Avalanche Alliance Announces 2024 Grant Program Recipients

$71,000 in grants awarded to US avalanche centers to support projects serving high-use motorized user areas and expanding forecasting and education  

Photo by COAC Forecaster Elliott Reed/courtesy of Central Oregon Avalanche Center.

TELLURIDE, Colorado (June 13, 2024)—The Avalanche Alliance, a coalition united around bringing the snowsports industry together to promote safety in motorized winter sports, announced its 2024 grant recipients. The grants will go to US-based avalanche centers to help increase forecasting, education, and outreach among motorized users.

This grant is funded through the annual Avalanche Alliance Sweepstakes with additional funding from the Hunter Houle Memorial Foundation. The Avalanche Alliance awarded $71,000 to avalanche centers making long-term impacts for backcountry motorized users. The grants focus on projects serving high-use motorized areas and creating infrastructure to support forecasting and training.

The 2024 grant recipients and funding efforts include:

Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, $10,000: To help make daily avalanche forecasts viable for the Island Park area, a location prominently used by the motorized community.

Central Oregon Avalanche Center, $10,000: To provide two forecasts/advisories a week for Paulina Peak/Newberry Caldera, an area heavily utilized by the motorized community.

Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center, $15,000: To support the funding of a third forecast day focused on motorized zones and motorized outreach efforts.

Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center,$5,000: To purchase and install transceiver check stations at trailheads. The stations aim to direct motorized users to avalanche forecasts and other applicable safety information.

Alaska Avalanche Information Center,$14,000: To purchase and install a high-elevation weather station that will help recreational users make sound assessments of avalanche conditions before entering avalanche terrain in the Gulkana Glacier region.

Wallowa Avalanche Center, $12,000: To train motorized professional observers to better gather data and observations from an area with a high concentration of motorized users. Riding out of Halfway, OR, and Sumpter have become destination riding zones over the last ten years.

Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center,$5,000: To help complete a weather station to be deployed in the northern Snake River Range between Teton Pass and Alpine, WY.

“Being able to provide education is a huge step for our center and for the motorized community to get the resources they need to recreate safely in that area,” said Lauren Altemari, development director at the Central Oregon Avalanche Center and Avalanche Alliance grant recipient. We’re all backcountry users. It shouldn’t be, ‘Oh, your skier,’ or ‘Oh, your rider.’ We’re all out there playing in the same terrain and we should have equal opportunity for the same education.” 

“Seeing snowmobilers come together through the annual Avalanche Alliance sweepstakes to elevate and expand the support and products that avalanche forecast centers are providing for the motorized community is what the Avalanche Alliance is all about,” said John Summers, Avalanche Alliance member and Klim vice president of marketing. “These proceeds directly benefit the community and give us more data to help us manage risk while out in the backcountry.”

“While some avalanche centers across the U.S. are partially funded by the United States Forest Service, all rely on strong community support for their efforts to present the most up-to-date information,” said Vickie Hormuth, executive director of The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). “We support the Avalanche Alliance efforts to enhance avalanche centers’ ability to manage remote weather stations, track and interpret field data, and play an increasingly leading role in education efforts for underserved populations in the backcountry.” 

Additional funds from the Avalanche Alliance Sweepstakes will go towards the Avalanche Alliance Motorized Scholarship, managed by AIARE, which aims to increase the number of motorized students taking AIARE Motorized Recreational Courses, AIARE Professional Courses, and Instructor Training Courses. 

If you are interested in supporting the work of the Avalanche Alliance, visit here

About The Avalanche Alliance

The Avalanche Alliance is comprised of representatives from Klim, AIARE, and motorized industry professionals. Its mission is to raise avalanche awareness, facilitate training, and improve backcountry safety for motorized users. With a full spectrum of focuses ranging from sponsoring beacon check stations to supporting avalanche training educators, Avalanche Alliance is at the forefront of avalanche safety improvement. The ultimate goal is to have all motorized backcountry users adequately trained. Learn more at www.avalanche-alliance.org.

 

Photo Caption: A lot goes into issuing professional observations and providing weather information to the public. COAC forecasters are continually maintaining the Tyler Heilman Weather Station. Here is a before and after photo of the weather station. Photo by COAC Forecaster Elliott Reed/courtesy of Central Oregon Avalanche Center.