MEC Avalanche Safety Grants Awarded

Four organizations receive MEC Avalanche Safety Grant

A group of ski tourers climb a gentle slope

Avalanche Canada is pleased to announce the recipients of the MEC Avalanche Safety Grant, which provides an Avalanche Canada Training course to four organizations serving IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour) communities.

“Avalanche Canada recognizes that some groups face disproportionate barriers in accessing winter backcountry pursuits,” explains Gilles Valade, Executive Director of Avalanche Canada. “We are very impressed with the work being done by these four organizations and are grateful to partner with MEC to provide them with a course from the Avalanche Canada Training program.”

The grant recipients are:

  • The Howl Experience
    Bow Valley, Alberta
    With a mission to create transformative programs for youth, Howl focuses on having at least 50% of their participants in all their programs coming from IBPoC and other racialized or marginalized communities. Howl provides highly subsidized programs to ensure barrier-free opportunities for youth.  
  • Indigenous Women Outdoors
    Pemberton, BC
    IWO is an all-Indigenous organization dedicated to the empowerment and well-being of Indigenous women through our connection to land and water. The organization’s goal is to ignite a spirit of empowerment, resilience, and connection among Indigenous women by providing them with the opportunity to explore and excel in outdoor sport activities.
  • Incluskivity
    Squamish, BC
    The mission of Incluskivity is to bridge the backcountry. The group aims to create an inclusive and psychologically safe space for IBPoC women and gender-diverse folks to recreate in the backcountry. “We focus on this community because we understand that a large barrier to accessing snow sport spaces is the lack of people who look like you.”
  •  K8 Mountaineering
    Calgary, Alberta
    K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta is the home of Filipino mountaineers and alpinists in Canada, whether freshly from the Philippines or long-time residents. K8 aims to fill the gap between Filipino immigrant mountaineers and the Canadian climbing community. K8 is also a support system for Filipinos wrestling with the emotional and psychological toll of resettling, through the healing power of the mountains.

 Thanks to generous funding from MEC, each group is organizing an Avalanche Skills Training course with the provider of their choice for up to eight of their members.

“MEC wants to celebrate and encourage inclusivity in the outdoors through community support. We've put a larger focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the work we do with our national partners, which includes co-developing grants available to IBPOC-led organizations and supporting DEI training and development at partner organizations,” says Caitlin Brown, community manager for MEC. “The MEC Avalanche Safety Grant is an example of how, together with Avalanche Canada, we’re striving to make the outdoors more inclusive.”

The MEC Avalanche Safety Grant was established to provide greater access to outdoor opportunities for racialized Canadians. Backcountry Access also contributed to this initiative by providing two boxes of safety gear, each with eight sets of avalanche transceivers, shovels, and probes.

Avalanche Canada is supported by MEC’s Outdoor Impact Program.