Avalanche Canada Profile Booklet

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Ryan Buhler

Steve Kroschel

AVALANCHE CANADA Over the winter of 2002 – 2003, 29 people died in avalanches in Canada, including seven teenagers on a school outing. This incident in particular prompted a public outcry for improved public avalanche safety programs. In the absence of any government agency with a mandate for this role, Avalanche Canada was incorporated in 2004 to serve as Canada’s national public avalanche safety organization. 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.

DID YOU KNOW? • Avalanche Canada is a not-for-profit, charitable organization, internationally recognized for leadership in avalanche accident prevention. • Avalanches are the deadliest natural hazard in Canada, killing more people annually than all other natural hazards. • Most (80%) fatal avalanche accidents occur in BC but avalanches have killed people in every Canadian province and territory except SK, MB, NB and PEI.

Wren McElroy

PUBLIC AVALANCHE SAFETY PROGRAMS Avalanche Canada is a world leader in public avalanche safety programs and avalanche accident prevention. Over the past 20 years, there has been an exponential growth in recreational use of the winter backcountry. Avalanche Canada has developed an integrated suite of products and services that augment and complement the information from the daily avalanche forecast. This holistic and coordinated approach has resulted in a gradual decline and stabilization of avalanche fatalities in Canada.

DID YOU KNOW? • On average, 13 people die each year in avalanches in Canada. • Under the leadership of Avalanche Canada, there have been significant and comprehensive advancements in recreational avalanche safety.

PUBLIC AVALANCHE SAFETY WARNINGS Avalanche Canada’s forecasting area is the largest in the world, by a significant margin. We issue daily, detailed avalanche forecasts for almost 250,000 sq km of mountainous terrain across western Canada. All our forecasts and much more information is available to anyone for free online, on our website and our mobile app. Every day throughout the winter, four or five forecasters are working to produce avalanche forecasts and other safety services. Avalanche Canada’s website—avalanche.ca—is the one-stop shop for public avalanche safety information and we are widely acknowledged as the principal source of expertise in our field. DID YOU KNOW? • Over a winter season, we produce over 1800 daily forecasts for 12 regions and about 100 weekly or semi-weekly reports for 2 other regions. • In the 2017 — 18 season, our website will receive over 4 million page views, from close to 250,000 individual users.

Raven Eye Photography

AVALANCHE SAFETY OUTREACH With our outreach programs we aim to build awareness of avalanche danger and create a culture of avalanche safety. Our focus is to prevent avalanche accidents by promoting training, self-reliance and respect for the mountains. Our outreach program focuses on engaging with backcountry users, introducing new tools and techniques, and sharing lessons learned.

DID YOU KNOW? • We have translated basic awareness messaging to eight different languages: French, Inuktitut, German, Punjabi, Korean, Japanese, Mandarin and Cantonese. • We give over 250 media interviews each season. • Close to 40,000 backcountry users follow us on our social media channels. T56769Chinese



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Jodi Osmundson

YOUTH PROGRAMS We have had a dedicated youth program coordinator since 2005 and we have developed age-appropriate backcountry safety material for students K — 12. Today, these programs are delivered by our eight-person youth education team to schools in communities throughout western Canada. In 2016 — 17, over 8000 K-12 students participated in this program.

DID YOU KNOW? • Our Youth page serves as a ‘hub’ for educators across the country, where they can download resources and lesson plans on snow and avalanche safety. • Our Toolbox Program lends avalanche rescue equipment to classrooms, giving students a hands-on experience with these tools.

Raven Eye Photography

SNOWMOBILE PROGRAMS During the winter of 2008 – 2009, 26 people died in avalanches; 19 of them were snowmobilers. With the help of a three-year federal grant, we established a snowmobile programs coordinator to guide the development of sport-specific products and services. When the grant expired we continued to fund this program, albeit in a diminished form. This work is vital. Over the past decade this sector has become the most represented user group in the fatality statistics, yet represents less than 15% of students in our training courses. DID YOU KNOW? • Remarkable advancements in snowmobile technologies allow relatively inexperienced riders to access complex alpine terrain. • Over the past decade, the vast majority of our outreach efforts have been focused on snowmobilers.

Bailey Repp

AVALANCHE SKILLS TRAINING Avalanche Canada is a world leader in recreational avalanche safety training. Our curriculum is internationally recognized and our coordinated, standardized approach gives backcountry users a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning. AST COURSE PARTICIPANTS 2012-13 2013-14

= 1000 students

2014-15 2015-16 2016-17






DID YOU KNOW? • In 2016 – 17, over 10,770 people took an avalanche training course in Canada. • There are over 200 licensed providers delivering courses in BC, AB, YK, QC and NU. • Avalanche Canada’s curriculum is also taught in other countries, including Australia, Japan, Chile and Norway.

Raven Eye Photography

AVALANCHE RESEARCH Advancing avalanche safety depends on research. Avalanche Canada has had long and productive associations with researchers in Canada and we are now closely aligned with Simon Fraser University. Dr. James Floyer, a supervisor of our forecasting program, is an Adjunct Professor in SFU’s Avalanche Risk Management program A science-based approach is critical to our programs and products. We collaborate with a number of dedicated research groups and government agencies to help focus their efforts to ensure the biggest potential for harm reduction. DID YOU KNOW? • We are developing computer models that can replicate the snowpack in a given region. This work provides us with an improved understanding of the conditions in more remote areas. • With Simon Fraser University, we are currently examining the most effective way to communicate avalanche risk to our users. This work will inform changes to how our forecasts are structured, displayed and delivered to the public.

Andrew Nolan

FUNDING AVALANCHE CANADA Avalanche Canada relies on funding from many sources. Our main source of revenue is from government but this funding has never been enough to fulfill our mandate. We have always pursued corporate sponsors, who contribute cash and in-kind support. Avalanche Canada is now at a tipping point. Government funding has remained largely static while increasingly, sponsors and private funders are losing interest in supporting services they consider a government responsibility. Marketing the Canadian wilderness is a vital component of many province’s budgets. At Avalanche Canada, we believe secure and adequate funding for national public avalanche safety is the essential next step. DID YOU KNOW? • Avalanche Canada’s forecasts and programs are essential to the procedures and policies of many agencies and organizations operating in avalanchethreatened terrain. • Avalanche Canada collaborates and consults with all levels of government, as well as a wide range of private companies with a stake in avalanche safety.

PO Box 560 | 1596 Illecillewaet Rd Revelstoke, BC V0E 2S0 250.837.2141 | avalanche.ca

Chris Christie

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