Applications Due October 27th

2023/24 Program Structure

Training Field Days: 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. The training will be led by Julz Holder of Grounding Truth Holistic Guiding with support from NWAC forecasters and non-profit staff. Day 1 will focus around building skills to support teaching discrete sections of a Level 1 and day 2 will be a tour day providing an opportunity to ask any and all questions from the professionals. Accommodations will be provided for the training.

Dates: January 13-14, 2024
Location: Baker Backcountry – Lodging Provided

Level 1 or 2 Shadow: Mentees will be connected with staff at Alpine Ascents International to shadow a Level 1 or Level 2 AIARE course based on participant and guide service availability. Accommodations not provided.

Dates: February or March 2024

Forecaster Shadow: Mentees will have the opportunity to shadow NWAC forecasters. Mentees will be paired with forecasters depending on career interest, geography, and availability. Accommodations not provided.

Dates: February & March 2024


  • 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 women (transgender or cisgender) that are aspiring to become 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 an AIARE Level 1 course or Level 2. 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 an NWAC forecaster for a day in the field. This program is open to any woman who is interested or curious in pursuing a job or career in the avalanche industry.

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 women aspiring to become avalanche professionals. Mentees worked with active professionals in the avalanche industry to assist in a SheJumps AIARE Level 1 course, shadow professionals in their area of interest, and receive structured feedback and guidance.

Though gender disparity across recreational snow sports 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 by helping women build the connections and experience necessary to advance toward professional avalanche work.

Photo: Diana Bartos