Applications close November 25th

2021/22 Program Dates and Stucture

Mentorship training (all mentees must attend)- February 19 – 20

Steven’s Pass- February 26 – 27

Mount Baker- March 12 – 13

Training Weekend: All mentees will participate in a two day training to help them prepare for shadowing a Level 1 and build connections with other industry professionals.

Level 1 Shadow: Mentees will be divided into groups based on date availability and preference to shadow and assist in teaching an AIARE Level 1 course. Level 1 courses will all be taught by Alpine Ascents International in partnership with the SheJumps Snowpack program.

Forecaster Shadow: Mentees will have the opportunity to shadow NWAC forecasters. Mentees will be paired with forecasters depending on career interest, geography, and availability.

Requirements

  • All applicants must have completed an L1
  • Applicants must be interested in working professionally in the snow and avalanche industry

About the Program

The Women’s Mentorship Program aims to support aspiring female-identifying avalanche professionals by providing concrete pathways to working in the industry. 

As a participant  in this program, mentees will work with active professionals in the avalanche industry to assist in a SheJumps AIARE Level 1 course. Mentees will 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 will 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.

Photo: Diana Bartos
Photo: Diana Bartos
Photo: Tommy Yacoe

Program History

The Snowpack Avalanche Scholarship Program was founded 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 states, 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. Due to COVID only two women were able to complete the entire program.

In 2020/21, seven women completed the Women’s Mentorship Program, including shadowing AIARE L1s, and NWAC professionals. In 2021/22 we will bring four more women into the program.

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.

Photo: Diana Bartos