Avalanche Canada 2016 Annual Report

Page 1

2015-16 Annual Report A Year of Collaboration


02 Message from the President 03 Message from the Executive Director 04 Communications Delivering the Message Social Media

08 Our Community Conferences Project Partnerships Service Award

12 Public Avalanche Warning Service Mountain Information Network Weather Stations Field Teams Research

22 Education and Outreach Avalanche Canada Training Programs Youth Programs Avalanche Ambassadors Snowmobile Outreach

32 Avalanche Fatalities 34 Financial Summary 36 Funding Partners 40 Our People 41 Avalanche Canada Foundation Annual Report Message from the President Grants and Awards Financial Summary Supporters and Sponsors

Image: Troy Grant

Vision To eliminate avalanche fatalities and injuries in Canada.

Mission To minimize public risk in avalanche terrain by providing leadership, development, communication, coordination and delivery of public avalanche safety education, warnings, products and services.

Values • We are committed to awareness, training and safety for the general public and for all who travel in avalanche terrain. • We are an inclusive and diverse organization that provides services to all winter recreation activity participants. • We strive to ensure that all programs, services and materials are based on accurate research and evidence. • We engage in strategic relationships and alliances to further the reach of our programs and messages. • We investigate to understand all factors that contribute to human incidents in avalanche terrain and support that investigation by encouraging research. • We inspire people to safely enjoy recreation and travel in the winter backcountry environment. • We value our staff and community’s collective strength, energy and leadership. • We create a fun, healthy, professional and sustainable workplace, and provide our staff with opportunities to grow and thrive. Cover Image: Tim Grey shot this great photo of our Avalanche Ambassador Nadine Overwater as she catches some air on Turtle Mountain, near her hometown of Revelstoke, BC.

• We anticipate and respond to challenges and changes with creativity, collaboration, courage and bold enthusiasm.


A Message from the President Our vision is to eliminate avalanche fatalities and injuries in Canada and we strive to accomplish this by developing and delivering public avalanche safety programs and services to minimize risk. This goal is immensely difficult and some would argue impossible to achieve. But I ask you, is a winter without a single avalanche fatality really so difficult to imagine? For starters, I accept that we would need luck. There is always some level of unknowable, objective hazard to being in the mountains—being in the wrong place at the wrong time sometimes can't be avoided. But if you take luck out of the equation, you are left with accidents that could have been avoided or lessened through better decision making. To make better decisions, you need information and tools; you need skills, training and practice to ingrain consistent behaviours and habits that increase the odds of success. Helping people make better choices and establish better behaviours is a big problem and one Avalanche Canada is striving to solve. We’ve taken a hard look at the products and services we offer and set an ongoing strategic plan with the ultimate goal of reaching 100% of winter backcountry users 100% of the time. We will do this through creating new and innovative tools as well as refreshing our existing ones. We are updating and modernizing our AST materials with the help of our strong community of instructors, and exploring better ways of delivering these courses to a wider audience.

We've also made a commitment to find ways to effectively reach out to "the unawares;" people who venture into the winter mountains with no concept of avalanche danger. On the governance side, one area in which we have not made progress is developing diversity within our board of directors. When I joined six years ago, we were a "working" board and needed to stay actively involved in real-time operational and technical developments. We relied heavily on the volunteer contributions of professionals from the industry and the board largely reflected that demographic. Now we are farther along in our journey towards being truly a public-facing organization and we have evolved into a "governance" board. Our board makeup should reflect the community, allowing allow us to benefit from a diversity of perspectives, skills and experiences. Change does not happen overnight but by our next AGM and election in 2017, I expect that we will have already made important steps forward in this regard. So, if you think you can bring positive change and diversity to our board, in addition to a great attitude, a strong work ethic, a passion for mountains and perhaps a few skills, I would like to hear from you. I hope you all have a wonderful and safe winter.

Kevin Seel, President

Image: Raven Eye Photography

A Message from the Executive Director Another busy year behind us, a new season about to start and I have to find a way to fit it all in 400 words! The season began with a big move to a new office building. Our Revelstoke staff had been split and working at two different locations for the past three years. Although this arrangement was originally a temporary measure it took a while to find a suitable space to house all of us and our equipment. We are open to the public so come for a visit if you are in Revelstoke. Something else that took a long time to find was a second IT person who could meet the demand of our busy office. Two years ago we had one-part time IT staff. Now we have two full-time IT staff and they still can’t keep up with all the IT-related projects planned or on the go. We keep adding to our repertoire of products and services, which are mostly IT driven. Last year we launched the detailed observation component of our MIN and started the development of the Hot Zone Report which we will be running as a pilot project this season (more in this report). Last winter started off well but quickly turned into one of the worst winters of the past few years, in terms of avalanche fatalities. A total of 17 people lost their lives in avalanches in Canada. As we reflect on this let’s see if we can turn this around and have one of the best winters ever! Although AvCan has been adding new products and services on a continuous basis, we know it’s not enough. The public wants and needs more, winter backcountry usage continues to rise, people venture into new regions that are still under-served and unfortunately avalanche fatalities are too common. Having said all this, our funding is not sufficient and is in fact on a decreasing trend. We have invested heavily in our fundraising capabilities but adequate, sustainable funding remains elusive. We continue to be hopeful and are constantly pursuing funding options to meet the needs and fulfill our mandate. There have been significant accomplishments on the research front. Simon Fraser University established the new Chair in Avalanche Risk Management that is headed by the well-known and respected Pascal Haegeli. Additionally our own James Floyer was appointed Adjunct Faculty at Simon Fraser University’s School of Resource and Environment Management. I cannot end this report without mentioning the amazing AvCan staff who are hard-working, dedicated, continuously rise to the challenge and make this a great place to work.

Gilles Valade, Executive Director 3


Delivering the Message At Avalanche Canada, our communications strategies are always evolving but our purpose remains the same— to promote avalanche safety and share information that can save lives. We are continually seeking methods and tools to reach new users and improve the effectiveness of knowledge transfer with our established audiences. We also play an important role as a central point-ofcontact for agencies, organizations and individuals seeking to collaborate or just needing clarification on avalanches or snow science. Avalanche Canada is always a reliable source of information and we are happy to share our experience with the many people invested in public avalanche safety. As you’ll see in the pages of this report, this collaboration extends across borders, across different levels of government, and to the full spectrum of winter backcountry users. We are fortunate in Canada to have centralized and coordinated public avalanche safety services. Avalanche Canada works very closely with the other major forecasting agencies, Parks Canada and Kananaskis Country, and these long-standing partnerships have added significantly to public safety. Through a standardized approach, forecasts for all regions served by our three agencies look and read the same, making it much easier for the user to find and understand the information being offered. Communications is at the heart of everything we do and we work to ensure that our messages are integrated effectively with all our partners and stakeholders. We are fully invested in coordinating our communication and believe strongly that these efforts will result in improved public safety.

