MEC Honored to Receive the Coveted Gordon Ritchie Service Award from Avalanche Canada

July 8, 2024

Acknowledging the company’s exceptional commitment and dedication to public avalanche safety.

VANCOUVER, Canada (July 8th, 2024) /OUTDOOR SPORTSWIRE/ – Mountain Equipment Company (MEC), Canada’s most trusted outdoor brand, has been awarded the esteemed Avalanche Canada Gordon Ritchie Service Award, marking only the second time it’s been bestowed to a company, not an individual. This recognition underscores MEC’s dedication beyond providing outdoor gear and apparel; it reflects the company’s mission and dedication to programs and initiatives that enhance outdoor enthusiasts’ safety and well-being.

Established in 2009, the Gordon Ritchie Service Award acknowledges individuals or organizations demonstrating exceptional commitment to public avalanche safety. Mountain Equipment Company – MEC, is only the second organization to win this award in its 15-year history.

Avalanche Canada considered MEC for the award based on several key criteria:

  • Long-term uninterrupted support
  • Significance of support
  • Genuine commitment to the cause
  • Non-monetary contributions, including amplifying and supporting Avalanche Canada’s message, collaborating on initiatives, and fostering a two-way relationship.

“We are deeply honored to receive the Gordon Ritchie Service Award from Avalanche Canada,” said Caitlin Brown, Senior Community Manager at MEC. ” We have been a partner for over 20 years and this recognition reaffirms our longstanding commitment to fostering a culture of safety and responsibility in the outdoor community. As backcountry access and activities grow in popularity across Canada, MEC has a responsibility to promote and educate safety in the backcountry and we are proud to collaborate with Avalanche Canada in doing this.”

As the presenting sponsor of Avalanche Canada’s Avalanche Skill Training (AST) program, MEC provides funding to keep the curriculum updated with the latest in avalanche research, tools and techniques. An impressive 12,000 students learn avalanche safety skills through this program each year.

MEC also funds an Avalanche Safety Grant every year, aimed at nonprofit organizations that serve racialized communities, to support more people gaining access to winter backcountry safety training.

Avalanche Canada’s Executive Director, Gilles Valade, expressed gratitude for MEC’s ongoing partnership at a presentation ceremony held at the MEC Vancouver store recently.

“MEC’s unwavering dedication to public avalanche safety has significantly contributed to our organization’s ability to fulfill its mission. We are delighted to recognize MEC’s exceptional support and look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts to promote safe outdoor recreation.”


Established in 1971, Mountain Equipment Company (MEC) is Canada’s go-to place for technical outdoor gear, knowledge and inspiration.  Combining high-quality apparel and equipment with expert advice and first-hand experience. MEC was recognised as Canadas Most Trusted Brand for 2023 by the The Gustavson Brand Trust Index, reflecting the company’s long-term commitment to fostering trust by delivering exceptional customer experiences, and offering unparalleled value on affordable, quality outdoor gear.

As one of Canada’s Greenest Employers, MEC is a strong backer of sustainability and community initiatives and has invested over $48 million into non-profit organizations that support outdoor recreation and conservation. It supports a wide range of activities including camping, snowsports, watersports, cycling, climbing, hiking, trail running and travel.

For more information, visit www.mec.ca, follow @mec, or visit one of our stores nationwide.


Avalanche Canada is Canada’s national public avalanche safety organization. Incorporated in 2004, it is a non-government, not-for-profit organization that issues daily avalanche forecasts throughout the winter for much of the mountainous regions of western Canada. It also coordinates and delivers avalanche awareness and education programs, provides curriculum and support to instructors of Avalanche Canada training programs, acts as a central point-of-contact for avalanche information, and works closely with many different avalanche research projects, both in Canada and abroad.

For more information, visit www.avalanche.ca, follow @avalanchecanada, and download the Avalanche Canada Mobile app.



Clara Parker