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Here is a bit about us.

Avalanche Canada: The Home of Public Avalanche Safety in Canada

Avalanche Canada is a non-government, not-for-profit organization dedicated to public avalanche safety. We issue daily avalanche forecasts throughout the winter for much of the mountainous regions of western Canada, providing this free information via our website and our app, Avalanche Canada Mobile. We also coordinate and deliver avalanche awareness and education programs, provide curriculum and support to instructors of Avalanche Canada training programs, act as a central point-of-contact for avalanche information, and work closely with many different avalanche research projects, both at home and abroad.

We published a booklet describing our work. Please click here to take a look.


Inspirer les adeptes de plein air, susciter leur participation et leur donner les moyens nécessaires pour profiter de l’arrière-pays en hiver au Canada et rester à l’abri des avalanches.


Encourager et éduquer les gens à profiter de l’arrièrepays en hiver de manière sécuritaire en développant, coordonnant, préconisant et livrant des programmes et des services de sécurité en matière d’avalanches de calibre mondial.


  • Notre engagement est de sensibiliser le grand public et tous ceux qui voyagent en terrain avalancheux aux risques d’avalanche et à offrir des formations de sécurité en avalanche.
  • Nous sommes une organisation inclusive et diversifiée qui offre des services à tous les adeptes d’activités récréatives hivernales.
  • Nous tentons de faire en sorte que tous nos programmes et services et toute notre documentation soient fondés sur des données et preuves scientifiques exactes.
  • Nous formons des relations et alliances stratégiques afin d’élargir la portée de nos programmes et de notre message.
  • Nous enquêtons afin de comprendre tous les facteurs qui mènent aux incidents impliquant des personnes en terrain avalancheux et nous soutenons ces enquêtes en encourageant la recherche.
  • Nous inspirons les gens à voyager dans l’arrière-pays et à participer à des activités récréatives hivernales de façon sécuritaire.
  • Nous attachons une grande importance à notre personnel et à la force collective, l’énergie et le leadership de notre communauté.
  • Nous créons un milieu de travail plaisant, professionnel et durable et offrons à notre personnel la chance de grandir et de s’épanouir.
  • Nous anticipons les défis et les changements et nous faisons preuve de créativité, de collaboration, de courage et d’enthousiasme audacieux pour y répondre.

Avalanche Canada Annual Reports

The Aspect

Avalanche Canada issues The Aspect monthly from September to April. This e-newsletter provides ongoing updates about our programs, products, and services, as well as insight into new projects, our challenges, and our successes. Below you can find links to previous editions of The Aspect. If you're interested in receiving The Aspect directly to your email, please see Join our Mailing List below.


Visit The Aspect archives for previous years' editions.

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Avalanche Canada Staff

Gilles ValadeExecutive Director
gvalade@avalanche.ca250-837-2141 ext 105
Karl KlassenWarning Service Manager
Mary ClaytonCommunications Director
mclayton@avalanche.ca250-837-2141 ext 109
Sarah TaylorDigital Content Coordinator
Alex CooperCommunications Associate
acooper@avalanche.ca250-837-2141 x107
Janis BordenComptroller
Breeana HartleyAssistant Controller
Brent StrandSnowmobile Outreach Coordinator
Jennifer GeorgeMarketing and Sponsorship
Nancy GeismarEducation and Outreach Coordinator
ngeismar@avalanche.ca250-837-2141 ext 110
Karl GuillotteIT Manager
Bryce SchroersSenior Software Developer
Russell McWhaeSoftware Developer
Tayt LowSoftware Developer
Amy ErvingAdministrative Assistant
Vince JauvinProperty and Building Upgrade Manager

Forecasting Staff

Forecasting OfficeForecasting Office
forecaster@avalanche.ca250-837-2141 ext 104
James FloyerForecasting Program Supervisor
Mark BenderForecasting Program Supervisor
Ilya StormForecasting Program Supervisor
Grant HelgesonSenior Avalanche Forecaster
Mike ConlanSenior Avalanche Forecaster
Simon HortonSenior Avalanche Forecaster