Forecaster Shannon Werner surveys the remains of a big, wet slide at Coal Creek Pass, near Fernie, BC. Image: Raven Eye Photography

Annual General Meeting 2015 Our AGM was held on October 31, at Spruce Meadows, in conjunction with the Calgary Snow Show, where we had a booth and staff members providing presentations throughout the weekend. Holding our AGM in the fall and combined with a public outreach event has been a long-term goal that we were very pleased to accomplish. At the AGM we took the opportunity to honour Dan Markham, who stepped down after serving on the board for many years.



Social Media Social media is an essential tool for sharing information about avalanche safety and our dedicated social media coordinator keeps our content fresh and engaging. We also use these channels regularly to support initiatives such as encouraging use on the Mountain Information Network and our membership drive. Our South Rockies field team has its own Instagram account where short, informative and highly popular videos are posted—one had over 10,500 views. We also have a youth-focused Instagram account where we run a photo contest for backcountry users under 25, showing images of avalanche awareness, training and backcountry planning. Winners received a shovel, probe and transceiver from Backcountry Access.

@avalanchecanada @avcansouthrockies @behind_theelines

2016: 2,178 followers

2015: 812 followers


2016: 6,263 followers

2015: 5,276 followers

avalanchecanada AC.Behindthelines

2016: 16,350 likes

2015: 12,778 likes


Avalanche.ca Visitors using mobile devices accounted for 285,276 sessions. Over 35% of our website viewers are using mobile devices. Our app avalanche.ca mobile downloaded over 12,400 times. 889,319 unique visitors.

Used over 67,400 sessions, up 54% from last year.

1,039,325 page views. Image: Jonathan Reich

Reaching the Unaware We are increasingly concerned about the growing number of winter backcountry users who are unaware and unprepared for avalanche terrain. These users can unknowingly expose themselves to avalanche risk, which has resulted in fatalities over the past few years. Avalanche Canada is leading a small group of stakeholders to develop a coordinated and proactive strategy to broaden the reach of our awareness messages. At this point our strategy is focusing on snowshoers. While unaware users can also include skiers/boarders leaving a resort boundary, there are tactics specific to ski areas for that particular group. The main challenge is to find an effective means of reaching a very diverse group. We are working with our stakeholder group to develop innovative and creative ways of distributing our safety messages. Watch for more on this strategy in the coming year.

Stakeholder News Four times a year, we send out an e-newsletter to more than 1500 people with updates on our activities and previews on our projects. Stakeholder News goes out to members, partners, sponsors and donors to both Avalanche Canada and the Avalanche Canada Foundation. This newsletter has proven to be an invaluable method of communicating with our wide array of stakeholders in public avalanche safety.

Stakeholder News

Image: Ian Coble


Our Community

Conferences Avalanche Canada participates in a number of conferences each year in support of public avalanche safety. This year, we had the opportunity to share our work and collaborate with other agencies at the following conferences: International Commission for Alpine Rescue October 13 – 17, 2015 Killarney, Ireland Public Warning Service Manager Karl Klassen attended this annual conference, where he represented Canada on a prevention working group. ICAR has 87 member organizations from 35 countries and is the world’s leading agency on mountain rescue. Outdoor Retailer Show Jan 6 – 10, 2016 Salt Lake City, UT While not exactly a conference, this massive annual event brings together hundreds of gear and clothing manufacturers, many of whom are interested in helping support public avalanche safety in Canada. Gilles Valade attended and made some valuable connections and new sponsorships. British Columbia Snowmobile Federation Annual General Meeting April 2, 2016 Pemberton, BC Snowmobile Coordinator Brent Strand attended and was part of a panel discussion on how clubs can better help promote and support avalanche awareness and education. Canadian Avalanche Association Annual Conference May 4 - 8, 2016 Penticton, BC Avalanche Canada’s forecasting staff regularly attend this annual gathering of Canada’s avalanche industry professionals. This year, three of our staff gave reports during the case studies and research presentation sessions. International Snowmobile Congress June 9 – 11, 2016 Rapid City, South Dakota Gilles Valade, and Brent Strand attended this conference, along with some 350 representatives from snowmobiling organizations and manufacturers from around the world. The ISC is dedicated to promoting safe and responsible snowmobiling, by providing a communication forum and a means of addressing common issues. National Search & Rescue Secretariat—SAR Incident Prevention Working Group June 16 – 18, 2016 Ottawa, ON Avalanche Canada participates in this national working group, which is aligned with the SAR incident prevention strategy. Gilles Valade attended one of two face-to-face meetings held annually. HeliCat Canada Annual General Meeting Sept 30 – Oct 1, 2016 Revelstoke, BC Avalanche Canada is an affiliate member of this organization that represents heli- and cat-skiing operations in Canada. Gilles Valade attended this annual meeting.

Avalanche Québec Avalanche Québec is based in the Chic-Choc Mountains of Québec’s Gaspé Peninsula and produces a bilingual avalanche forecast for that region every two days throughout the winter. A non-profit organization, its mission is to improve avalanche safety in Québec through public education, professional training, avalanche bulletins and supporting research. Our long-standing relationship with Avalanche Québec allows us to collaborate on various initiatives. A portion of the funding we receive from the federal government, through the Meteorological Service of Canada, is earmarked for Québec. We encourage training opportunities for forecasting staff, who have taken part in our forecasters’ training and also come to the spring meeting of Canadian avalanche professionals. Avalanche Québec was established in 1999 and has had a significant impact in improving backcountry safety in that province. Each winter, some 10,000 backcountry travelers use their programs to plan their trips in the Chic-Chocs, and Avalanche Québec has been identified as an important component of the growing tourism market in that region. Unfortunately, its funding is very precarious and in the spring of 2016, Director Dominic Boucher announced that Avalanche Québec would be closing on June 30. However, a last-minute effort by a number of financial partners ensured the minimum budget necessary to allow the centre to operate for the 2016-17 season.

Image: Dominic Boucher


Our Community

Project Partnerships Know Before You Go

Multi-Agency Messages

“Know Before You Go” is a terrific new avalanche safety video and instructor resource, aimed at high school students. Led by our friends at the Utah Avalanche Center, the video pulls in voices and education from across western North America. The project also included an excellent PowerPoint slide show to help instructors deliver the lessons. This was a great collaborative effort and we welcome the opportunity to help create standardized messaging across borders.

