A local ski guide has teamed up with a few companies to create a scholarship to bestow on someone interested in becoming a guide.
Sofia Forsman, who is an Association of Canadian Mountain Guide (ACMG) apprentice ski guide, said that becoming a guide can be a long process given the number of prerequisites required before applying to ACMG certification programs.
“You need to take a bunch of avalanche courses; you need to take weather forecasting courses, first aid courses,” she explained. “It's a huge life and time and money commitment.”
Having gone through that commitment herself, even spending several years living in her car to reduce costs, Forsman wanted to provide a tangible way to give a boost to someone interested in taking on a career in guiding.
“I was thinking,” she said. “What would have been beneficial for me when I went through the program? What would have made it easier for me?”
Together with Vancouver’s Steamworks Brewing and Whistler’s Rocky Mountain Underground, they created a $2,500 scholarship for one recipient. Interesting folks can apply until the end of March.
An important aspect of the scholarship to Forsman was that it was available to everyone.
“I just wanted this scholarship to be open to all,” said Forsman. “The most inclusive way to approach it was to simply be inclusive, not exclusive.”
Forsman also said the application process is relatively simple, with just a few questions and one or two short reference statements.
Another bonus of the scholarship is the recipient will be working closely with Forsman.
She will mentor the recipient and follow up with them about the process, offering insights along the way.
Plus, the recipient will join Forsman for a week-long, on-the-ground learning session.
“They'll get to come for a whole week of ski training with me as a practicum,” said Forsman. “So they'll get to be in the backseat and see what it is actually like to be a guide because that's ideally where you learn the most.”
If needed, there will also be help attaining gear for the winner.
Although this is the first time this scholarship is being awarded, Forsman definitely hopes to have it back in the future. Additionally, she said she hopes that this scholarship can help build the guiding community in the Sea to Sky Corridor and continue to build excellent backcountry awareness.
“If we can build a more of a community base here and get education out and get the public involved, then we're gonna be so much better off as an outdoor community too,” she said.
The application for the scholarship is available online at Rocky Mountain Underground’s website at MTNCulture.com.