Avalanche Ambassadors

Avalanche Canada’s vision is to inspire, engage, and empower recreationists to enjoy Canada's winter backcountry and be safe from avalanches.. Our ambassadors are helping us achieve that goal by endorsing avalanche safety through their networks. These riders are highly accomplished in the winter backcountry and we are excited to have them on our team, promoting Avalanche Canada training programs, our Mountain Information Network and our forecasts. With their help and influence, our messages of awareness and safety can reach a wider audience.

Chris Rubens

Credit
Bruno Long

Chris Rubens has been a globally recognized professional skier for well over a decade. Truly dedicated and extremely passionate about skiing in the mountains, Chris spends as much time as possible in the backcountry every winter, specializing in putting beautiful lines down mountains for both film and photo projects. He spends his winters collaborating with the Blank Collective, Salomon TV, and Matchstick Productions. He is passionate about sharing his experience and knowledge to help educate people about backcountry skiing. Between ski trips, Chris resides in the town of Revelstoke, BC, and now spends his off-season working hard, growing organic vegetables as First Light Farm.

Credit
Bruno Long

Nadine Overwater

Credit
William Eaton

Nadine started out on a snowmobile at age seven and has never looked back. She got into serious mountain sledding in 2007 and has been guiding in the Revelstoke area since 2010. She spends well over 100 days a season on her machine, riding with all different skill levels and pursuing professional-level avalanche training. In 2012, Nadine started La Nina Sled Camp, a venue for women riders to build confidence in a positive environment, away from the stress of having to keep up with their partners. Nadine hopes to continue influencing and educating other women to “get out and shred” as often as they like.

Credit
Boondock Nation

Abby Cooper

Photo of AvCan ambassador, Abby Cooper

Over the last decade, Abby has crafted a career in the outdoor industry as a photographer, writer and Creative Director specializing in backcountry photoshoots and culture. Whether for work or pleasure this girl is always on the move, always in the mountains, and always searching for powder. When she's not chasing golden hour deep in a range with a 60lb camera pack, she's speaking at snow safety clinics and has even created her own series of social events known as "Split Social." The events are designed to educate splitboarders specifically while building a strong splitboard community, and also to instill good communication between all backcountry users. Her clinics cater to all abilities from never-evers, to those looking to get into splitboard mountaineering. Abby also works with Avalanche Canada to educate youth and as the Canuck Splitfest organizer. She currently volunteers with Mountain Mentors and SheJumps to help increase female participation in the outdoors. Abby is supported both in front and behind the camera by Arc’teryx, Karakoram, G3gear, Fatmaps and Pallas Snowboards.

Action Photo: Matt Silvestre

Snowboarder riding in a steep couloir

Sarah Hueniken

Sarah has been alpine/ice guiding in the Canadian Rockies for 16 years as an ACMG Alpine Guide and Instructor and Examiner for the Training and Assessment Program.  Running her own company, she specialized in alpine and women specific camps that focused on building independence and skills toward self reliance and leading in the mountains. She is a sponsored athlete with Arc'teryx, Scarpa, Sterling ropes and Onward Up, and has pushed women's ice and mixed climbing in North America. With the loss of her dearest friend to an avalanche while ice climbing, Sarah understands the risks of the mountains with the greatest respect. Her new focus is to help build awareness to both the inherent risks of avalanches for ice climbers and the healing process after trauma through founding the Mountain Muskox Peer Mentorship Program.

Youth Ambassadors

Avalanche Canada’s youth ambassador program leverages the social media power of a few young riders from across the country who demonstrate a strong commitment to backcountry safety, as well as to their sport. With their help and influence, our messages of awareness and safety can reach a wider audience.

Aleks Klassen

This is his fifth season as an Avalanche Ambassador and Aleks has big plans for this winter. Whether it be working at different backcountry operations, on film projects, or sled skiing around his hometown, Revelstoke, you can almost certainly find Aleks roaming the mountains on any given day. After completing his CAA AvSAR course and Avalanche Operations Level 1, he has the Ops 2 in his sights, and hopes to use this winter to complete all the prerequisites for that course. Make sure to say hi if you ever see Aleks in the backcountry!

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Portrait photo credit: Soleil Patterson

Skiing photo credit: Ryan Creary

Amy Ertel

Amy was born and raised in Whistler, BC, and started ski touring with her dad at 14. Now almost 19, she spends as much time in the winter in the backcountry as she can. Her favourite place to explore is the Spearhead and Fitzsimmons ranges, right in her backyard. She is currently enrolled in nursing school and, in her spare time, she volunteers as a ski patroller on Blackcomb mountain, and is the youngest female patroller that Blackcomb has ever had. During the summer, you can find her travelling for downhill biking as a professional mountain biker.

Jonathan Walsh

Jonathan is from Norris Point, NL and started out his backcountry journey in Gros Morne National Park. At an early age he was exploring from the seat of a snowmobile, but over the last couple years he has fallen in love with splitboarding. Now 19 years old, Jonathan has recently finished the Yamnuska Mountain Skills Semester in Canmore, AB and is making his way to Terrace, BC for the winter. With the Avalanche Canada AST 1 and 2 under his belt he plans on furthering his avalanche education and moving towards becoming a ski guide. In the off season Jonathan enjoys climbing, playing music and working as a fisherman.   

Mason Kenyon

Stoked for his third season as an Avalanche Canada Youth Ambassador, Mason is looking forward to sledding another winter in the backcountry. Living in central Alberta hasn't stopped him from spending his weekends at his favourite riding areas in Revelstoke, Sicamous, and more. He has completed Avalanche Canada AST 1 and 2 courses, which has given him an understanding of how important it is to be prepared on the mountain. Mason's passion for riding has shown him many opportunities and he's lucky enough to have support from businesses within the snowmobiling community, as well as other riders. All of this combined has solidified Mason's goals to complete further training within the avalanche field while continuing to grow the sport.

Nathan Shears

Born and raised in Newfoundland and Labrador,  Nathan’s love for skiing started with traditional downhill skiing, and his interest and passion for the sport brought him to the hills every opportunity he had.  As he progressed, he became a ski instructor and eventually he ventured in the backcountry, where he found his current passion. Nathan’s backcountry activities are enjoyed in Gros Morne, the second largest national park in Atlantic Canada. The geography of this UNESCO World Heritage site is perfect for backcountry activities. Nathan has achieved his Avalanche Canada AST 1 and puts safety at the top of his list at all times. By being around experienced backcountry enthusiasts, Nathan has been able to learn and develop his backcountry skills. He has a genuine interest and passion for outdoor activities and wants to share his experiences to encourage other youth to become engaged while staying safe and enjoying the natural beauty.  From venturing out at 5 a.m. for early morning laps before school to challenging backcountry trips on the weekend, Nathan wants to get out as much as possible.