Historically, March is the worst month for avalanche fatalities. This year, in addition to the usual snowpack issues we see with the first warming, we also had the human-factor element of an Easter long weekend. Our partners at Emergency Management BC helped spread a backcountry safety message with a social media campaign leading up to and over the holiday long weekend. We also collaborated with Parks Canada and Kananaskis Country on issuing a multi-agency Special Public Avalanche Warning over the Easter weekend that covered much of the Rocky Mountains and the Purcells. We truly appreciate the combined efforts of our friends and partners!

End of Toll-Free Number Over the past couple of years our 1-800 number saw very little use, so we’ve been phasing it out by telling callers to check our website. In 2015-16, we cancelled the toll-free number, which meant that we had to change some communication products. The most significant change was to a series of highway signs developed in partnership with BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI). Thanks again to MoTI, these highway signs are now updated, and the toll-free number has been replaced with a message to get our app.

Backcountry Ascender We were pleased to work with software developer Chris Mayer on this online project aimed at backcountry safety for snowmobilers. This is a cross-border collaborative effort with US and Canadian input into the material. Backcountry Ascender is a free, fun and engaging site where users learn, compete and win as they improve their backcountry skills, knowledge and experience. www.backcountryascender.com

Billboard Thanks to funding from the Alberta Snowmobile Association and the Sandman Hotel Group we were able to again have a billboard on the westbound Yellowhead Highway outside of Hinton, AB. Our aim is to attract attention from snowmobilers heading into the North Rockies from Alberta and Saskatchewan. The billboard features our Avalanche Ambassador Nadine Overwater and was in place for the entire winter season.

Service Award Avalanche Canada is proud to continue a long tradition of recognizing individuals or organizations demonstrating a commitment to public avalanche safety in Canada. Avalanche Canada’s annual service award for 2015 went to Environment Canada Meteorologist David Jones. David and his team are responsible for the mountain weather forecast, the second-most visited pate on our website (after our avalanche forecasts) and without a doubt the best, most comprehensive source of publically available weather information in Canada. We are proud to host this amazing tool and we were very pleased to honour David for his role in this initiative.

Image: Ryan Buhler


Public Avalanche Warning Servicea

Mountain Information Network What’s the MIN? Mountain Information Network (MIN) is a data sharing platform that allows backcountry users to submit real-time observations. These are then geotagged and displayed on an interactive map on our homepage at avalanche.ca MIN for 2015 – 2016: 1309 submissions 1221 quick reports 122 avalanche reports 132 snowpack reports 122 weather reports 34 incident reports 1100 + photos

In January, we released an updated version of our Mountain Information network, adding four new reporting options to the existing Quick Report option. These new reports target advanced recreationists and allow submission of detailed avalanche, snowpack, weather and incident reports. Users can choose what they want to submit; there is no requirement to fill in all the options. A report can be as simple as a short line of text, or a detailed avalanche report with supporting weather and snowpack observations. The MIN has become an integral part of our forecasters’ workflow, supplying information to fill in data gaps, especially in data-sparse regions. With the map-based posts, the forecasters can immediately put the observations into context within our forecast regions. As many of our regions are massive, one of our challenges is interpreting variability across the terrain. User-submitted observations help our forecasters better understand how the conditions vary across a region, adding valuable information to their analysis.

"I think that the MIN is a great asset and lets me get a better idea of what's going on out there and helps me along my decision making process."

"As part of the South Cariboo Search and Rescue and Mica Mt Riders, I'm very excited about the MIN and hope we can get lots of users on board!"

Weather Stations In December, Forecaster Ryan Buhler delivered and installed a remote weather station in Kakwa Provincial Park of the North Rockies region. Weather stations provide valuable information to the public and our forecasters, and we are working to get more of them installed in data-sparse areas where information is scarce. Users and forecasters access real-time data from these stations online. By providing this service we hope to encourage use of the Mountain Information Network where people can add their own weather information to that provided by the weather stations. Weather stations require a level of commitment from local communities, who help us with installation, maintenance and storage at the end of the season. Thanks to the Swan City Snowmobile Club of Grande Prairie, AB for their help and hospitality during the Kakwa installation.

MIN Contests Over the winter, we chose two winners each week from our MIN subscribers. One was a random selection and the other was “Forecaster’s Choice.” We announced the winners on our Facebook page, where our forecasters also shared why they chose a particular submission Contest winners were awarded prizes from our sponsors OR, Marmot, BCA, Arc’teryx and G3.

Image: Ryan Buhler 13

Public Avalanche Warning Service

Field Teams Yukon Since 2011, Avalanche Canada has partnered with the Yukon Avalanche Association (YAA) to provide a twiceweekly avalanche forecast for backcountry users in the Klondike region. This year the program got a late start due to limited funding and the forecasts didn’t begin until March 2 and ended April 21. Funding and in-kind support came from the Government of Yukon and significant in-kind support from local businesses. The non-profit YAA raises funds to allow AvCan to hire a two-person field team to gather local data and do outreach, which this year included an Avalanche Awareness Days event in Whitehorse and a field day at Log Cabin Mountain. Team members also share their knowledge regularly with backcountry users at trailheads and parking lots in popular recreational areas. The team focuses on our Mountain Information Network (MIN) and after each field day, their observations were posted to the MIN. This information was linked to the Yukon Backcountry Snow Sharing Network on Facebook. The team also published frequent blogs on Avalanche Canada, YAA websites and social media channels.

Yukon field team members Diana Saly and Matt Holmes heading out for their workday in the Klondike region. Image: Ryan Buhler


Public Avalanche Warning Service

Field Teams South Rockies Based in Fernie, our threeperson South Rockies field team travels throughout the region to gather weather, snowpack and avalanche observation data. This information and insight helps provide Avalanche Canada forecasters issue daily South Rockies forecasts. The South Rockies field team are very visible in their local area, providing outreach events throughout the season. This year the team hosted a successful Backcountry Avalanche Workshop in Fernie and delivered pre-winter avalanche education programming to schools in the area. A first for this year, the team hosted a youth AST course at Fernie Alpine Resort and a youth Companion Rescue Skills course over March break. A technical exchange also took place this winter at Waterton National Park. Our team participated in an avalanche rescue skill building day with Parks Canada staff. These exchanges are a great way to learn about each other’s operations, build relationships in the industry and exchange ideas. Through their field work, our South Rockies team meets with a significant number of backcountry skiers and snowmobilers, allowing for face-to-face discussions on avalanche conditions, safety and the Mountain Information Network. The South Rockies Field Team would not be possible without the generous funding from Teck.

