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Bring on 2020-21

Our forecasting team is ramping up right now to begin a new season that looks to be anything but normal as our lives continue to be dominated by Covid-19. The outreach and communications team has been busy all fall creating and delivering new online products. And we're all making the adjustments necessary for the uncertainty created by the pandemic. We're expecting a very busy backcountry season with some new challenges and we've put a lot of work into getting as ready as we can. 

Pour la version française, cliquez ici.

In this issue:
Forecast Launch
BC Funding Update
New Ambassador for Ice Climbing
2019-20 Annual Report
Foundation Online Auction
MIN Upgrades
Online Outreach
Canuck Splitfest
Revelstoke Tourism initiative
CBT Grant
Game-Based Learning for Youth
Get the Avalanche Canada app to keep track of forecasts every day on your phone. Photo by Jennifer Coulter.

Forecasts Start November 25

Our first avalanche forecasts of the season are going out on Wednesday, Nov. 25. We ended our forecasting program early last season, due to the pandemic, so we're looking forward to getting back to work. We are expecting an increase in backcountry users this winter and we know how important our forecasts are to help them make smart choices and come home safely.

There will be challenges. The pandemic is affecting backcountry operators and many of them are not operating, which will have a big impact on the datastream we need to produce our forecasts. This winter, our forecasters' field time will be targeted towards areas where data is needed most. And, of course, we will be relying even more on our Mountain Information Network

We are excited about issuing bilingual forecasts this season, thanks to our new forecasting program, AvID. We're also developing a program to send abbreviated versions of our forecast via satellite messenger system (SMS), which will be great for backcountry users outside cell range. The AvCan app is still a much better resource for smartphone users but for anyone who spends an extended time out of range, SMS is the only option. We'll be launching this new program soon for the North Rockies and the Yukon.

BC Funding Update

In late October we received notice that our grant application was successful and we are receiving $250,000 from BC Gaming. We need to apply for this grant annually and we are very happy to get this news. It was also recently confirmed that we will receive $150,000 from Emergency Management BC. We are still waiting for the province to follow through on the commitment made in May 2019 to provide $1 million in annual funding for AvCan. For more information on the BC funding situation click here.

Sarah Hueniken is our new ice climbing ambassador. Photo contributed

New Ambassador: Sarah Hueniken

We are proud to announce Sarah Hueniken, one of the world's leading ice climbers, has joined our team of avalanche ambassadors. Sarah is an ACMG alpine guide and has been guiding in the Canadian Rockies for 16 years. With the loss of her dearest friend to an avalanche while ice climbing, Sarah understands the risks of the mountains. Her new focus is to help build awareness of both the inherent risks of avalanches for ice climbers and the healing process after trauma through founding the Mountain Muskox Peer Mentorship Program. Engaging the ice climbing community is a high priority for us and we are thrilled to have an athlete of Sarah's calibre helping us do this.

2019-20 Annual Report

Check out our 2019-20 Annual Report to learn more about our programs, successes, and challenges last season.  

Foundation Hosting Online Auction

The Avalanche Canada Foundation is hosting an online auction from November 22–29. Some of the great prizes up for auction are a heli-hiking trip with CMH, a backcountry stay with Purcell Mountain Lodge, and gear from from Arc'teryx, BCA, Scott, and The North Face. Stay tuned for details.

We are very thankful to the many people who have made donations following our asks in the last Aspect and after our webinars. These donations total almost $15,000. As we shift away from big event fundraisers, these donations become even more important.

Donate Now

Upgrades to the MIN

We are working on some tweaks to the Mountain Information Network (MIN) to make it even more user friendly. This winter, users will be able to edit their submitted posts and delete them as well, if necessary. We’re also adding a section for ice climbers that will allow them to share information on ice quality and the unique conditions that affect avalanche safety for that particular sport.

We hope people paint our map blue by using the Mountain Information Network this winter. User reports on the MIN will be more important than ever for our forecasts as we expect fewer professional observations. Photo by Wren McElroy

Online Webinar Attendance Tops 1,000

Our webinar series has exceeded expectations and we are thrilled with the reception and the feedback we've received, Our most recent webinar, on Nov 11, had more than 1,000 people registered. Our webinars are a weekly series, with each presentation covering a different theme, with topics geared for everyone from beginners to veterans, and snowshoers to ice climbers. Check out the schedule here.

Canuck Splitfest

Canuck Splitfest is going online this year, from Jan. 8–10, 2021. The event will feature three nights of presentations, with each highlighting a different theme related to backcountry touring. We will be hosting an online auction and virtual contests with many great prizes; and a virtual trade show showcasing gear from Splitfest’s many supporters. In-person camps and clinics will be offered by Revelstoke guides, with Covid precautions in place.

The annual Splitfest raffle will be turned into an online auction this year. Photo by Alex Cooper
For every person spending at least two nights in Revelstoke mid-week to enjoy the backcountry, Tourism Revelstoke will make a $10 donation to Avalanche Canada. Photo by Tourism Revelstoke

Tourism Revelstoke Initiative

Tourism Revelstoke has launched an innovative initiative where they will make a donation to us on behalf of visitors to the community here to enjoy our backcountry. They will donate $10 for every backcountry skier, snowboarder, snowmobiler, or snowshoer who books a minimum two-night mid-week stay at a participating accommodation. Thank you Tourism Revelstoke! We hope this idea catches on with other mountain communities. 

Columbia Basin Trust Grant

We are grateful to the Columbia Basin Trust for awarding us a Community Initiatives & Affected Areas grant to support Staying Alive Night and Canuck Splitfest. Grant money will be used for organizing, promotion, and production costs for these important online events. Without grant support, neither of these events would be possible.

Youth in Kahoot

Our youth program is grateful to Kahoot, a game-based learning platform, for donating six licenses to our youth outreach staff for presenting in schools. Kahoot provides some great technology that gives our youth team new tools for engaging students through online learning.  

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