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Click on the image to watch our new avalanche safety video for ice climbers. Photo from Sarah Hueniken.

Avalanche Safety for Ice Climbers

We were very excited to launch our new ice climbing video on March 2. Produced by Heather Mosher, the video features our ice climbing ambassador Sarah Hueniken, along with an all-star roster of Canadian ice climbers, including Barry Blanchard, Will Gadd, and Grant Statham. It's already been viewed more than 21,000 times!

We prioritized the need for greater outreach to the ice climbing community this year, bringing Sarah on board as an ambassador and adding ice climbing reports to our Mountain Information Network (see below). This video is a key piece of this strategy and we couldn’t be happier with it. The feedback we have received is overwhelmingly positive and we are extremely thankful to the team that put it together. We are hopeful it helps to influence more ice climbers to carry essential avalanche gear.

Pour la version française, cliquez ici.

In this issue:
MIN Upgrades
Backyard Backcountry Challenge
Spearhead Traverse ATES Ratings
Behind the 'Gram Webinar
Mammut Sponsorship
New Weather Stations
Softgoods Discount
Upcoming Webinars
A climber on Bow Falls, from a report using our new ice conditions feature. Photo by @johnbestfather

Mountain Information Network Upgrades

The Mountain Information Network was greatly improved with the launch of a new update in February. Making the MIN friendlier for ice climbers was an important goal for us, and we now have a quick report function for ice conditions. Climbers can use the MIN to report on the quality of the ice, wind and weather observations, and track avalanche events. Tracking avalanches is especially important for ice climbers, as their sport has them in avalanche paths for extended periods of time. Knowing which paths have slid and when will be an important addition to their safety practices.

All users will find handy updates, with a new feature that allows captions to be added to photos and order them as desired. The preview function was improved and users now have the ability to edit posts after submitting them. These features are currently only available on the Avalanche Canada website but we are working on adding them to our app shortly. You can learn more about them here.

ATES ratings for the Spearhead Traverse will help people make better trip planning decisions before heading out.

Spearhead Traverse Added to Trip Planner

Avalanche terrain ratings for the popular Spearhead Traverse in Whistler, BC, are complete and can now be found on our Online Trip Planner.

The Spearhead Traverse is a classic high alpine route that links Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. The Spearhead Huts Society recently completed the first of three planned huts along the traverse, which will attract more people into an already popular area.

The American Friends of Whistler provided funding to map this terrain with the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale, which classifies terrain into simple, challenging, or complex depending on its potential to produce avalanches. The Online Trip Planner combines these terrain ratings with the current avalanche danger rating, providing decision-making guidance for planning backcountry trips.

Find out more here.

Avy Savvy Translated

Avy Savvy, our new online tutorial, is now available in French. Called Ava Avise, we worked hard translating the entire content, including the many videos and graphics.

Making our products available in Canada’s two official languages is part of our national strategy and translating Avy Savvy was one of our priorities. We translate parts of our forecasts, all of our media releases, this newsletter, and have French versions of our Avalanche Skills Training Handbook for both ski and snowmobile.

We are working on ways to further automate translation so we can deliver more products to francophone Canadians in their first language. 

Our website is set up to detect your browser’s language setting and will display French content to French-language users when available. Alternatively, you can click the settings icon in our top menu and switch your language to French.

Join the Backyard Backcountry Challenge

It’s not too late to join the Backyard Backcountry Challenge! This fundraiser by the Avalanche Canada Foundation is challenging people to ascend the equivalent of Mount Everest (8,849m) while staying close to home this month. The platform allows you to track your progress as you ascend from sea level to base camp, through the Khumbu Ice Fall, and past the Hillary Step to the summit.

If Everest isn't enough, you can try to tackle the Seven Summits—the highest peaks on each continent—for a whopping total of 43,316 metres of elevation gain in one month.

Almost 200 people have signed up so far. Sign up and challenge yourself, and you may win some great prizes like a Mammut Pro Protection Airbag 3.0 or a Mammut Barryvox S transceiver.

It's $30 to register and all proceeds go to support public avalanche safety programs.

Behind the 'Gram Youth Webinar

Freeride stars Tatum Monod and Nick McNutt will be headlining a webinar for youth on Thursday, Mar. 18, at 7 p.m. PT. The theme of the webinar is Behind the 'Gram and it will look at what goes on behind the scenes when pros line up for a banger photo or video segment. Tatum and Nick are both sponsored skiers who have appeared in dozens of ski movies and skied many big lines. We are thrilled to have them take part. They will be joined by AvCan Youth Ambassadors Aleks Klassen and Amy Ertel, while local legend Marty Schaffer will moderate the round-table discussion.

Check out the event page for more details.

Mammut Sponsorship

We would like to give a big thank you to Mammut for being the main sponsor of the Backyard Backcountry Challenge and numerous other Avalanche Canada programs and events. Mammut is a Supporting Sponsor and has backed our public avalanche safety programs with direct funding and gear for over 16 years.

Our field teams use Mammut gear on their trips into the backcountry and we use Mammut products as prizing for events. They donated a brand new Barryvox S transceiver as a prize for our upcoming youth webinar, were a Gold Sponsor for Canuck Splitfest, and donated prizes to the Party For Powder fundraiser last fall.

Partnerships like the one we have with Mammut help make our programs possible. We appreciate their ongoing support over the years. 

Mammut gear is appreciated by our field teams while they are in the backcountry collecting snow and weather data and engaging with other recreationists. Photo by Jennifer Coulter.

New Weather Stations

Six new weather stations have been added to our main map. In Jasper National Park, we added the Coleman, Big Bend and Maligne Stations. In Waterton Lakes National Park we added Akamina Pass, Waterton Townsite, and Summit Lake. We now have 122 weather stations around Western Canada on our website!

AvCan Softgoods Discount

Subscriptions to The Aspect exploded this winter. To thank everyone for their interest in our programs, we are offering a 15% discount on AvCan softgoods to all subscribers. This includes our hats and gogglesocs. The offer is good from March 10 to April 14, or until inventory runs out. Simply use the code ASPECTDISCOUNT when you check out. Visit our store to take advantage of this offer.

Our hats and gogglesocs are 15% off for Aspect subscribers. Photo by Jennifer George.

Upcoming Webinars

Our free webinar series has been an overwhelming success this year. Sadly, we only have three left before we wrap it up. Don’t miss out:

  • March 11: Why is March the Deadliest Month? Historically, the most avalanche fatalities every winter occur in March. Senior Forecaster Grant Helgeson and South Rockies Field Team Leader Jennifer Coulter will discuss why this is, and how you can manage the extra dangers that exist this month.
  • March 18: Behind the ‘Gram, with Tatum Monod, Marty Schaffer, Amy Ertel, and Aleks Klassen.
  • March 25: Cold Snow in the Yukon and the Transition to Spring, with Yukon Field Team Member Drew Nylen.
Get more information on our events page.
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