“I think the South Rockies Field Team are an incredible resource for Avalanche Canada and for the communities in our region. They are extremely competent, skilled and clearly very passionate about the work. Work from which we all benefit.” Nic Milligan, Manager Community & Governmental Affairs at Teck Coal

New Enclosed Trailer Thanks to funding from Fernie’s Resort Municipality Initiative, we were able to purchase an enclosed trailer for our South Rockies field team this year. This trailer saves the team valuable time while loading, unloading and securing their snowmobiles. Also a big thanks to Superclamp for outfitting the interior with safety and security accessories.

South Rockies team member Martina Halik loading up after a day in the field. Image: Reven Eye Photography 17

Public Avalanche Warning Service

South Rockies Field Trip In February our South Rockies field team, along with Executive Director Gilles Valade and Chief Development Officer Dale Bayley, hosted a small group of longstanding sponsors on a two-day field trip. The goal of the trip was to provide an intimate look at the work that goes on in the field. The group spent some time in the field with our team to get a first-hand look at their activities, and visited Fernie Alpine Resort (FAR) where the head forecaster demonstrated how their team protects visitors and how FAR and AvCan work together and share information. The group also spent some time in indoor sessions learning about AvCan’s operations and activities in the South Rockies.

University Partnership In December 2015, Simon Fraser University announced Dr Pascal Haegeli as the new Research Chair in Avalanche Risk Management. Both Avalanche Canada and the Avalanche Canada Foundation are proud partners and happy to be contributing financial support for SFU’s Avalanche Research Program (SARP). And in March 2016, Avalanche Canada’s Forecasting Program Supervisor James Floyer was named an Adjunct Professor at SFU, where James will work closely with Pascal.

Thanks to Fernie Wilderness Adventures, the team was able to access some of the South Rockies alpine terrain. Image: Damon Oakey

SARP’s research portfolio has been heavily influenced by directions suggested by Avalanche Canada. This includes an initiative to be able to rate terrain using remote-sensed images, proposed enhancements to the snow profile model chain, and an investigation into how component problems of the avalanche hazard integrate to give us a danger rating.


Public Avalanche Warning Service

Research Avalanche Canada understands the importance of keeping pace with the latest research when considering ways to reduce avalanche accidents involving people. We are well positioned to play three research-related roles. The first is an advisory role where we help focus the efforts of dedicated research groups and government agencies on topics that carry the biggest potential for harm reduction. The second is to act in a technology transfer capacity, helping to operationalize research initiatives that have demonstrated sufficient effectiveness to warrant a move into more widespread use. The third is to monitor the efficacy of our programs to ensure we deliver the best possible service to the winter recreational community. Computer modelling Last year, Avalanche Canada took over hosting and development of a pair of snow cover models that came out of the Applied Snow Avalanche Research group (ASARC) at the University of Calgary. The surface hoar model is integrated into the CAA’s InfoEx platform and will run again this season in the same way as last season. The snow profile model will run at an increased number of locations this winter and will be used operationally to support the new Hot Zone Report initiative.

Partnership with Environment Canada We have fostered a very close relationship with the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) Pacific Storm Prediction Centre, which has resulted in significant improvements to the Mountain Weather Forecast. We are excited to begin a new partnership with the MSC National Laboratory, with a project that will focus on developing experimental weather products that could be used by Avalanche Canada to support avalanche forecasting.

MIN report analysis Avalanche Forecaster Ryan Buhler undertook an investigation into trends of reported conditions on the Mountain Information Network. Among the interesting results are an indication that users underestimate the danger of riding in sparse trees, and that users may not appreciate the kind of terrain to best avoid during periods of rising temperature and/ or sunshine. These results may help inform elements of avalanche training, and could help improve the questions asked on the MIN report forms.

InfoEx Since 2004, when Canada’s national public avalanche safety organization was established, our forecasters have relied on the professional information exchange known as InfoEx as our primary source of data. InfoEx is a subscription service for professional avalanche operations in Canada that allows a daily online exchange of snow, weather and avalanche observations. As a subscriber, Avalanche Canada accesses this reliable stream of high-quality data, which then informs our understanding of the ever-changing snowpack across the vast and remote mountainous regions of western Canada. InfoEx has been administered by the Canadian Avalanche Association every winter since 1991. The InfoEx system, and its subscribers who provide their data on a daily basis, play an integral role in public avalanche safety.

South Rockies field team members Jen Coulter and Stephanie Lemieux collecting field data for use in the South Rockies forecast. Image: Raven Eye Photography


Education and Outreach

Avalanche Canada Training Programs With 8550 students, this year was our most successful year ever in terms of student participation. Once again the AST 1 course is the most subscribed with over 7400 students, an 18% increase over last year. Traditionally, the AST 2 course comes in around 10% of the AST 1 numbers and this proved true again with 780 students taking AST 2, an increase of 16% over last year. We were hoping to increase numbers in Companion Rescue Skills (CRS), which we see as an excellent entry into the avalanche training realm and also a great re-training or upgrading opportunity. At 346 the number of students taking this course is lower than hoped but still a 26% increase over last year. In our youth courses the numbers almost doubled from last year and there was also a 46% increase in snowmobilers taking training. However, those gains are only in the AST 1 program with 1191 sledders taking this introductory course. Only 31 took an AST 2 and a disappointing 19 took a CRS. Snowmobilers represent less than 15% of the total student enrolment and we continue to focus our efforts on encouraging training for this sector. There are 168 licensed AST providers delivering courses in BC, Alberta, Yukon, Quebec, Nunavut, Australia, Japan, Chile and Norway. AST 1 TEACHES THE BASIC FUNDAMENTALS OF AVALANCHES, TRAVELING IN AVALANCHE TERRAIN AND COMPANION RESCUE.



AST 1 Course Participants

AST 2 Course Participants

CRS Course Participants
















Presented by










AST Curriculum Update Over the summer of 2015 we undertook a comprehensive update of the AST 1 curriculum. The objectives of the update were reached after a survey of over 300 AST instructors, asking them to identify the top five subjects that we should focus on. The vast majority of the respondents all agreed on the same learning outcomes, which this update has now implemented. The new curriculum helps instructors focus on the essentials of this introductory course and helps them communicate a clear progression in the material. A DVD with supporting images was also updated. Many thanks to the AST providers and instructors who contributed their thoughts to this process and submitted images for the shared resource.

Image: Marty Schaffer


Education and Outreach

Special Funding

Over the past two years, funding from the Columbia Basin Trust has helped us deliver a variety of youth programs within the Columbia Basin. This year, we reached over 3820 students from grades K-12 in 26 different communities, visiting over 36 schools. This funding also allowed us to give a number of youth-focused subsidized courses. The details on those courses are in the program highlights to the right.

