Member Awards

The ACMG relies on volunteer members to carry out many of the functions central to our operation and outreach. Members volunteer for positions on the Board of Directors, committees, events and other initiatives in support of the public interest. We also recognize the efforts of some of our paid staff who have shown exceptional dedication and have made significant contributions to the development and growth of the association. All these contributions are recognised through various awards.

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Distinguished Service Awards

Non-profit associations rely heavily on their memberships to provide volunteer time and energy. Most cannot function well without it. The ACMG recognizes exceptional contributions made by individuals to the Association, as well as to the guiding/instructing profession, through the presentation of a Distinguished Service Award.

In 2009, the ACMG began to recognize three levels of distinguished service: Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each of these represents successively greater contributions to the Association or the guiding community.

Jordy Shepherd - Platinum Distinguished Service Award
Jordy Shepherd is a rare breed of volunteer. Many people may volunteer for this or that, for a while, but Jordy has gone above and beyond, and then some. He has been on the ACMG Board of Directors for more than a decade as the Rockies Director and is also the current vice president. Jordy is the founder and chair for both the ACMG Mentorship Committee and the ACMG Public Engagement and Services Committee. He is also a member of the ACMG Scholarship Committee. That is a lot of volunteer time for someone who is also a realtor, volunteer fire fighter and BCA rep. Thank you, Jordy, for all your years of service, past, present, and future.

Ken Belanger- Platinum Distinguished Service Award
All of us contribute to our association in one way or another. We pay dues, volunteer some time, bring positive reputational value as good guides and instructors, contribute helpful ideas, or provide leadership at various levels. And then there's Ken. In 2006, the ACMG received $4000 from Arc'teryx, our sole partner. Sixteen years later, the partnership program developed by Ken brought in nearly one quarter of a million dollars in cash and product from more than two dozen partners, a stun- ning increase due almost entirely to his efforts. To watch him work with a partner to ensure that both they and the ACMG get what they need from the deal is to watch a master craftsman at the top of their game. As if that wouldn't be enough to earn him a Platinum level service award, add the dozens of amazing pro-purchase opportunities that save us thousands of dollars on the gear we need.

Mark Klassen - Platinum Distinguished Service Award
It seems that Mark has received several awards from the ACMG in the past, and the reason is remarkable. It is because he cares deeply about the ACMG and the well-being of its members. He has volunteered for many years on many committees and working groups. This Platinum award is in recognition of that accumulation of incredible volunteerism. Mark has been involved in 30 significant initiatives and volunteer roles in his long career. Suffice to say, it is remarkable. It has contributed to the growth of the ACMG in meaningful and fundamentally positive ways.

Marc Piché - Platinum Distinguished Service Award
Marc has been awarded the ACMG Platinum award. It is not just because he ticked off the 11-to-15-year criteria. It is because of what he did during that time. Marc served as Technical Director for 12 years. Here are a few of his accomplishments. The ACMG Scope of Practice is a solid document that is now the envy of any IFMGA country. Marc has attended numerous IFMGA AGMs and Technical committee meetings. He has shown leadership, helping move the mountain guiding industry towards a modern world. Convincing old-world traditional mountain guiding associations to accept specialties and remain relevant is no easy task.

Christoph Dietzfelbinger- Gold – Distinguished Service Award
This award recognizes Christoph's long term commitment to excellence, safety, course instruction, mentoring, and support to the ACMG. His passion has inspired us all. The ACMG has benefited by having him as such an engaged member. His voice and views have had an important and positive influence over our membership for many years.

Renata Lewis - Silver Distinguished Service Award
Emerg Doc / SAR responder, Apprentice Hiking Guide based out of Whistler) has also contributed to Covid awareness, including participating on panels and advising Kevin regarding vaccine policy, protocols, and messaging. Long involvement with SAR, providing CPD's for guides and avalanche professionals, heavily involved in AvSAR curriculum development and teaching; leading edge of SAR education in Canada.

Chris Turner - Silver Distinguished Service Award
Informing ACMG Members in health issues, particularly Covid updates. For his work and counsel on COVID related topics. For using his expertise as a doctor to help the ACMG understand and find strategies to deal with COVID. His dedication to guiding and sharing of medical expertise.

