An Avalanche Canada public avalanche forecaster examines the snowpack.

$325,000 grant towards increasing public avalanche safety

Avalanche Canada will receive $325,000 over the next two years from Columbia Basin Trust.

Alicia Wallace

Rossland News

Avalanche Canada will receive $325,000 over the next two years from Columbia Basin Trust in an effort to assist the avalanche forecasting organization’s on-going work of increasing public safety for winter backcountry users.

With world-leading accident prevention programs and services, Avalanche Canada is a national public avalanche safety organization based in the Columbia Basin.

Throughout winter, Avalanche Canada issues free daily avalanche forecasts for much of the mountainous regions of western Canada, including the Kootenay Boundary region and the local backcountry playground areas of Kootenay Pass and the Rossland Range.

“Kootenay Boundary is definitely a place that we are interested in having recreational users in the backcountry. Our goal is to try and engage as many backcountry users to better equip them to make more informed decisions in relation to avalanche risk,” said Avalanche Canada’s public avalanche warning service manager, Karl Klassen.

The Trust’s commitment includes $100,000 per year over the next two years for ongoing activities, such as the public avalanche warning service, Avalanche Canada’s training courses and youth-specific initiatives.

It also includes a one-time $125,000 grant that will enable the organization to continue developing its new website and its mountain information network, which allows backcountry users to share real-time data and observations from the field.

In addition, this grant will allow Avalanche Canada to make important information technology purchases that will help stabilize its public avalanche warning services and reach a broader base of winter backcountry recreationists.

With the aim of eliminating avalanche fatalities and injuries in Canada, field observations from users on Avalanche Canada’s mountain information network and mountain weather forecast is utilized.

These observations come from a variety of sources including avalanche consultancy firms, commercial winter guiding operators, ski hills, highway and railway maintenance crews, professional avalanche course participants, university research teams and Avalanche Canada winter field team staff. Observations Avalanche Canada receives from the public via the mobile app or website also assist.

Avalanche Canada has developed an internationally recognized curriculum for recreational avalanche safety training, and support instructors who teach thousands of people each year.

“We are honoured by this support from Columbia Basin Trust,” said Gilles Valade, executive director, Avalanche Canada. “Today’s announcement is vital to the maintenance of our service level for the backcountry community and it will also allow us to continue to innovate avalanche risk management tools.”

“The services of Avalanche Canada are essential when it comes to winter safety, both here and elsewhere in the country. We know that both residents and visitors to the Basin benefit greatly from the daily bulletins and avalanche warnings,” said Neil Muth, Columbia Basin Trust president and CEO.

“As a non-profit, the organization’s funds come from a variety of sources and vary from year to year. We’re pleased we can help increase Avalanche Canada’s stability so it can strengthen these important services to the public,” Muth added.

To learn more about Avalanche Canada, visit avalanche.ca. Additionally, Avalanche Canada’s snowmobile specific webpage at avalanche.ca/sled highlights items of special interest to mountain snowmobilers for a safe experience in the backcountry.

The Columbia Basin Trust supports efforts to deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the residents of the Columbia Basin region. To learn more about the Trusts programs and initiatives, visit cbt.org.

 

 

 

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