The RBC Foundation contributed $10 000 for the second season in a row, which provided backcountry awareness outreach in Northern Alberta and Okanagan schools. In Alberta, over 700 students were reached with snowmobile-specific material in Hinton, Edson, Grande Prairie and Grande Cache. In the Okanagan, we presented to schools in Salmon Arm, Enderby and Falkland, seeing over 400 students.

Alberta Safe Riders Since 2013 Avalanche Canada has been contributing to the Safe Riders Program, presented by the Alberta Snowmobile Association in conjunction with the Alberta Government. Safe Riders is a program delivered to students K – 12 to promote responsible off-highway vehicle use. While avalanche safety is only a component of the one-hour presentation, we feel this is a valuable program to support because it reaches many small, rural communities throughout Alberta where snowmobile use is very high. This year, some 5000 student in 31 Alberta schools received the avalanche safety component.

Youth Programs With strong support from local communities, passionate educators and sponsors, the Avalanche Canada Youth Program continues to grow. This year our website got a new look, making it much easier to access the many free resources, activities and ideas available. A big thanks to our primary funders, Columbia Basin Trust and the RBC Foundation. Last season, over 7000 students from K-12 in BC and Alberta attended our avalanche awareness seminars. AvCAn youth educators traveled to 47 communities, visiting over 50 schools. These presentations include gradespecific curriculum offering winter safety, avalanche and backcountry awareness, and hands-on rescue training, giving students a great foundation for building their avalanche knowledge and skills. Youth Program highlights: • Subsidized training: Thanks to our partners, many courses were made available for free to youth in the interior of BC this past season. Girls Do Ski and Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) helped to subsidize an all-girls Youth AST 1 based in Revelstoke. CBT also subsidized an AST 1 in Fernie and Trail, and Companion Rescue Skills courses were held in Fernie, Kimberly and Valemount. • Avi-Smart is a program developed by Parks Canada that we deliver to students in grades 7-10 in the Bow Valley and Columbia Valley. This year our educators reached 2198 students through 42 presentations. • With funding from the Whistler/Blackcomb Foundation, one of our forecasters gave awareness presentations at high schools in Pemberton, Whistler and Squamish, seeing over 700 students. • We continue to build our social media presence with our youth-specific Behind the Lines Facebook page and Instagram account. Every month we had a different backcountry related topic in which they had to show a representative photo using the hash-tag #btlcontest, #avysafety when posting. With support from BCA and Mammut three lucky winners each received a probe, shovel and digital transceiver.

Toolbox Program Our toolbox program is aimed at providing teachers and instructors the tools they need to demonstrate the essential avalanche safety gear, and give students the opportunity for hands-on learning in rescue technique. We currently have three toolboxes containing 15-20 sets of digital transceivers, probes, shovels, saws and snow safety kits. These travel all season long throughout communities in Alberta and BC. Youth Program Coordinator Shannon Werner with Michael Heuchert from MEC, which donated 35 transceivers from their decommissioned rental fleet to replace old transceivers in our Toolbox program.

“Our area has a lot of youth engaging in backcountry activities. We could do a full unit on this but one day at least gives us a taste. I feel it’s invaluable knowledge.” Grade 8 teacher Becca David

“Given where we live and play this is very important information. The presentation was very ‘dialed in’ to this age group.” Grade 6 – 7 teacher Ursula Stephens

“We are so lucky to have access to both the presentation on avalanche safety, but also the expertise of someone experienced and knowledgeable as Shannon.” Grade 7 – 9 teacher Gary Parkstron

“I liked the video at the end and the approach of the presentation because they didn’t tell us to stay away from the backcountry, but how to be safe and fully enjoy it safely.” Grade 12 student Nicole Byfard

“I really enjoyed it because I love winter activities but want to do them safely and you made it really clear and easy to understand.” Grade 12 student Tyler Bartle


Education and Outreach

Avalanche Ambassadors Avalanche Canada launched a new program this season that involved leaders in winter backcountry recreation. As an Avalanche Ambassador, these individuals promoted avalanche safety through their social media networks and shared backcountry observations to our Mountain Information Network. We profiled these individuals on our website and shared their posts through our networks. Our Avalanche Ambassadors for the 2015-2016 season were professional snowmobiler Nadine Overwater and professional snowboarder Robin Van Gyn. With their support and influence, our messages of awareness and safety helped reach a wider audience. We were excited by the results of this initiative and look forward to expanding our ambassador team.

Youth Program Coordinator Shannon Werner demonstrates a compression test during a girls-only AST 1 course at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Image: Agathe Bernard

Mountain Guide Marty Schaffer often lends his enthusiasm and energy to our youthfocused outreach events. Here he speaks to a packed house at Shreducation in Whistler. Image: Joe Lammers

Outreach Events At Avalanche Canada, we make the most of our opportunities to connect with backcountry users by collaborating with partners and sharing our resources. Below is a list of our major outreach events this past year. Shreducation Snowmobile Program Coordinator Brent Strands speaks to members of the Prince George Snowmobile Club. Image: Gilles Valade

This evening presentation is aimed at a younger crowd and uses lots of first-person stories to promote backcountry safety. • Whistler • Revelstoke

Staying Alive Night An early-season tune-up presented in coordination with ski patrollers, aimed at new arrivals and veterans of our local ski towns • Revelstoke • Golden

CARDA dog handler Steve Morrison rewards his partner Neko after a successful search demonstration at Fernie’s Avalanche Awareness Days. Image: Jordan Johnson

Alpine Club of Canada Speaker Night An AvCan forecasters shares learning opportunities in a presentation based on a case study. • Calgary

Backcountry Avalanche Workshops These evening presentations are aimed at sledders and skiers, where we highlight new tools and techniques for backcountry safety • Smithers • Kamloops • Fernie

Canuck Splitfest and Ascend Splitboard Festival These weekend events are aimed at backcountry snowboarders and combines fund-raising activities with hands-on learning and presentations from our forecasters • Revelstoke • Jasper

Avalanche Awareness Days Some 30 communities participate in this annual weekend event, highlighting backcountry safety and often holding fundraisers for Avalanche Canada. These events take place throughout BC and Alberta, as well as the Yukon and Newfoundland.


Education and Outreach

Rescue at Cherry Bowl This multi-media, interactive microsite will launch in November, 2016. The site tells the story of an amazing backcountry rescue, where three lives were saved because the rescuers had recently taken a Companion Rescue Skills course. The site uses video, text, graphics and images to tell the story and explore concepts such as safe backcountry travel, snow science and human factors. A big thanks to MEC for being the lead sponsor on this project. As MEC is the presenting sponsor of our AST programs, they were an especially good fit for this project. In our world of accident prevention and public safety, too often our educational opportunities are based in tragedy. It’s been very rewarding to tell this story that has so many rich, teachable moments as well as a happy ending.


