Youth Speaking to Youth
This year we have four Avalanche Canada Youth Ambassadors. They are happy to share pictures and stories on the Instagram feed. Do you have questions for our ambassadors? If so, hit up our Instagram and ask away! If you are interested in becoming a youth ambassador please send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet Our All-Star Ambassador Team!
Alana Norie (they/them) was born and raised Squamish, BC (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw), and is currently studying in the Adventure Guide Program at Thompson Rivers University. Raised in the coastal mountains, Alana loves ski touring, climbing and mountaineering. They are pursuing their AST 1 & 2 in the new year, and will gain further Avalanche Operations Level 1 course in the Spring. Alana is a Freestyle Ski Coach at Sun Peaks, and a Youth Support Worker, who is actively working towards fostering a more equitable and inclusive mountain culture. They aim to create more opportunities for all youth to explore the outdoors and open spaces for Adventure Guides to have meaningful conversations about outdoor culture. If they aren’t on an expedition, you can often find them running their small art business, bouldering, or testing new backcountry meals!
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 20 years old, Jonathan plans on spending another season in NL packed with splitboarding and ice climbing. 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 lobster fisherman in Newfoundland
Lucy (she/her) grew up in the UK, climbing and hiking as much as she could. She moved to the Bow Valley in 2021, swapping rainy Welsh quarries for big snowy mountains. Alongside ski instructing, Lucy is in her final year of the Timberline Outdoor Adventure Guide Diploma. In her first season she got her AST 1 and 2 and was quickly hooked on ski touring. She is going for her Avalanche Operations Level 1 this season, and is enjoying nerding out about snow science, whilst working towards becoming a ski guide. When the snow disappears, Lucy spends her summer climbing and mountaineering.
Stoked for his fourth season as an Avalanche Canada Youth Ambassador, Mason is looking forward to sledding another winter in the backcountry. Growing up in central Alberta hasn't stopped him from moving to Sicamous and working out of Malakwa for the winter season. He has completed Avalanche Canada AST 1 and 2 courses and will be taking his 80 hour Wilderness First Responder and Avalanche Operations 1 courses this season. All of 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 promote training within the avalanche field while continuing to grow the sport.
Welcome Educators and Parents!
This site is your starting point for youth snow safety education. We have a wide range of material aimed at students K–12, created for inside and outside the classroom. Whether you are taking your first step into youth avalanche education or looking for some new material for an existing program, Avalanche Canada is here to help.
If you're looking for an inaugural start to backcountry and avalanche training you can start online here. Check out our virtual training platform AVY SAVVY- it's our online avalanche tutorial.
For additional in-person on-site youth training sessions please book a class with us! Our AvCan Youth Education Team will be traveling through Alberta, BC, and the Yukon from October through December to deliver the bulk of our programming. Other sessions will be available from January to March upon request.
We offer FREE educational outreach presentations and would be happy to come to your school or club!
For more information and to book a course send an email to email@example.com and we'll happily get you started.
Youth Programs Overview
With strong support from local communities, Avalanche Canada has successfully delivered avalanche education and winter awareness programs to students in communities across BC, Alberta, and the Yukon. Our goal is to reach students from K–12 with age-appropriate curriculum and training to help prepare them for their initial steps into the backcountry.
Hot topics include interactive presentations on winter safety for the younger ages that are relevant for ski hills, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and backcountry skiing/snowboarding. Moving up through the grades, we bring in the concepts of recognizing avalanche terrain, introducing avalanche safety gear, reading the avalanche forecast, the Mountain Weather Forecast, and using the Mountain Information Network. This information supports students with early awareness and preparation to continue learning while promoting a healthy outdoor lifestyle.
We also help secondary students prepare and enroll in their first certified AST (Avalanche Skills Training Course)
A subsidized AST 2 course was held in Revelstoke 2021 as a collaboration with Open Mountains Project, The Youth Network, and Avalanche Canada.
Bruno Long Photo
Youth Education Guidelines
The Youth Education Guidelines are guidelines for a winter safety program for Grades K–12. It begins with a focus on winter safety, then incorporates ski area, snowmobile, backcountry, and avalanche safety as students progress. The purpose of this document is to provide schools, educators, and teachers with a better idea of the grade-specific programming our AvCan youth instructors offer when they come to your classroom. These guidelines are also intended for educators to use if they want to teach these topics to their classrooms or outdoor clubs. These will always be rough guidelines as regional interests, teacher’s/educator’s winter knowledge, time allowance, and the previous year’s winter education will play large roles in providing winter safety education.
The contents of the guidelines are the culmination of discussions over years. The material has been put before a panel containing the following professions; principal, teacher, outdoor education teacher, outdoor program leader, avalanche professional, and Parks Canada employees. Click here to download the youth education guidelines document for snow safety and avalanche awareness education for Grades K-12.
