Avalanche Canada is getting $10 million from the province to help spread the word about avalanche awareness.

About 75 percent of all Canadian avalanche deaths happen in B.C., and about 90 percent of Avalanche Canada’s services are delivered in this province. 

The province says the grant will allow Avalanche Canada to expand its regional forecasts to underserved regions in B.C., increase its delivery of avalanche safety training for youth, and provide more programs for outdoor enthusiasts.

Solicitor general Mike Farnworth says Avalanche Canada has been advocating for funding certainty for a number of years, “and this grant responds to that need.” 

“The work Avalanche Canada does is vital to our public safety, particularly as interest in winter recreation grows and as the frequency of extreme weather increases due to climate change.” 

According to the province, Avalanche Canada can use the money, along with federal funding from 2019, to implement a National Avalanche Strategy.

“We are very grateful to the Government of B.C. for this funding,” said Gilles Valade, executive director, Avalanche Canada. 

“This ensures long-term sustainability for all our programs and allows us to expand our services to underserved regions of the province.”

An example of the ongoing avalanche risk on the south coast and Vancouver Island came back in early February.

That’s when an avalanche warning for the entire region was in place and then extended, after Comox Valley Search & Rescue reported that a ski touring group had triggered a size 2 avalanche that buried multiple people just north of Mt. Apps. 

The group was able to do a self-rescue but a woman suffered fractures to both legs and a dislocated shoulder.

About Avalanche Canada

Avalanche Canada is a non-government, not-for-profit organization dedicated to public avalanche safety. 

Among other things, it:

  • issues free daily avalanche forecasts throughout the winter for much of the mountainous regions of western Canada,
  • co-ordinates and delivers avalanche awareness and education programs,
  • provides curriculum and support to instructors of the Avalanche Canada Training programs,
  • acts as a central point of contact for avalanche information and
  • works closely with many different avalanche research projects, at home and abroad.