Shannon WernerYouth Education Coordinator, Avalanche Forecaster
Josh SmithAssistant Youth Education Coordinator, Avalanche Forecaster
Arienne HannaAvalanche Forecaster
Anne St. ClairAvalanche Forecaster
Lisa DreierAvalanche Forecaster
Diana SalyAvalanche Forecaster
Ryan BuhlerAvalanche Forecaster
Tyson RettieAvalanche Forecaster
Brad ChristieAvalanche Forecaster
Wendy LewisAvalanche Forecaster
Zoe RyanAvalanche Forecaster

Field Teams

Jennifer CoulterAvalanche Field Technician - South Rockies
Lisa LarsonAvalanche Field Technician - South Rockies
Leslie CrawleyAvalanche Field Technician, Youth Avalanche Instructor, South Rockies
Martina HalikAvalanche Field Technician - North Rockies
Dave MerrittAvalanche Field Technician - North Rockies
Ben HawkinsAvalanche Field Technician - North Rockies
Paul KehlerAvalanche Field Technican - North Rockies
James MinifieAvalanche Field Technician - Yukon
Jeni RudisillAvalanche Field Technican - Yukon
Drew NylenAvalanche Field Technician, Youth Avalanche Instructor, Yukon
Colin GarrittyAvalanche Forecaster, Avalanche Field Technician - Vancouver Island
Karina BakkerAvalanche Field Technician - Vancouver Island
Bill PhippsAvalanche Field Technician - Vancouver Island
Lucas HoltzmanAvalanche Field Technician - Northwest
Emily JonesAvalanche Field Technician - Northwest
Andy NicholsAvalanche Field Technician, Newfoundland
Peter ThurlowAvalanche Field Technician - Newfoundland

Youth Educators

Leslie CrawleyAvalanche Field Technician, Youth Avalanche Instructor, South Rockies
Drew NylenAvalanche Field Technician, Youth Avalanche Instructor, Yukon
Colin AdamsonYouth Education Instructor, South Kootenays
Abby CooperYouth Education Instructor, South Coast
Mel SaarinenYouth Education Instructor, South Rockies
Brittney DicksonYouth Education Instructor, East Kootenays
Heather AllenYouth Avalanche Instructor, West Kootenays & Okanagan
Claire ClarksonYouth Education Instructor, Alberta
Michelle BrazierYouth Education Instructor, Alberta
Oscar WhiteYouth Education Instructor, Kootenays

Board of Directors

Kevin SeelPresident

Kevin Seel holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in physical geography and a doctorate in environmental modeling from the University of Calgary. Kevin has worked on projects across Canada and the United States in a variety of industries including oil and gas, power, mining and forestry, as well as government and military research. He is currently a senior environmental consultant at Golder Associates.

Kevin has been on the board of directors since the fall of 2010 when he helped transition the organization through challenging financial and organizational changes. As the current president, Kevin will work with the board and staff to continue that journey. “We have world-class programs, services and people. The board’s job is to build on that successful framework and challenge ourselves to create an organization with sustainable funding and long-term partnerships to provide the rock-solid foundation we need.”

Kevin WilliamsVice President

A passionate backcountry skier and ski mountaineer, Kevin Williams has been involved in avalanche science, rescue and education since the early 1980s. As a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol System, he patrolled and was involved in avalanche work at Lake Louise, Fernie and Whistler. He was instrumental in the early development of the Avalanche Skills Training (AST) education program. Born in Montreal, Kevin holds a B.Eng and M.Sc (Geophysics) from McGill University and was a PhD candidate in avalanche research at UBC.

His work in oil and gas exploration has taken him to remote locations around the world—much of the past ten years have been spent in the Canadian Arctic and Newfoundland. Kevin spent two and a half decades living in Calgary and now calls Canmore home. Because of his dedication to the backcountry, Kevin calls himself “one of Avalanche Canada’s most avid clients.” He is happy to hold a position on the board. “Avalanche Canada delivers one of the best avalanche awareness, education and information systems in the world. I’m proud to contribute to an organization that has so much to offer.”

Mike McMynnTreasurer

Mike McMynn is a chartered professional accountant who has worked in both an accounting firm focusing on small businesses, including not-for-profit organizations, and in the oil and gas industry. His experience over the last 10 years includes tax, financial reporting, organizational structures, governance and team management. Mike is currently the controller of an oil and gas services company based in Calgary, Alberta.

