to K9 search and rescue.

Susan Purvis at her lake home in montana
susan-purvis-paddle-boarding-montana<br />

Susan Purvis rafting in Glacier National Park.

With a passion for mentoring women and men in outdoor risk, Susan is matter of fact, direct with a soft leadership tone in her teaching style.

In 2003, Susan and Tasha, her search and rescue canine, were honored by the US House of Representative, receiving Congressional Recognition for their “unselfish neighbor-helping-neighbor,” an acknowledgment of their heroic avalanche rescues in the high country of Colorado.

In 2018, Susan launched her best-selling memoir, Go Find: My Journey to Find the Lost—And Myself. A tale of a woman, against all odds, finding her purpose and passion and never looking back.

Susan Purvis is a Lead Instructor with Wilderness Medical Associates and the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). She is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association (AAA), the Explorers Club, Wilderness Medical Society, and ex-Mountain Rescue Association member.

Sherpas were dying. I had to do something.

After I heard about a deadly avalanche that buried three toddlers across the street from my condo, I traded my rock hammer for a pair of skis and a puppy named Tasha to save lives on the most avalanche-prone slopes in the US.

The confidence I gained as a volunteer search and rescue K9 handler, team leader, and wilderness medicine specialist gave me the courage to educate others. In 1998, I founded Crested Butte Outdoors and began teaching others about medicine and avalanche safety.

Giving back

In 2005, I started a high-altitude medical course for the untrained and invisible local guides risking their lives on Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Everest. Over the decade, many of them have become international mountain guides. Others went on to form the Mount Everest Rescue Team. In honor of my beloved search dog Tasha, I wrote our story. Go Find: My Journey to Find the Lost—and Myself became an award-winning and bestselling memoir. I debuted Go Find at Book Expo America held in New York City. You’ll hear my voice telling Tasha our story if you listen to the audio version of my book.


Receiving congressional recognition for my search and rescue volunteer service.

I’m grateful beyond words to have received Congressional recognition for my commitment to search and rescue volunteer service. It’s crucial to shed light on the fact that search and rescue is often carried out by dedicated volunteers. The countless hours and personal investment in training, particularly deploying a K9 companion, are the unsung heroes behind every successful mission.

I personally funded our training, recognizing the importance of being reliable and proficient in our life-saving efforts. This Congressional Record is not just an acknowledgment of my work; it’s a salute to all the incredible canine teams out there, tirelessly contributing to making the world a safer place.

Together, we face the challenges of finding those lost in the wilderness, trapped in avalanches, submerged in water, or victims of crime. This recognition is a tribute to every paw and person dedicated to this noble cause. Thank you for the honor, and here’s to the countless more lives search and rescue teams aim to save!


Are you interested in working with Susan?

From helping you write your book, to speaking at your event, or teaching you wilderness medicine, Susan is looking forward to hearing from you! To learn more about her courses in Avalanche and Wilderness Medicine Education, please visit CB Outdoors.

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