Andrew McLean recent got in touch with me about this, and I thought it would be good to get it on the record here at WildSnow. The unique thing about this fund is that it’s for skiers. Thus, I’d hope some of you blog readers would be applying for some grants soon, as any number of you guys could probably cook something up that is deserving.
According to Andrew:
A group of Hans’s friends and family set this fund up to support avalanche education in Montana, and through the financial genius of Drew Sessel (Chairman of the HSMF) they have put together a very, very cool program to fund both avalanche education and, the latest, an exploration fund. The exploration fund is unique as it is geared specifically toward ski mountaineering objectives. The HSMF is an on-going, well funded program that will be around for years.
I’m on the Board of Directors and am one of six people awarding the expedition grants, but if I wwasn’t, I’d be applying for the grant for sure! As far as the awards go, it is up there with the Polartec Grant, which gives away enough money to actually make a difference on a trip to Asia, Baffin Island or somewhere unique. It also has a safety component to it, asking applicants what they will do both physically and mentally to minimize the dangers. Another important part of it is that the trip documentation will be considered as part of the grant, whether it be photography, writing, a film, painting, etc..
To me, one of the appealing parts of this grant is that it is a combination of both skiing and creativity. It is not just skiing a burly line somewhere and then keeping it to yourself. The idea is to specifically help individual ski mountaineers, but also more generally promote the sport of ski mountaineering.
All of the info is available at: http://www.hansfund.org/index.php
There is also some good background info about Hans on the site as well. I met him years ago on a trip with Alex Lowe on what was probably one of Hans’s first ski mountaineering outings. The skiing was good, but even more memorable was seeing Hans turned on to ski mountaineering. It was like he had found his calling and over the next few years he went on a rampage of skiing first descents in Montana, traveling to South America, over to Asia and all over in the Tetons.