Born and raised in Terrace, BC, Mike developed a passion for skiing and winter activities, a passion he now enjoys with his own family. Mike supported Avalanche Canada from 2012 to 2014, as a member of the audit and finance committee. “I thoroughly enjoy working for Avalanche Canada and I want to do everything I can to support an organization that teaches kids and families how to enjoy our amazing Canadian landscape safely, which is of utmost importance to me.”

William JacksonSecretary

William Jackson holds a BA Sc in electronic systems engineering from the University of Regina, and an MBA from Simon Fraser University. Focusing his studies around strategic management of technology, as well as having worked in the outdoor industry from a young age, William has combined both of these interests into his career today. Currently, William manages the business intelligence team at Arc’teryx Equipment. In this role, William is responsible for the day to day reporting and analytics functions, as well as supporting the key strategic initiatives for the organization.

Having grown up Northern British Columbia, William is an outdoor enthusiast whose passion lies in skiing, mountaineering and cycling. It is a rare occurrence when he isn’t doing one of these activities throughout the day. As a member of the Avalanche Canada Board, William’s goal is to ensure the organization maintains relevance with its existing consumers, while successfully educating future generations and reaching new audiences.

Catherine AngusDirector

Catherine Angus is a partner with Western Management Consultants. She has over 20 years of consulting experience delivering strategy, leadership, and transformation services across a diverse set of sectors. Helping organizations amplify their impact in the community is a real focus for Catherine, both in her professional and volunteer pursuits. Having worked with, and served on, a number of not-for-profit boards, Catherine holds the Institute of Corporate Directors designation (ICD.D). She has a multi-disciplinary education, with a BSc and BPHE from Queen’s University, MBA from the University of Calgary, and a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation.

As a passionate backcountry skier, Catherine is thrilled to play a part in helping Avalanche Canada maximize its impact in the outdoor recreational community, mapping out an ambitious future and delivering on the needs of current and future winter enthusiasts in Canada.

Christie CampbellDirector

Christie Campbell is an experienced commercial lawyer and litigator. In her current role as legal counsel at MEC, she provides advice at the intersection of the outdoors and the law on a daily basis. In her prior work as a litigator at two national law firms, Christie gained a broad range of legal experience and a healthy respect for risk management. Originally from Ontario, Christie moved to Vancouver in 2019 after completing a 3,000 km hike in New Zealand. She can be found in the mountains most weekends, climbing, hiking, or skiing. After two winters in the Coast Mountains, including her first season of backcountry skiing, Christie has gained a strong appreciation for the work of Avalanche Canada, and the role the organization plays in keeping our community safe.

Paul William ChattertonDirector

Paul Chatterton is the program director at Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Education Centre on Vancouver Island. Experiencing the impact nature and adventure activities have on youth inspires him to contribute to enhancing public access to outdoor recreation. Paul’s skills and experience include risk management of outdoor programs, leadership, organization, education and coordinating logistics in a fast-changing workplace. Prior to starting at SPL in 2005, Paul completed the adventure travel guide diploma and Bachelor's degree in tourism management from Thompson Rivers University and worked as a tourism consultant and guide. He still manages to instruct rock climbing a few times a year and leads winter school programs.

“Avalanche Canada has done a remarkable job developing educational tools and resources to enhance public safety for winter mountain travel,” he says. “I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to be part of the board to help guide its continued development."

Kelly GinglesDirector

Kelly was born and raised In Terrace, BC. He and grew up ski racing and graduated to being a ski instructor. After completing high school, he started snowmobiling. He spent two years in Europe before returning home to run the family business. Kelly ran National Car Rental franchises in 10 cities until selling them back to Enterprise and entering into early retirement. He now rents snowmobiles while enjoying skiing and heli-skiing as often as possible. He has been involved in a successful avalanche rescue, which led him to look into participating more with Avalanche Canada.

He is married to his wife Linda and they have three daughters that all enjoy skiing and snowboarding on Shames Mountain.

