MEC Avalanche Safety Grant Provides AST Courses for IBPOC Organizations for the 2023-24 Season

Avalanche Canada is partnering with MEC to make AST courses more accessible to all Canadians.

Individuals snowshoeing in the mountains during an AST 1 course

Avalanche Canada is thrilled to announce the return of the MEC Avalanche Safety Grant for the third consecutive year. This grant is aimed at increasing accessibility to the winter backcountry for non-profit organizations serving marginalized communities. With the generous support of MEC, this grant will fund four AST 1 courses this winter for non-profit organizations serving IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, people of colour) communities.

“Avalanche Canada recognizes that marginalized communities face disproportionate barriers in accessing winter backcountry pursuits in Canada,” explains Gilles Valade, Executive Director of Avalanche Canada. “We are grateful to partner with MEC to reduce some of these barriers and enable even more Canadians to pursue outdoor adventures safely.”

Last season, four groups took advantage of the grant to further their knowledge about backcountry safety. A participant with the Howl Experience shared their experience stating, “After attending the Avalanche Skills Training course with Howl this February, I feel much more confident navigating the backcountry safely. Before the course, I had minimal knowledge of the risks and what to be aware of in avalanche terrain. Our instructors were very knowledgeable, engaging, and happy to answer questions from our group.” 

Backcountry Access also generously contributed to this initiative by providing two boxes of safety gear, each with eight sets of avalanche transceivers, shovels, and probes for use on these courses.

The MEC Avalanche Safety Grant is integral to our ongoing commitment to ensure that our programs and services are welcoming to all of Canada’s diverse population.

If you would like to apply or are aware of any organizations that would benefit from this program, click here for an application form. The application deadline is November 6, 2023.