Fernie local, Savannah Cash, received the Fernie Trails and Ski Touring Club’s (FT&STC) most recent $500 Avalanche Bursary to assist her in pursuing a professional career in the avalanche industry.
The FT&STC’s bursary program seeks to promote avalanche education, safety and awareness in the Elk Valley by distributing an annual total of $2,000 to local individuals pursuing careers in the avalanche industry.
“We’re seeing a lot of interest in a lot of people ski touring, and accessing the backcountry, and our ski hill has probably one of the largest avalanche control programs all around,” said president of the club, Ian Stokie.
“With more and more people going into the backcountry, we just felt like (this bursary) was a good way to help some people with those goals – and we’re every much interested in encouraging some younger people to be involved in our club.”
Cash will be using the funding to complete the Canadian Avalanche Association’s Avalanche Operations Level One course this upcoming February.
“The MAST program showed me a lot of the different opportunities there are in the avalanche industry, so the next year I hope to get a job as ski patrol,” said Cash, a student of College of the Rockies’ Mountain Adventures Skills Training (MAST) program.
“I’d love it if I got a job here at Fernie Alpine Resort, and then maybe one day become a tail guide and a ski guide and work my way up from there.”
According to Cash, receiving the FT&STC’s bursary has helped lift the financial burden associated with the CAA’s course, which runs at roughly $2,500.
“This bursary definitely means a lot, and with this bursary I hope to stay in Fernie and work in the avalanche industry here and give back to the community.”
The FT&STC’s Avalanche Bursary program has been helping fund local avalanche education for the past eight years.
The bursaries aim to help cover costs for introductory Avalanche Safety Training courses, or completing level one or two of the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA) Industry Training Program.
Those interested in applying must submit applications to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration. For more information, visit the FT&STC’s website at fernietrails.com.