John IrvineDirector

John Irvine has 30 years of experience in the outdoor industry. He has spent most of his career working for major outdoor industry’s top brands such as Arc'teryx and MEC, and is now currently working with Patagonia in support of amplifying this iconic brand in the Canadian marketplace. With his experience in virtually all core functions of the outdoor industry business, John brings a strong skill-set of effective leadership in sales, marketing and operations. His passion for a wide range of outdoor activities, including ski touring keeps him passionate in supporting Avalanche Canada as a board member.

Terry PalechukDirector

Terry Palechuk is a lecturer and the diploma program coordinator in the adventure studies department at Thompson Rivers University. Terry has been active in the outdoor industry for over 35 years as an instructor, guide, program facilitator and business owner. Terry holds a Bachelor's degree in physical education, an MBA in community economic development, and is a professional member of the Canadian Avalanche Association. An avid backcountry skier for over 30 years, Terry instructs recreational and professional-level avalanche safety courses. He is an ACMG ski guide, and has worked in both the ski touring and mechanized ski industry.

Terry currently holds the position of chair of Avalanche Canada’s instructor training committee. “As an avid recreational and professional user of Avalanche Canada’s products and information, it is a privilege to have the opportunity to be part of a dynamic team,” says Terry. “I’m looking toward a sustainable and entrepreneurial future of an important organization with respect to public information and program delivery.”

Curtis PawliukDirector

Originally from Prince George, Curtis brings some northern BC perspective to the board. Curtis now lives in Valemount where he is the general manager of the Valemount Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA), a non-profit group that promotes and helps manage public recreation in the Valemount area. Curtis is a graduate of the northern outdoor adventure and ecotourism program from Prince George’s College of New Caledonia, and a professional member of the Canadian Avalanche Association. In addition to his position with VARDA, Curtis is also a member of Valemount’s volunteer fire/rescue team.

For a number of years now, VARDA has been at the forefront of promoting avalanche safety for its members and the mountain snowmobiling community in general. “I take pride in what Valemount and our umbrella organization, the Association of BC Snowmobile Clubs, has done to encourage avalanche education,” says Curtis. “Increasing the avalanche awareness of the recreational snowmobile community is something I pursue very heavily on a local level. I’m looking forward to bringing that desire to my position on the board of Avalanche Canada, and getting more involved on a provincial and national level.”

Jeremy ShierDirector

Jeremy Shier is a designated accountant with expertise in financial management and human resources within the not-for-profit sector. Jeremy has spent much of his career in operations management within various service sectors across Canada, and is currently in the role of manager of administrative services at the Britannia Community Services Centre Society, located in East Vancouver. Growing up in Ontario, Jeremy spent his winters ski racing and his summers as a canoe trip guide. Combining his passion for wilderness travel and skiing, Jeremy now spends his free time exploring the Coast Mountains, where he is very passionate about skiing deep powder safely.

Service Awards

The Gord Ritchie Service Award program began in the spring of 2009. This award was created to recognize individuals or organizations who have demonstrated a significant commitment to public avalanche safety in Canada. Originally the Avalanche Canada Service Award, it was named after Gord Ritchie in 2019 in honour of his contributions to public avalanche safety.


Bruce Jamieson

Dr. Bruce Jamieson has made numerous invaluable contributions to the avalanche industry over his 40-year career. He earned a PhD in avalanche mechanics in 1995 from the University of Calgary, where  became a professor of civil engineering. He held the NSERC Research Chair in Snow Avalanche Risk Control, and led the Applied Snow and Avalanche Research Group from 2004–2014. The research conducted by Bruce and his team led to many advances in avalanche safety. 

Bruce’s contributions to public avalanche safety are numerous and range from research to hazard assessment to education. At Avalanche Canada, we are most grateful for his generosity in sharing his considerable knowledge and expertise through teaching and writing. He has taught recreational and professional-level courses, and one of his books, Backcountry Avalanche Awareness, was the textbook for our AST 1 program for many years. 

While he is now retired from the university, Bruce continues to keep busy as a consultant. Through his long career, his influence on public avalanche safety has yet to be fully measured.


Dominic Boucher

Dominic is the long-time executive director of Avalanche Quebec and has played a leading role in promoting avalanche safety in Quebec for over 20 years. He was tapped to start a centre for avalanche expertise in Quebec following a tragedy on Jan. 1, 1999, when nine people were killed when an avalanche struck a school where people were celebrating the New Year in the remote community of Kangiqsualujjuaq .

