Canadian Avalanche Association
The Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA) is a not-for-profit, non-government organization that serves and supports the diverse community of professional avalanche operations in Canada. The CAA establishes technical standards, delivers specialized programs and services, and represents the avalanche community to external stakeholders.
Members of HeliCat Canada constitute a vital and growing component of the community of professional avalanche operations in Canada.
The programs and services of the CAA have helped to create and continue to foster the world-class professional operating environment for front-line avalanche safety operations in Canada. The work of the CAA includes:
1. Establishing technical standards for avalanche work in Canada:
- Observation Guidelines & Recording Standards for Weather, Snowpack and Avalanches, a standard for collecting and communicating avalanche data within and between organizations.
- Canadian Avalanche Association Markup Language, a standard for communicating and translating avalanche data in differing electronic formats between organizations.
- Guidelines for Snow Avalanche Risk Determination and Mapping in Canada, a standard for engineers, geoscientists, and others to quantify and map avalanche risks to structures, transportation corridors, and other human activities.
- Avalanche Control Procedures, a standard for avalanche control using explosives, developed in collaboration with the BC Workers Compensation Board.
2. Developing and providing technical training courses for avalanche workers:
- Avalanche Safety for Ski Operations, Levels 1 and 2 (guiding certification prerequisites)
- Avalanche Management for Resource and Transportation Industries
- Avalanche Control Blasting
- Introductory and Advanced Snow Avalanche Mapping
- Weather Skills for Avalanche Professionals
- Professional Development seminars
3. Providing operational support services for front-line organizations:
- InfoEx, a system for the daily exchange of weather, snow, and avalanche observations between professional operations across Western Canada. Through InfoEx, the more than 80 subscribers can access valuable data that can help them better assess and manage the avalanche risk within their own operations.
- Specialized mountain weather forecasts and products. The CAA contracts with Meteorological Services of Canada and other agencies to generate specialized mountain weather forecasts. The CAA also has developed access to networks of remote weather stations, and provides this important information to avalanche safety operators.
- Rescue Resource Directory. A comprehensive, annually updated directory of emergency contact information for organizations and agencies that can be called to assist with avalanche accident response or subsequent investigations. This directory is an essential component of the emergency response plans for backcountry operators, ski areas, and a host of other organizations.
4. Providing issue resolution, representation, and advocacy for the community of professional avalanche operations in Canada:
- Liaison and issue resolution with national avalanche organizations in other countries around the world, and dissemination of noteworthy information within Canada. Examples of this work include collaborations through the Avalanche Committee of the International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR), development of the International Avalanche Danger Scale, databases, data standards, multi-lingual glossaries, etc.
- Facilitating mutually beneficial issue resolution and collaborations between organizations such as the HeliCat Canada, Backcountry Lodge Operators of BC, Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, Canada Ski Guide Association, Provincial Workers Compensation Boards, Coroners Services, police services, National Search and Rescue Secretariat, university avalanche research programs, etc.
- Serving as the point of contact for the avalanche industry's safety- or workplace-related issues, such as emergency stop work orders, consultations regarding federal and provincial regulatory issues, etc.
- Generating evaluations and position statements on avalanche community issues such as standards for or efficacy of avalanche safety technologies.
- Providing free Public and Technical Meetings in the spring of each year, promoting knowledge and technology transfer within the Canadian avalanche community through the presentation of new avalanche research results and operational developments.
- Publication of Avalanche News, a quarterly magazine that documents issues and events of interest to avalanche safety operations in Canada.
For more information about the CAA's programs and services visit our website at www.avalanche.ca