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American Avalanche, Backcountry Access Partner on Professional Development Scholarship for Women

(Photo/Backcountry Access)
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Women’s-specific scholarships for avalanche work training are now available. Submit your application before December 6 for a chance to receive a $1,500 scholarship for the 2022/2023 winter season.

Professional-level avalanche courses can be a significant obstacle for many (but specifically, women) looking to progress in avalanche or backcountry work. And that is precisely why the non-profit American Avalanche Association (A3) and Backcountry Access (BCA) joined forces to eliminate the gender gap by providing a new scholarship program for female-identifying avalanche workers.

Each scholarship will include $1,500 in tuition support for women taking their Professional Level 1 or Professional Level 2 Avalanche courses.

Unlike recreational avalanche training for those who want to enjoy winters in the backcountry, the A3 (similar to AIARE) Professional Level 1 and 2 training is for those looking for employment in things like avalanche programs at ski areas, heli operations, snowcat and ski tour guiding, alpine guiding, snow science research, and more.

A 2020 professional census curated by A3 surveyed 628 people in winter occupations. The demographics showed that of the numbers received, just 10% of guides were female, 19% of professional patrollers were female, and only 4% of snow forecasters were female.

Nationally, the percentage of female ski patrollers hovers between 23% and 28%. The number of women working in snow and ski operations is on the rise.

(Photo/Backcountry Access)

“A3 is excited to support women in the avalanche industry,” stated Jayne Nolan, Executive Director of the nonprofit organization. “We see these scholarships as a great way to move the needle forward in terms of eliminating barriers to entry and roadblocks related to continued professional development.”

Scholarship Details & Program Options

Three scholarship recipients will each receive $1,500 to spend at any of the six Pro Training Course providers listed below:

Eligibility Requirements

  • Recipient must be a current Affiliate or Professional Member of the American Avalanche Association
  • Recipient must utilize scholarship for Pro 1 or Pro 2 Course with an approved A3 provider (above)
  • Scholarship must be utilized during the 2022-2023 winter season
  • Recipients must submit a Course Completion Certificate following the completion of their course. Upon receipt, the recipient will receive a reimbursement check for tuition
  • Scholarship cannot be used for travel or other related expenses
  • Scholarship recipients must provide a headshot and bio to A3/BCA as well as a follow-up quote and photo to be used in BCA and A3 promotional materials

(Photo/Backcountry Access)

How to Apply

To apply, you’ll need to fill out your name, number, and email address, and complete a quick questionnaire that consists of nine questions. You’ll have until December 6, 2022, to send in your application. For additional questions regarding the scholarship or application process, you can email Jayne Nolan at Jayne@avalanche.org.

The organizations will announce recipients on or by December 23, 2022.

“In the long term, A3 and BCA hope to expand the program to go beyond scholarships to mentorship and community development opportunities,” Nolan added.

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