Over the years, he has overseen the organization as it has grown to become Avalanche Quebec and, this year, celebrating its 20th anniversary. Avalanche Quebec provides education and outreach in La Belle Province, and produces daily avalanche forecasts for the Chic Choc Mountains. Dominic oversees a staff of seven that includes three avalanche technicians, three forecasters, and a communications specialist.

Dominic has also been instrumental in developing the next generation of avalanche professionals in Quebec. Since 2004, he has taught over 200 students in their first level of professional training, the CAA Avalanche Operations Level 1. Avalanche Quebec is a key partner as Avalanche Canada implements its national strategy and we would not be here today without Dominic’s contributions.


Gordon Ritchie

Gordon Ritchie has been instrumental in developing public avalanche education since he first became involved in the field in the 1980s. From developing of the first Recreational Avalanche Courses, to setting the foundations of the Avalanche Canada AST courses we have today, Gordon has been a constant in improving public avalanche safety. In addition to his work in education, Gordon has also served on the board of the CAA and was a founding member of the Avalanche Canada Foundation board, where he now serves as President.

To recognize Gordon’s enormous contributions to public avalanche safety, we are pleased to announce that the Service Award will be renamed to the Gordon Ritchie Service Award. It will be presented annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to public avalanche safety in Canada.


Chris Brookes

Chris Brookes is the Executive Director of the Alberta Snowmobile Association (ASA). Chris and the ASA has been a long-time supporter of Avalanche Canada and a strong advocate of avalanche safety training. Chris continues to demonstrate true leadership in his efforts to encourage avalanche safety training among snowmobilers. His support for our work has made a big difference and we are very pleased to recognize his work with this award.


Teck and Nic Milligan

Teck has been a very important and long-time sponsor of our South Rockies avalanche field team. Nic is the Manager of Social Responsibility for Teck and it is through his commitment and vision that we are able to support a full-time field team in the South Rockies region throughout the winter. The field team’s importance to Avalanche Canada’s programs and services for this region cannot be overstated. Truly, this is a model for other regions and we regularly point to Teck’s leadership as an example of outstanding corporate responsibility.


Deb & Dwayne Paynton

Working for Backcountry Access, the Deb and Dwayne Paynton have been in the avalanche safety business for many years. Over that time they have always been strong supporters of Avalanche Canada and very generous with their time and contributions. The Payntons have also played an important role as advisors to Avalanche Canada's snowmobile outreach.


David Jones

For his role in establishing AvCan's highly popular mountain weather forecast. The daily online service went live in November 2014 and proved immediately popular with users.


Grant Statham

For his outstanding contributions to public avalanche safety initiatives throughout his career as Mountain Risk Specialist for Parks Canada.


Randy Swenson

For his commitment to promoting avalanche safety in the snowmobiling community and his fundraising efforts through Team Thunderstruck.

Wade Galloway

For his efforts and energy organizing the Canuck Splitfest, an annual backcountry celebration and fundraiser for the Avalanche Canada Foundation.


Parks Canada

For their immense contributions to public avalanche safety in Canada, including the development of AvalX avalanche forecasting software.

Jeremy Hanke

For his ongoing dedication to promoting avalanche awareness within the mountain snowmobiling community.


Bill Marshall

For working tirelessly with non-government organizations to assist them in addressing their challenges with respect to managing avalanche hazards and safety.

Al Hodgson

For his leadership in uniting ABCSC member clubs in support of improved avalanche safety for snowmobiling in Canada.


Ken Gibson

For his dedication to the development of ATES terrain ratings for managed snowmobiling areas across the province.

Donna Broshko

For being the moving force behind fundraising events for public avalanche safety.


Kirstie Simpson

For actively promoting public avalanche safety and teaching avalanche courses in the Yukon for over 15 years.

Lori Zacaruk

For her contributions and dedication to advancing avalanche safety education for snowmobilers.

Contact Us

Ryan Buhler


Mailing Address: Box 560, Revelstoke, BC, V0E 2S0

Physical Address: 1596 Illecillewaet Road, Revelstoke, BC, V0E 2S1




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