The Snowpack Scholarship increases access to the backcountry mountains by providing free avalanche education to women with spots earmarked for women of color and individuals with demonstrated financial need. The Women’s Mentorship Program aims to support aspiring female-identifying avalanche professionals by providing concrete pathways to working in the industry.
The Snowpack Avalanche Scholarship Program was founded in 2019 by SheJumps and the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) with support by K2 Skis and Fremont Brewing in an effort to provide opportunities for affordable snow and avalanche safety education.
In 2018/19, the program provided 30 spots for AIARE Level 1 courses in Washington state. During the 2019/20 season, this program awarded another 30 spots to low-income women to take their AIARE Level 1 courses held in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, at 50-100% cost-paid.
In 2019/20, recognizing an opportunity to have greater impact and address gender disparity across the snow and avalanche professions, NWAC and SheJumps partnered to provide a mentorship program aimed at aspiring female-identifying avalanche professionals. Mentees worked with active professionals in the avalanche industry to assist in a SheJumps AIARE Level 1 course, shadowed professionals in their area of interest, and received structured feedback and guidance.
Though gender disparity across snow sports recreationally is decreasing, women make up approximately 10% of those paid to work in avalanche avoidance or mitigation including: professional ski patrol, mountain guides, avalanche educators, and forecasters. Given the lack of clear pathways working in these professions, mentorship is an important component to gaining experience and learning the trade, but can be elusive and challenging to find. The Women’s Mentorship Program was designed to address these challenges but helping women build the connections and experience necessary to advance towards professional avalanche work.
As a participant in this program, mentees work with active professionals in the avalanche industry to assist in a SheJumps AIARE Level 1 course. Mentees meet together with the guides and instructors before the AIARE Level 1 to organize their involvement in the program and make a plan for continuing mentorship and feedback.
Mentees also have the opportunity to job shadow in their personal area of interest (i.e. avalanche forecasting, ski guiding, avalanche education, ski patrolling, meteorology, non-profit management). This program is open to any woman and female-identifying individual who is interested or curious in pursuing a job or career in the avalanche industry.
The Women’s Mentorship Application is closed for the 2020/21 season.
Check back in the fall of 2021 for application information!