This Is A Story That Needs To Be Told START YOUR JOURNEY



Renshaw Case Study On January 29, 2016, five snowmobilers were killed in a single avalanche in the Renshaw region near McBride, BC. Over the summer and working closely with the BC Coroners Service and the local SAR responders, we have developed a case study on this accident that will be used in upcoming outreach events aimed at snowmobilers. This incident offers many valuable lessons. There were many people on the slope at the time and group management was an issue, as was terrain choice given the current conditions. However, the companion rescue response was excellent, which saved lives. In hopes of preventing similar incidents, we will be presenting this case study at a number of outreach events this season.


Education and Outreach

Snowmobile Outreach

Throttle Decisions

Thanks to generous financial support from the British Columbia Snowmobile Federation, Alberta Snowmobile Association and Martin Motor Sports we were able to update our popular video series, Throttle Decisions. This new version adds a chapter on our Mountain Information Network and updates the product with our new name and logo. The complete series is online and DVDs are always available at our office.

Snowmobile outreach continues to be an important focus and we put significant effort into making and maintaining connections throughout western Canada. Over the fall and early winter our snowmobile outreach coordinator, Brent Strand, attended four snowmobile shows in Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon and Vernon. Avalanche Canada had a booth with outreach materials available to encourage Avalanche Skills Training and the use of our Mountain Information Network. In mid-February Brent and our Executive Director Gilles Valade went on an eight-day road trip to the North Rockies. They started in the Kakwa region with the Swan City Snowmobile Club’s Family Day weekend event, where they spent two days riding with members and demonstrating avalanche safety techniques. They went on to meetings (both indoor and outdoor) in Tumbler Ridge, Dawson Creek, Prince George, McBride and Valemount. Everywhere they went they talked about the Mountain Information Network, encouraged use of avalanche safety gear and AST training, as well as how to improve avalanche safety programs for the North Rockies region.

SledCom Our Snowmobile Committee (SledCom) was first established In December of 2009, when we recognized the need for an advisory group to focus on snowmobile-related issues around public avalanche safety. In 2015, SledCom remains a vibrant and effective voice for this community, providing Avalanche Canada with valuable feedback, networking and suggestions. Curtis Pawliuk (chair) Chris Brookes Richard Cronier Ray Mason Debbie Paynton

Tyler Paynton Ryan Shelly Jason Smith Joel Wasnidge Donegal Wilson

Sled Sponsors Snowmobiles are essential tools for our field teams, forecasters and sled outreach coordinator to travel around in the backcountry. Many thanks to all four snowmobile manufacturers who each loaned us a 2016 snowmobile this winter through the following dealerships: • Apline Mountain Sport in Salmon Arm, BC o Yamaha Viper

• Banner Recreation and Marine in Vernon, BC o Ski-Doo Summit 800

• Cervus Equipment in Pincher Creek, AB o Polaris Pro RMK 800

• Shuswap Xtreme Recreation in Salmon Arm, BC o Arctic Cat M8000

(L - R) Jeff Rosner from Team Thunderstruck, Gilles Valade and Brent Strand from Avalanche Canada, Kathy Burke from the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club, and Randy Swenson from Team Thunderstruck. Photo: Alice Corsiatto

Thunderstruck Fundraiser In February, we received a generous donation of $10,000 from our friends at the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club and Team Thunderstruck. Each year, these two organizations hold a highly successful local fundraiser, where Team Thunderstruck unveils their new feature film and funds are raised for a variety of causes. Since 2010, this group has donated $55,000 to Avalanche Canada! We are grateful for this tremendous support and honour their dedication and commitment to public avalanche safety.


2014-15 Avalanche Fatality Statistics

Canadian Fatal Avalanches In 2015 – 16, 17 people were killed in 12 avalanche accidents. Seventeen fatalities is above the ten-year trailing average of 13 avalanche deaths per year; similarly twelve separate events is above the ten-year trailing average of 10 fatal accidents per year. The last fatality of this past season was in late September. For our statistical purposes our year runs from Oct 1 – Sept 30, which is the international standard for our sector. Seventy percent of the fatalities were mountain snowmobilers (12), two were backcountry skiers, one was snowshoeing, one was “scrambling” (late spring hiking in technical terrain), and one was non-recreational workplace accident. It is worth noting that one of the backcountry skiers was participating in a guided trip under the care of a professional decision-maker. Also noteworthy, the non-recreational fatality involved a professional skier being filmed. Three of the fatal accidents (25%) represented people travelling alone. In four of the accidents (33%) the subject did not have a transceiver. Four accidents (33%) involved multiple people exposed to the hazard at once. In January 2016 there were five fatalities in a single accident where fifteen or more people from several groups were simultaneously exposed. In February there was a single fatality in an accident where 10 people in a group of thirteen were caught or buried. In terms of location, BC continues to be the province where most fatal avalanche accidents occur. This season 75% of the accidents were in BC with 82% of the fatalities. This is consistent with trends over the past ten years. Nearly two-thirds of these BC fatalities (64%) were visiting Alberta residents.

Annual Avalanche Fatalities in Canada Showing 10 Year Moving Average

25 20 15 10





















Putting it into Perspective

Avalanche fatalities 2006 – 2016 by location

British Columbia


Alberta 14 Québec 3 Yukon


Nunavut 0 NWT 0 Newfoundland 1 National Parks Total



Snowmobilers 65 Mechanized Skiers Out-of-Bounds Skiers Other Recreation

12 8 15

Non-Recreation 3 Total

Not everything that counts can be counted


Avalanche fatalities 2006 – 2016 by activity

Backcountry Skiers

Thoughts on Avalanche Fatality Statistics


How do we measure the effectiveness of our public avalanche safety programs? While fatality trends may be an obvious metric, those numbers don’t tell the whole story because we have no way of knowing the total number of backcountry users. Without that data, we can’t know the true accident rate – the number of accidents in comparison with the number of users. We do know backcountry use is on the rise. The backcountry skiing market, once niche, is now attracting the attention and investment from major ski companies. Mountain snowmobiles are a growth product for manufactures. And there is a noticeable increase in media coverage of backcountry activities, from newspapers to broadcast media to speciality magazines. Backcountry use is becoming ‘normalized’ as more people venture into the winter wilderness. In light of this growth in users, the relatively stable trend in avalanche fatalities reflects positively on our efforts. Through awareness and education, we continue to encourage the respectful and responsible use of Canada’s magnificent winter mountain terrain.


