Panel Discussion #1

Next Level Professionalism: Integrating Professional Snowmobilers with Established Snow and Avalanche Communities

Monday October 5, 10:30-12:00 MDT

Mountain snowmobiling in avalanche terrain isn’t new. What is relatively new is the emergence of professional snowmobile avalanche practitioners. These sled-based avalanche professionals are fully steeped in their sport and have knowledge and insights that aren’t apparent to those of us from skiing or other backgrounds. This means there are hard-won lessons and ways of doing things that are unique to sledders, and are different from common practices found in other established professional avalanche communities.

This panel discussion will explore new and emerging insights and practices that snowmobile avalanche professionals use in their work. It will also address some of the challenges professional snowmobile avalanche practitioners face in convincing other avalanche practitioners their procedures are legitimate, and are proven best-practice methods for controlling avalanche risk.

Moderator: Curtis Pawliuk

Curtis is the owner of Frozen Pirate Snow Service, a snowmobile-based avalanche education and guiding company, based in Valemount, BC. He is also the General Manager of the Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association. 


Duncan Lee


Duncan hails from Lake Tahoe, California. He says: “My life revolves around the mountains, but I specifically have the most passion for winter and the backcountry. It has become a part of who I am. I believe in passing on as much knowledge as possible, through avalanche education for the motorized user.”

Martin Borg

Martin started SafeRideSweden to help educate mountain sledders in Sweden about avalanche safety. He is also a forecaster with the Swedish Avalanche Forecast Service. Martin has been sledding since he could walk but claims there is still so much more to learn on a sled.

Shelley Ferguson

Shelley is a professional snowmobile guide at Carl Kuster Mountain Park in BC’s Monashee Mountains.

Steve Scott

Steve is a CAA operations level 3 forecaster and guide at Great Canadian Snowmobile Tours in Revelstoke, BC. Lately, he has been working to start an accredited snowmobile guide association. 

We would like to thank the following for their generous support of the VSSW!

We would also like to recognize the following for their continued support of the ISSW 2021 to be held in October of 2021. View the ISSW 2021 sponsors.

Additional VSSW sponsorship opportunities are available, for more information contact: