Vancouver Island Avalanche Bulletin struggles into another season, in style

For the past 12 years, the non-profit Vancouver Island Avalanche Centre Society (VIACS) and its team of professional avalanche forecasters has been delivering three-times weekly public avalanche bulletins throughout the winter season.

The Vancouver Island Avalanche Centre (VIAC) is gearing up for another season of providing avalanche safety information for Vancouver Islanders who recreate in the backcountry in winter.

It does this predominantly through its avalanche bulletin at islandavalanchebulletin.com. As has been the case for more than 12 years now, the centre continues to operate on the “bake sale” model to fund its public safety activities with grassroots funding coming directly from the avalanche bulletin’s users here on Vancouver Island.

“While we’ve managed to succeed in continuing to deliver avalanche forecasts to the public for a long time using this model, it can be a little challenging at times and always seems to threaten to be unsustainable in the long term,” says the VIAC president Ryan Shelly.

This year the organization’s flagship fundraising event, “The Party for the Bulletin” is taking the fun factor up a few notches with live dance music from Cumberland’s Fat Tugger. The outrageous combo is Corwin Fox’s party/dance project playing the clever and quirky lyrics he is known for to super danceable beats and raps from Corwin and guest MCs. The event also features a now legendary silent auction of the kind of gear backcountry sorts drool over. It all happens on Saturday , November. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Riding Fool Hostel in Cumberland. Tickets in advance at Eventbrite will likely sell out.

With winter on the way, the VIAC wants to remind everyone going into the backcountry of a few important things:

  • Get training. The Avalanche Skills Training One course is a weekend effort that is your entry ticket to recreating in avalanche terrain.
  • Get the gear. A transceiver, shovel and probe are the minimum gear requirements but of course suitable clothing, improvised shelter, fire starting, map and compass and many other items are essential.
  • Use the avalanche bulletin. Plan your trips to go into terrain appropriate to the current conditions.