Janet Miller - Platinum Distinguished Service Award
Janet has worked and volunteered for the ACMG for far longer than the requisite ten years required for this award. We would not be anywhere near where we are today without all her time, effort and energy. She has handled the permits portfolio since 2004, managing it through significant evolution. Janet has also volunteered since 1996 for events and on committees, including chairing the Hiking Guide Committee and sitting on the Member Services Committee.

Marc Ledwidge - Platinum Distinguished Service Award
Marc stood for three two-year terms as ACMG President during challenging and time-consuming years, as well as volunteering for numerous years on a variety of committees. His push to establish the ACMG as a truly national association was in large part responsible for the current partnership with Rando-Quebec.

Todd Guyn - Platinum Distinguished Service Award
With over five years volunteering as the TD and another 10+ years on the TC since then, Todd's service to the ACMG has been long and invaluable.

Madeleine Martin-Preney - Silver Distinguished Service Award
Madeleine deservedly received this award for her work in creating and chairing the Mentorship Committee, as well as for her time on the Board of Directors for which she is currently serving her second term.

Rachel Reimer - Silver Distinguished Service Award
Rachel received this award for her continuing work on leading the gender, diversity and mental health initiative within the ACMG and also with our sister organizations; Canadian Avalanche Association and Helicat Canada.

Diny Harrison -Platinum Distinguished Service Award
Diny became an integral part of the ACMG in 2001, volunteering on the Board of Directors. In 2003, Diny became the first female vice president - and shortly thereafter, President, of the ACMG. By extension, she also became the first female representative of an IFMGA country – in the world! Not ever being one to conform to status quo, Diny saw an opportunity to reconfigure the ACMG: to pull it out of the somewhat static structure it had become; and to help create a more dynamic association that has broader goals than just member services. She implemented a visioning session which resulted in the ongoing revision of the constitution and by-laws.

Alison Dakin – Silver Distinguished Service Award
Alison received the award for her ground-breaking work and dedication to developing and organizing our very successful CPD program.

James Blench – Platinum Distinguished Service Award
James was awarded the Platinum Distinguished Service award (highest level) for his more than 26 years of work on the ACMG Technical Committee. His many contributions to the Canadian guid- ing community have come in many forms - educator, mentor, consultant, curriculum developer and many more. Most ACMG and CAA members have benefited directly from James’ hard work. James continues to serve the membership by sharing his wisdom as an active and engaged member of the Technical Committee.

Sylvia Forest – Silver Distinguished Service Award
Sylvia was the fifth Canadian woman to become a Mountain Guide and has faithfully served on your Board of Directors since 2012. For personal reasons, she is now stepping down from the board, but during her tenure as the Interior Director, she has been engaged as a board member and has also served as the Vice-President for the past two years. She will be dearly missed on the board!

Karl Klassen – Platinum Distinguished Service Award
Karl Klassen has dedicated numerous years to the development and running of the ACMG. His time on the board started in the early 90’s when he was the Assistant Guide Representative and ended when he stepped down from his 4 year term as President in 2000. He continued to be influential on the direction of the ACMG during his time as the ACMG’s first Executive Director from 2002-2005. Karl also contributed to the professionalism of the ACMG in his capacity as writer/editor of the ACMG technical manual.

Dwayne Congdon – Platinum Distinguished Service Award
He is a past member of the Board of Directors in both the vice president and president roles. He has worked on the training and certification program as an instructor and examiner. Dwayne oversees the CMSG program and puts in countless hours to assure the quality and success of the program.

Jörg Wilz– Platinum Distinguished Service Award
Under his financial oversight, the association assets have grown and remained extremely solid. Along with the ED and the Membership Services Manager, he helped to revamp the budgeting and reporting processes. He has also been chair of the Membership Services Committee.

Alex Fogden– Silver Distinguished Service Award
Alex was the first public member of the Board of Directors, where he stayed for two terms. His keen insight and experience provided essential outside perspective on many issues and convinced the Board that having public members is an excellent approach to governance.