Financial Summary

Allocation of Expenses Operations* 971,349 Public Avalanche Warning Service

Total revenues for Avalanche Canada were $1.937 million, which is up from the previous year but this is mostly because of government funding that was received so late it had to be accrued in this fiscal period. Therefore, our government funding represented a little over 57% of our total revenues. Expenses for the year were $1.882 million leaving a surplus of $55,607. This surplus was allocated to the loss of funding reserve. In addition to the expenses listed herein the following items were designated as capital: $39,260 was spent on computer equipment and $93,980 on the website and the Mountain Information Network.


Outreach 113,056 Youth Programs


Avalanche Skills Training Program




*Administration, Accounting, Communications, Fundraising and Development, IT, Overhead.

Expenses by Category

Operating Revenue by Source



Office, Overhead, Insurance & Misc. 275,161 Travel 97,340 Government (Federal, BC and AB)* 1,118,210

Amortization 60,758

Sponsorships 461,026

Advertising & Printing

Retail Sales

Transfers 51,000



Other* 69,398

Training & Professional Fees


Project Revenue


Board & Consulting Expenses


AST Contributions


Research 15,000

Membership Dues




Donations 9,329 Total


*Because of delayed payment, two years of Alberta funding were accrued in this period.

Note: The following items are in addition to those listed and are not included because they were capitalized.

Website & MIN


AST Intellectual Property Fund

Computer Equipment


The revenues added to the AST IPR $13,385



Looking Forward

Hot Zone Reports Hot Zone Reports are a new approach to avalanche safety that we’ll be trying out as a pilot project this winter, thanks to funding from Recreation Sites & Trails BC. Hot Zone Reports will provide critical snowpack and weather information, along with general risk management advice for a particular area. These site-specific reports are based on information provided through the Mountain Information Network. The pilot project will run in the Renshaw, Kakwa, HankinEvelyn and Telkwa regions.

AvalX Update This coming winter we will be applying for a federal grant to allow us to upgrade AvalX, the software application used to produce public avalanche forecasts. The current version, implemented in 2011, has become the Canadian standard and is a global leader in public avalanche forecast production and display. Among the many enhancements we are planning, the primary focus will be to make this new version cloud based, allowing access to any public avalanche forecaster with login credentials and an internet connection. Our aim is to enhance public safety by improving the quality of avalanche forecasting throughout Canada’s backcountry.

Accident Information Gathering Protocol In collaboration with the BC Coroners Service, RCMP, and the professional avalanche community AvCan is in the process of updating the process of investigating avalanche accidents. This project involves creating a new protocol and revising outdated forms used to gather information to promote a standardized approach for all investigative agencies, such as the RCMP, BCCS, and WorkSafeBC. We expect to have a beta version in place for the coming season and plan to meet in the spring with all collaborating agencies to review and determine if revisions are required..

Managing Avalanche Terrain We will be introducing a new one-day course to our training programs this coming season. Managing Avalanche Terrain is a field-based course designed to expand on the terrain management theory taught in the AST 1 course, and to develop winter backcountry skills.

Image: Ray Mason 35

Funding Partners

Government Stakeholders Avalanche Canada is thankful for support from the following government ministries and departments:

Province of British Columbia

Government of Canada

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Emergency Management BC

Environment Canada Meteorological Service of Canada Parks Canada

Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General BC Coroners Service

Public Safety Canada National Search and Rescue Secretariat

Ministry of Sports, Recreation, Arts & Culture Gaming Grants Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Recreation Sites and Trails GeoBC Ministry of Environment BC Parks Snow Survey Program Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government DataBC

Government of Alberta Ministry of Environment and Parks

Sponsors Our sponsors are essential to public avalanche safety in Canada. We rely on sponsor funding for our Public Avalanche Warning Service, public outreach, and many of our education programs. Program Partners

Premier Sponsors


Funding Partners



"Avalanche Canada sets the global standard for providing avalanche awareness programs. With their development of innovative tools and informative reporting systems, the organization provides backcountry users with user-friendly, relevant and accurate advice that inform safe travel decisions. They educate and inspire people to enjoy the magic of backcountry experiences and we are so lucky to have this in Canada. To help broaden their reach and ensure more people are participating in these activities safely, ARC’TERYX is honoured to continue supporting their efforts." John Irvine Manager, Global Community Marketing ARC’TERYX Equipment

"Many of our Sandman Hotel Group properties are surrounded by outdoor playgrounds that draw visitors from all over to stay at our hotels while searching for backcountry adventure. Avalanche Canada plays an integral role in keeping guests and members of our communities safe and educated while they pursue untouched powder. We are proud to be able to continue to support Avalanche Canada in their endeavors to help winter backcountry users make smart decisions and maximize their experiences." Peter Nielsen Vice President of Operations Revelstoke Mountain Resort

"The British Columbia Snowmobile Federation appreciates the strong working relationship we have with Avalanche Canada. We are fortunate in Canada to have the programs and services of Avalanche Canada, many of which are specific to our users. We all care deeply about backcountry recreational snowmobilers and we will continue to work together to reach all snowmobilers in BC with the goal of zero avalanche fatalities for our sport.

Membership Avalanche Canada continues to work towards building a strong membership base. Members are considered our stakeholders and receive our regular e-newsletter Stakeholder News. Our current membership is around 220, a number we anticipate will continue to grow. Over the past season we held two membership drives, one in early winter and one mid-season. We promoted these drives through our website, social media and with our partners. This year we also began offering discounts on Avalanche Canadabranded soft goods to members, which has proved a popular strategy. We are considering some new strategies to encourage membership, including discounts with our sponsors. A healthy membership list is more than a source of income; it is a demonstration that an organization is both valued and relevant. If you’re not a member, please consider joining us!

Donegal Wilson Executive Director BC Snowmobile Federation


Our People

Avalanche Canada Board of Directors

Avalanche Canada Staff

President Kevin Seel

Executive Director Gilles Valade

Vice-President Kevin Williams

Public Avalanche Warning Service Manager Karl Klassen

Treasurer Simon Buckett

Communications Director Mary Clayton

Secretary John Irvine

Sponsorship and Marketing Jennifer George

Directors Paul Chatterton Kory Fawcett William Jackson Terry Palechuk Curtis Pawliuk Jeremy Vandekerkhove Lawrence White

Education and Membership Coordinator Nancy Geismar

The members of the board of directors are very engaged and bring a wide set of complementary skills and expertise necessary for the governance of Avalanche Canada. The board meets regularly via conference calls five to six times per year and through faceto-face meetings on another two to three occasions. The board's executive committee generally meets weekly during operating season and every two weeks during slower periods.

