TELLURIDE, CO – The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), along with title partners Mammut and the GORE-TEX Brand and supporting partner RAB, have launched the third season of AIARE’s Women’s Mentorship Program . The program aims to welcome women across all levels of experience to the snow and avalanche industry, build networks, and provide a mentorship model that participants can replicate throughout their careers to support women in sustainable careers in the avalanche industry.
With the support of 14 mentors, the program served over 70 mentees in its first two seasons. Seventeen of those women have taken their AIARE Professional (PRO) 1 course, the industry’s entry-level professional course, and six have become certified AIARE instructors. Graduates of AIARE PRO 1 serve hundreds of mountain goers in their various professional roles, including patrollers and forecasters. Additionally, 1,728 avalanche education students were taught an avalanche education course by women who went through the program, and that number will continue to increase every year.
“While this number might not sound huge, when you think about the number of mountain-goers these women will reach through their varied professional roles—including instructing, ski patrol, and forecasting—you start to really understand the ripple effect of this program,” says AIARE Executive Director Vickie Hormuth. “Many of these professionals hold multiple positions throughout any given season, and their impact extends far beyond formal avalanche education courses.”
AIARE knows that representation and mentorship in our heavily male-dominated industry are key to creating healthy, balanced careers for women—and, as a result, meaningful change—in the community. The non-profit organization also offers affinity-based professional training and scholarship funding to help alleviate barriers to entry for those seeking to become professional educators or on-snow professionals.
“The program’s evolution is guided by our participants and the support they need,” explains AIARE Women’s Mentorship Program Manager Azissa Singh. Last season, applicants expressed the need for AIARE to serve Alaska and the Northeast beyond the Mountain West. We’re excited to offer cohorts in both areas this season. With the learnings from our upcoming season, we’ll also be convening a paid working group to help us dive into how to more holistically support those outside the gender binary to further evolve the program for next season.”
“Community engagement and mentorship is at the core of our business, and we believe our time spent in the mountains has the power to transform lives and create meaningful connections,” said Maddie Petry, VP of Marketing at Mammut. “We are thrilled to join forces with AIARE’s Women’s Mentorship Program to do just that and help provide resources for generations of women professionals in the snow and avalanche industry. Through this partnership we hope to lessen the barrier for women aspiring to grow and sustain a professional career, helping others safely explore our outdoor playgrounds.”
“The GORE-TEX Brand is proud to sponsor the AIARE Women’s Mentorship Program for a second consecutive year,” said Nora Stowell, Global Sales & Marketing Leader for the GORE-TEX Brand. “We are pleased to continue to champion efforts to make the outdoors inclusive and accessible for everyone. As an avid backcountry skier, I know firsthand the value AIARE’s Women’s Mentorship Program offers by providing the essential education and critical skills needed by every mountain goer to ensure their safety and protection.”
“Women are making more of a mark on the snow sports industry than ever, and Rab is thrilled and honored to support all women-identifying adventurers who want to level up their avalanche safety knowledge through AIARE’s Women’s Mentorship Program,” said Eli Bernstein, a spokesperson for Rab. “Rab enthusiastically supports the Women Mentorship Program’s mission of fostering an environment in which women-identifying avalanche professionals can receive the training they need, as well as provide leadership for and impart crucial knowledge to others who are finding their feet in this close-knit field. Along with AIARE, Rab is leading the way for avalanche safety education to become a more inclusive
The application period for mentors is open from August 15 through September 15; mentee applications
will be open from September 1 through October 1.
In addition to running the Women’s Mentorship Program and offering women’s affinity courses to train AIARE instructors and aspiring avalanche professionals this season, AIARE will host a virtual conversation series with three events in December. These interview-style conversations will feature women across the snow and avalanche industry and are open to anyone interested in learning more. For additional information about the Women’s Mentorship Program and other opportunities that AIARE offers to support women’s advancement, visit: https://avtraining.org/womens-mentorship/.
AIARE was established in 1998 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization to create a researched-
based avalanche education model for backcountry users with the belief that avalanche education,
research, and training can prevent injuries and fatalities due to avalanches. AIARE develops and
disseminates research-based avalanche curriculum to over 115 Providers in the US, South America, and
Europe. For more information, visit avtraining.org or contact Executive Director Vickie Hormuth at