Chris Miller– Platinum Distinguished Service Award
For his many years of service to the ACMG in a number of roles. Including instrumental work in the restructuring of the Training and Certification, development  of the Rock Certification and Climbing Gym Instructor programs. Volunteer work on the Tech, MCR and Award Committees.

Colin Zacharias – Platinum Distinguished Service Award
For his many years as Technical Director and as a instructor and examiner on the Training and Certification Program. Colin was influential in making the T & C program one of the best and most progressive in the IFMGA and humanizing the examination process.

Keith Reid - Gold – Distinguished Service Award
For his work as a BoD member and for his terms as the ACMG President

Jeff Honig- Gold – Distinguished Service Award
For his work on the BOD

Peter Amann- Gold – Distinguished Service Award
For his work on the BOD

None awarded.

Tom Wolfe – Silver Distinguished Service Award
For his hard work and dedication to the Mountain Conditions Report

Scott Davis– Platinum Distinguished Service Award
For more than a decade, Scott served the ACMG on various committees, as Vice-president and finally as President. Under his leadership, the professionalism of the Association grew tremendously.

Todd Guyn – Silver Distinguished Service Award
Todd served as Technical Director for several years, presiding over such key changes as the new Hiking Guide program and the snowshoe accreditation.

None Awarded

Rod Gibbons
For his work on the BOD as well as the ongoing work on the Conduct review Committee

Jim Bishop
For his pro-bono work on the ACMG bylaw revisions

Brian Spear
For his work on the BOD and the Climbing Instructor Committee

None Awarded.

Harrison, Diny
• Served as Vice-president and President since 2001.
• Spearheaded the member survey, visioning session of 03/04.
• Started the process we are now engaged in, that is, the constitution and by-laws revision.

Norrie, Paul
• Served as restricted members representative in the mid 90s.
• Now Rockies representative since fall 04.

Harvey, Peter
• Has served on the Board for two terms.
• Has done a lot of work on sponsorship issues.

Gould, Brian
• 2 terms as West Coast Director on the Board.
• Very active in West Coast issues.

Sarrasin, Roger
•2 terms as West Coast restricted member director.
• Very active in West Coast issues.

Klassen, Mark
For all his work on ACMG News

Davis, Scott
Many years as West Columbias Director, acting Vice President, and active in Training and Certification Program

Shokoples, Cyril
3 years on BOD

Spear, Brian
CGI Director, developed and published CGI manual, significant contribution to development and operation of CGI Training and Certification Program

Stewart-Patterson, Iain:
Many years as West Coast Director working on technical issues and training for west coast members, active in Training and Certification Program

Yavorsky, Greg
Played many roles on BOD over many years including Apprentice Guide and Rockies Director

Andrews, Alison
3 years on BOD

Mathieson, Brent

Blanchard, Barry
3 years on BOD

Bleuer, Herb

Congdon, Dwayne
3 years on BOD

Flavelle, Scott

Haberl, Jim
(posthumous, accepted by Sue Oakey)

Laurilla, Roger
3 years on BOD

Taylor, Graeme
3 years on BOD


Bonzi, Daniel
Many years on the Technical Committee and development of the Hiking Guide Program.

Corrigan, T S Buck
Many years on the Board of Directors and contribution to the operation and direction of the ACMG.

Lemire, Pierre
Many years on Technical Committee and significant contributions to the Training and Certification Program.

Miller, Chris
Many years of work on the Technical Committee, significant contribution to development and operation of Rock Guide program, and Climbing Gym Instructor program.

Orvig, Rob
Volunteering for several years in the National Parks portfolio.

Wyss, Jakob
Many years on the Board of Directors, past TD, many years on the Technical Committee and development of the Hiking Guide Program.

Zacharias, Colin
Many years of work on the Technical Committee and significant contributions to the Training and Certification Program.

Blench, James
Clarkson, Guy
Field, George
Fuhrmann, Peter
Gallagher, Lloyd
Gertsch, Rudi
Gmoser, Hans
Gow, John
Klassen, Karl
Kranabitter, Rudi
Lomas, Eric
Schiesser, Bernie
Stark, Dave
Stettler, Hans-Peter
Vockeroth, Don


Presidents Award

This award is granted each year by the ACMG President to the person who has performed the most valuable volunteer service to the Association within a given year. This section also includes the ACMG Award of Excellence that was given in the past.

