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Sam Higgins awarded Bursary for Avalanche Operations Level 1

Filed in Bursary by on November 10, 2020 • views: 374

Sam Higgins was awarded a $500 Bursary from the Fernie Trails & Ski Touring Club to pursue a professional career in the avalanche industry. We are pleased to support Sam with his Avalanche Operations Level 1 course and wish him the best.

Every year $2000 is available to help further avalanche education in the Elk Valley. The program has been in existence for the past decade and bursary applicants need to apply in writing to fernietrails@fernie.com for consideration. Read more here about the bursary program and past recipients.

Here is Sam’s application:

Dear Fernie Trails and Ski Touring Club,

My name is Sam Higgins and the following letter pertains to the generous bursary that is annually awarded to members of the Fernie community who are hoping to pursue a professional career in the avalanche industry. I feel that I hold the passion, commitment, and aspirations to be a strong practitioner in the industry as well as a deserving recipient of your bursary.

I grew up skiing and playing hockey my entire life. After wrapping up a long hockey career three seasons ago I realized that I was not cut out to spend my life living in a bustling city and felt much more at home in the mountains. Fernie has been my home for 2 years now and I am beyond lucky to have landed in this outdoors mecca. I spent last year as an auxiliary member of the Fernie Fire Department but had to take a step away this year due to several reasons. You can find me skiing, hiking, biking, camping, or fishing any day of the week given the season. My love for the Elk Valley grows daily and every time I can explore all that this amazing area has to offer, I fall even deeper under its spell. I plan to be here for a long time. I have been able to fully dedicate the last two winters to skiing and expanding my back-country touring awareness.

In the winter of 2017, I completed my AST 1 course through the University of Calgary. Since that time, I have amassed approximately 20 days a season from overnight hut trips to day trips throughout Kananaskis country, Rogers Pass, and the Elk Valley region. I am currently signed up to undertake the Fernie offering of the Avalanche Operations Level 1 course in February and cannot wait to expand my knowledge base with professional teaching and methods. At the end of last season, I completed my Online Introduction to Avalanche Operations Level 1 and found myself sad when I finished the course! The information, methodologies, and science behind the course chapters captivated me. I plan to spend the upcoming winter tackling a list of missions and to use my newly learned scientific methods to obtain experience investigating snow grain metamorphism, weather systems, and snow-pack tracking. I also found the behavioural and decision-making aspects of the introduction course to be extremely interesting so I will be paying special attention to cognitive processes.

My short-term goal for the following year is to get on as a tail guide with one of the local cat skiing outfits and garner as much experience from the professional level as possible. My long-term goal is to become a fully accredited ACMG or invest myself into the study of snow science and become a forecaster. I have not quite been able to decide which route I am more drawn to yet, as I am currently passionate and enthralled by it all, so hopefully the Ops 1 course reveals my deeper motivation. Both long term goals have me living and working in Fernie.

In conclusion I am very grateful that you have taken your time to read my letter and I hope that I match the criteria you are looking for in a successful recipient. I would be honored to be chosen from the worthy applicants and the financial relief would not be taken for granted.
Hope to see you in the hills.
Sincerely,

Sam

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