Forecasting Program Supervisors James Floyer Ilya Storm Public Avalanche Forecasters Ryan Buhler, Cam Campbell, Buck Corrigan, Penny Goddard, Grant Helgeson, Joe Lammers, Peter Marshall, Tom Riley, Eirik Sharp, Josh Smith, Shannon Werner Youth Education Coordinator Shannon Werner Social Media Coordinator Elyse Young Snowmobile Outreach Coordinator Brent Strand Comptroller Janis Borden Bookkeeper Julie Matteau South Rockies Avalanche Field Technicians Jen Coulter, Martina Halik, Stephanie Lemieux Yukon Avalanche Field Technicians Diana Saly, Matt Holmes

2014-15 Annual Report

Image: Brad White 41

Avalanche Canada Foundation

A Message from the President The Avalanche Canada Foundation is dedicated to fundraising in support of Avalanche Canada. By raising funds to support public avalanche safety initiatives and related research, the Foundation’s mission is to minimize public risk in avalanche terrain. The highlight of the past year has to be our Calgary benefit in March. Thanks to our supporters and to the generosity of host sponsor, Canadian Pacific, we raised $110,000 for avalanche safety. Thirty successful bidders won the trip of a lifetime—a three-day luxury tour from Calgary to Vancouver aboard the historic Royal Canadian Pacific passenger train! In addition to supporting Avalanche Canada, the Foundation funds research into avalanche safety. With the benefit of the International Snow Science Workshop Fund, the Foundation renewed its support for the Research Chair in Avalanche Risk Management at Simon Fraser University with an additional $40,000 grant for Dr. Pascal Haegeli’s program. I am humbled by the commitment of all our supporters. You are passionate about the outdoors and winter mountain safety. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you: individual donors, corporate supporters and charitable foundations. You commitment is invaluable. It’s making a difference!

Gordon Ritchie, President

A sell-out crowd at the Foundation’s annual fundraising benefit in Calgary. Image: Jim MacDonald

Fundraising The Avalanche Canada Foundation is very proud of our fundraising activities. From our annual fundraising benefit in Calgary to the many small groups and grassroots organizations hosting events and individual donors contributing to our cause, these all reflect the reality that public avalanche safety is worth fighting for. Our most successful fundraiser this past year was held at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel in Calgary. In partnership with our generous host Canadian Pacific, a caring community enjoyed the chance to connect and contribute to avalanche safety. There was an impressive silent auction from many donors, featuring trips to pristine backcountry lodges, beautiful artwork, outdoor gear, heli- and catskiing trips, and an amazing opportunity for a three-day trip on the historic Royal Canadian Pacific train. The Foundation also benefited from many smaller yet effective fundraisers put on by individuals and groups committed to helping our cause and raising awareness of the need for stable funding for public avalanche safety. These included: • John Phillips’ Season-Start Shaker, Whistler • Cardel Homes movie premiere, Calgary • Canuck SplitFest, Revelstoke • Ascend SplitFest, Jasper • UBC Varsity Outdoor Club film night, Vancouver • Freshtival, Calgary • One Boardshop draw in support of the Craig Kelly Fund, Kelowna • Deep Winter Photo Challenge, Whistler Many thanks to all who donated to the Avalanche Canada Foundation this past year. We look forward to continuing to build on our momentum!


Avalanche Canada Foundation

Grants and Awards In addition to $30,000 of core funding to Avalanche Canada’s programs and services, the foundation provided $40,000 in support of the Chair in Avalanche Risk Management at Simon Fraser University, as well as $10,000 to Avalanche Quebec to fund public bulletins.

Financial Summary The financial position of the foundation continues to improve. In 2016, total assets held by the foundation rose to $794,079 from $628,991 a year earlier. Revenues from fundraising and donations increased from the previous year by about $25,000. The Foundation provided $83,730 in grants in support of avalanche safety: $29,930 in support of Avalanche Canada’s programs and services, $10,000 in support of Avalanche Quebec, $40,000 for research at Simon Fraser University and $3,800 in scholarships .

Revenues 2015 Net Fundraising*


Deferred Contributions**


Individual Donations


Corporate Donations


Other 4,093 Total Avalanche Canada highlights • $10,000 for youth education thanks to the RBC Foundation • $10,000 for the Cherry Bowl project • $4,600 for outreach thanks to the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Craig Kelly Memorial Fund We were pleased to expand the Craig Kelly fund with the participation and support of the Joel Conway & Clayten Smith Memorial Society Fund • Two awards were given out totalling $1,300 Cora Shea Memorial Fund • Two awards were given out totalling $1,500 Al Hodgson Memorial Fund • One award for $1,00 Simon Fraser University Fund • $40,000 was granted in support of the Avalanche Research Chair. This is the first year of a five-year commitment totalling $200,000


*Fundraising revenue less fundraising expenditures. **Contributions for university research and scholarships.

Expenditures 2015 Grants to Simon Fraser Univ.


Office & Overhead***


Grants to Avalanche Canada


Grants to Québec


Scholarships 3,800 Total


***Includes office, professional fees, travel, merchandise, insurance and bank charges.

NOTE: All information is from the Foundation`s audited year-end financial report as of June 30, 2016.

Supporters Organizations and individuals who have made three-year funding committments are recognized as Founders. Founding Friends Contributing over $5000 annually for three years. Brad & Tanya Zumwalt

The Polar Foundation

Damon Ockey

Edward Hincks

Gordon & Debbie Ritchie

Founding Contributors Contributing over $250 annually for three years. Dale Bayley J Bruce Jamieson Jack Bennetto

Keenan Cannady Ken Little Kory Fawcett

Kevin Williams

Supporting Foundations


Avalanche Canada Foundation

Event Sponsors Calgary Fundraiser, March 2016 Presented by Canadian Pacific

Avalanche Canada Foundation Board of Directors President Gordon Ritchie Vice-President Samantha Stuart Treasurer Jim Hall Directors Keenan Cannady John Hetherington Ted Hincks Colin Johnston John Phillips Frances Picherack Leah Plumridge David Thompson Gilles Valade Kevin Williams

Office Adminstration Pattie Roozendaal

Image: Mike Adolph 47

Avalanche Canada PO Box 560, 1596 Illecillewaet Rd Revelstoke,  BC V0E 2S0 avalanche.ca

Avalanche Canada Foundation PO Box 8800 Canmore, AB T1W 0C1 avalanche.ca/foundation

T 250.837.2141

Charitable Registration #86900 0349 RR0001 T 403.678.1235

Image: Chris Christie

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