AIARE’s Avalanche Scholarships seek to remove barriers.

As the popularity of backcountry snow sports continues to boom, avalanche education needs to keep reaching and empowering new entrants. This is the intent behind the Kizaki-Wolf American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) Scholarship. The aim of the scholarship is to promote avalanche education, while building a diverse community of avalanche professionals and recreationalists. Also intended to reach more motorized snow sports enthusiasts, it provides full or partial tuition for an Instructor Training Course, Course Leader Training Course, PRO 1, or PRO 2 course.

“We are really looking to create a diverse core of highly skilled professionals who can reach the user groups that we need to reach, and to provide those role models that will help drive down avalanche fatalities while also driving up professionalism and inclusivity,” says AIARE board member David Wolf. He and his wife, Norie Kizaki, who is a professional mountain guide, established the scholarship in 2017 to support underrepresented populations pursuing professional-level avalanche education.

“As a member of the backcountry skiing community and participant in avalanche education, I quickly realized that there are many barriers to entry into our world,” says Aidan Goldiem, a scholarship recipient for the 2020 season whose work as a teacher revolved around issues of equity in education. “A terrifying number of kids that live in my mountain town will venture into their backyard mountains without any avalanche education because there are so many barriers to gain that education. This is what I find so remarkable about the Kizaki-Wolf scholarship. It’s intentionally designed to help make avalanche education more inclusive and attainable.”

Taylor Hartman was a recipient of the scholarship in 2019, and this season she will continue to put her training to use as a winter ranger at Olympic National Park. “I help visitors enjoy winter recreation safely as well as collect snow and avalanche data,” she says. “I also use lessons learned in AIARE courses in my own adventures.”