Online SplitFest 2021 a Huge Success

SplitFest 2021

Delivering outreach programs during a pandemic is not for the faint of heart. It requires ingenuity and vision to tackle old models that have been highly successful and rework them completely with fingers crossed. This year, instead of welcoming people to Revelstoke for our traditional weekend of great backcountry riding and that super-fun Saturday night event, we went online. Canuck Splitfest 2021 was three nights of webinars from Jan 8–10, along with an online auction. The event was a huge success with $24,000 being raised from the online auctions and prize draw, and another $4,000 from ticket sales to the webinars.

On Friday, Jan. 8, the focus was trip planning, and we were very excited to have a great list of speakers providing solid advice and special insights. Meteorologist Matt MacDonald talked about how to use long-range weather models to plan a trip. Our own Martina Halik, co-leader of our North Rockies field team and adventurer extraordinaire, shared personal stories about managing avalanche risk during her epic traverse of the Coast Range, from Squamish to Skagway. And ACMG member and Pro Splitboard Guide Adam Zok, shared tools for expert-level decision making and creating new plans on the fly.

The Saturday, Jan. 9, session featured panel discussions on three separate topics: what newbies need to know, mentorship, and gear. Panel moderator Ian Holmes, who heads up the popular FB page Backcountry YYC, did a great job of keeping the conversations on track, entertaining, and educational. Many thanks to the amazing lineup of professional athletes who handled the first two topics: Leanne Pelosi, Chris Rasman, Sandy Ward, Gill Andrewshenko, Jonathan Penfield, and Jessa Gilbert . In the final panel, we were very grateful to Jason Krauskopf from Local Supply Co., Simon Coward from Splitboard HQ, and Dan Webster from Alpenland Ski & Cycle, for their expert advice on gear.

Our Sunday, Jan. 10, keynote speaker was Matt Gunn, author of the Spearhead Backcountry Atlas. Matt gave a great talk about the amazing backcountry accessed from Whistler/Blackcomb, with some insights into the work of researching, writing, and publishing this incredible resource. Sunday was also our prize draw night and the announcement of online auction winners. There was almost $20K worth of prizes donated by our fantastic sponsors, and these were given out through prize draws and auction. Many lucky attendees were stoked to win!

Many thanks to our title sponsor, Eagle Pass Heliskiing, who provided the grand prize of a heli-assisted and guided backcountry day for four. We are so grateful to the whole list of sponsors who helped us make this event the most successful ever. Organizers Jennifer George, AvCan’s Marketing and Sponsorship Coordinator, the event’s coordinator, and AvCan Ambassador Abby Cooper, made SplitFest 2021 a resounding success on all fronts.

As one attendee put it: "I truly enjoyed the Splitfest webinar and hope there are more events like this in the works as it was super interesting and informative. It was a nice mental vacation nightly, feeding my curiosity and passion for the mountains. I greatly appreciate Avalanche Canada for taking the time to put it on, even if remotely due to the current environment."