Our AvCan Youth Education Team will be traveling through Alberta, BC and the Yukon from October through December to deliver the bulk of our programming. Other sessions will be available from January to March upon request.
We offer FREE educational outreach presentations and would be happy to come to your school or club. To book a program please contact the Youth Education Coordinator.
Resources right here at your fingertips!
These videos are a perfect start for your class. You can show them yourself, then follow up with our avalanche educators to elaborate and build off with an interactive in-class or live virtual presentation. Or have us do the training for your students! Our Avalanche Canada instructors are the pros with a high level of backcountry professionalism, training, and current certifications working in the industry as avalanche forecasters, guides, ski patrollers, and educators.
Resources for teachers
Avalanche Education Tool Boxes
We’ve assembled a box of avalanche safety gear for educational purposes. Our Tool Boxes allow students to familiarize themselves with essential backcountry gear and give them the opportunity to practice avalanche search techniques in a safe environment.
Each box contains transceivers, probes, shovels, snow saws, snow-study kits, and Companion Rescue Cards. This gear is specifically for training purposes only. None of the equipment should be taken into avalanche terrain because the transceivers are a not reliable source in the event of a real live rescue.
Renting the Tool Boxes is FREE on a first-come, first-served basis. To borrow a Tool Box please email Shannon Werner with ‘Tool Box’ as the subject line. Specify the dates you would like to receive the box, your school or program, city and province, and your contact information. Please note the dates must be flexible as we need to accommodate a number of communities over the winter.
Avalanche Safety Classroom Kit
- Avalanche Canada can provide educators with a FREE Avalanche Safety Classroom Kit that can include:
- Avalanche Danger Cards—outlines the North American Danger Rating Scale used in public avalanche bulletins
- Companion Rescue Cards— Gives step by step instructions for a companion rescue
To order an avalanche safety classroom kit, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. When ordering, please provide the following information:
- Which items you would like and the quantity
- Name of school/youth group
- Contact person, email, phone, and shipping address
- How many students and which grade(s)?
Online Resources for Teachers
- Avy Savvy is Avalanche Canada's Online Avalanche Tutorial. Avy Savvy is designed to be a precursor to the Avalanche Canada Training program. This resource has various engaging quizzes and exercises built into each chapter.
- Avalanche Canada video archives on Vimeo
This is a great resource with numerous videos covering a variety of avalanche awareness topics for both ski and snowmobile audiences.
- AdventureSmart e-learning platform
- BCA Companion Rescue video series: Four videos totaling 27 min.
- Rescue at Cherry Bowl:
Amazing case study. Five chapters with short videos (Three-year project to create.)
- Land of Thundering Snow
A great resource that goes through both avalanche basics and some very interesting history of avalanches in Canada.
- Avalanche Canada recorded Webinar Series
Catch up on our webinars, focusing on various aspects of avalanche safety, geared towards keeping you safe in avalanche terrains.
Many school districts are making an effort to promote outdoor learning this school year due to Covid-19. We believe this will increase demand for our outdoor training sessions. We are preparing for this by ensuring each of our instructors will have access to the additional equipment required to deliver these programs. All AvCan youth education staff and contractors will receive Covid-19 safety training prior to the start of their season.
Additionally, we are further developing our curriculum to allow for virtual delivery of our winter safety and avalanche awareness programming should schools prefer this option. For schools that request our traditional in-class delivery, we have Covid-19 protocols in place for our staff in addition to the school's protocols. Contact our Youth Education Coordinator, Shannon Werner to discuss which option will be best for your school.
You can find educational and avalanche photos in the the gallery below. Feel free to use these in your presentations. You can scroll through the gallery or search using the tag education or avalanche.
There are many organizations with excellent material and curriculum that deliver avalanche safety messages to youth audiences. If you do not find a program in your area, please email our Youth Education Coordinator and we may be able to link you to a professional in your community.
Avalanche Canada aims to increase the profile and reach of existing programs. Do you deliver a winter safety program? Email us with your program details and contact information, and we’ll add you to our list.
- AdventureSmart’s Snow Safety & Education Program, Canada wide, all ages
- Avalanche Awareness Beyond the Boundaries Society Nelson, BC and area, ages 12 and up
- Company of Adventurers Calgary and surrounding area, Grades 6 – 12
- Howe Sound Secondary School Outdoor Leadership Academy Squamish, BC, Grades 11 – 12
- Kananaskis Country Winter Safety Calgary and Bow Valley region, Grades 7 - 12
- Marmot Learning Centre Marmot Basin, AB, Grades 7 – 12
- Palisades Stewardship Education Centre Jasper Park, AB, Grades 10 – 12
- Vancouver Island School Ski Patroller Program Vancouver Island, ages 19 +
- Youth Safe Outdoors BC, AB (province-wide), Grades K – 12