What We Do
We are a non-government, not-for-profit organization dedicated to public avalanche safety. We provide a safety net of programs and services to help backcountry users to make good decisions while travelling in avalanche terrain. We provide daily public avalanche forecasts for western Canada and we develop and coordinate public avalanche safety education, including awareness and training seminarstargeted for a diverse demographic that includes youth, adults, residents, visitors and new Canadians.
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.
Vision: To eliminate avalanche fatalities and injuries in Canada.
- 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.
- We anticipate and respond to challenges and changes with creativity, collaboration, courage and bold enthusiasm.
Annual Report Highlights – 2016
- 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 come in around 10% of the AST 1 numbers and this proved true again with 780 students taking AST 2, an increatse of 16% over last year.
- Social Media is an essential tool for sharing information about avalanche safety. We had a youth-focused Instagram account where we ran 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.
- We participate 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 and here is one example in Killarney, Ireland. In October of 2015, Public Warning Service Manager Karl Klassen attended this annual conference, where he represented Canada on a prevention working group with the Internation Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR). ICAR has 87 member organizations from 35 countries and is the world’s leading agency on mountain rescue.
Did You Know?
Cameron Westhead, MLA for Banff-Cochrane, announced a renewed three-year provincial funding agreement for Avalanche Canada. Alberta will provide the national public avalanche safety organization with $250,000 annually until 2020. Over the past decade, half of all avalanche fatalities in Canada were residents of Alberta. And of all snowmobilers killed in avalanches, about two-thirds were from Alberta. The Government of Alberta has funded and supported Avalanche Canada since 2005. “Avalanches are a natural part of the winter mountain environment but they are also the deadliest natural hazard in Canada,” said Gilles Valade, Executive Director of Avalanche Canada. “By providing backcountry users with science-based and effective resources, we are working together to prevent tragedy.”
- Each year in Canada, about 8,000 people take an avalanche safety training taught by instructors licensed by Avalanche Canada.
“As providers of Avalanche Skills Training developed through Avalanche Canada, we are thankful for continued financial support for this important organization,” said Len Youden, General Manager of Yamnuska Mountain Adventures, in a news release. “This money will support regional forecasting tools and education and help keep people safe.” See announcement at: Alberta Announces Renewed Three-Year Funding for Public Avalanche Safety