Scott McKay
When first elected as ACMG President, past Executive Director Peter Tucker gave me a snapshot of the main issues facing our as- sociation, but I called Scott (as a long-standing board member) to learn more. OMG what a conversation that was! Two hours later, I truly saw the nuances and complexities of this intricate and many-faceted organization. Since that very first conversation, Scott became my 'go-to' person. Anytime I needed perspective, objectivity, or a sounding board, I went to Scott. His knowledge and experience, not just in guiding, but in governance, human resources, financial mat- ters—you name it— was immeasurably valuable. - Sylvia Forest -President

Chris Kaipio
Volunteering for the ACMG board of directors is a significant commitment, but Chris has gone above and beyond. Chris is one of the most engaged, active board members we have. As the hiking guide board representative, Chris regularly engages is constituents to ensure they are informed, and have an avenue to get their concerns heard at the board level. As the chair of the "Stewardship and Access" Committee, Chris has put an incredible amount of time and energy into investigating the many critical access issues facing the ACMG, and searching for solutions. Chris is wise, humble, and has remarkable good judgement.

Jeremy Mackenzie
This year, Sylvia has picked Jeremy for most valued volunteer award. He has been a longstanding member of the Conduct Review Committee and is currently serving as chair where he has helped navigate several difficult reviews.

Kevin Dumba
As Secretary Treasurer, Kevin has committed countless hours of his accounting expertise to the ACMG including revamping our accounting practices to meet current best practice.   He has done all this, not as a paid employee, but as a  volunteer.  He is one of the most engaged members of the ACMG Board of Directors.  He has gone well above the demands of a Director, and Secretary Treasurer.  

Nathan Dahl
Nathan has been on the Board of Directors as the Hiking Guide Director and is also stepping down for personal reasons. As I mentioned last year at our AGM, Nathan has also taken on the chair of the Professional Practice Committee and plans to continue. He leads a committee that developed the process by which we perform professional audits on our members. This is a difficult and thorny job as no one cherishes receiving the email announcing that they are being audited. I know, because I just got one of those! This is a very important component of a self governing association and we thank Nathan for getting us there!

Larry Stanier
Presented the President's Award in recognition of his long term commitment to developing the Mountain Conditions Report (MCR) and chairing the MCR Committee.

Roger Bean
Presented the President's Award. Roger is the quintessential volunteer. Over the past couple of years, he has taken the initiative to organize professional development sessions for hiking guides with minimal support from the ACMG.

Derek Wilding
Presented the President's Award in recognition of hisexcellent work with the Awards Committee and Climbing Instructor Program

Marc Piché
Presented the President's Award in recognition of his exceptional level of dedication and invaluable service as Technical Director

Ian Tom
Presented the ACMG Award of Excellence in recognition of his invaluable volunteer service in reestablishing the Communications Committee

Rod Gibbons
Presented the President's Award in recognition of the excellent work Rod did in leading the Conduct Review Committee through its initial years as well as ther excellent job he has done running the elections at virtually all AGM’s

Helen Sovdat
Presented Award of Excellencein recognition of Helen’s unwavering response to volunteerism as well as in maintaining a solid bridge between the ACMG and the ACC

Christoph Dietzfelbinger
Presented the President's Award in recognition of his exceptional level of dedication and invaluable volunteer service on the Board of Directors

Jorg Wilz
Presented the ACMG President's Award for uncounted days of work as Secretary -Treasurer overseeing the association's financial health. In addition, his leadership of the Membership Services Committee led to an excellent insurance program as well as a revised Simon Parboosingh Guide Assistance Fund.

Mark Klassen
Presented the ACMG Award of Excellence for his unstinting contributions as editor/writer/layout person/ad chaser/chief swabbie of the ACMG News. Mark has been an integral part of the Membership Services and the Technical Committees and has been an excellent course leader for TRU's Canadian Mountain and Ski Guide Program.

Special Recognition Award

This award is presented annually by the ACMG to individuals or organizations, who have gone above and beyond to provide exceptional professional services or assistance to the ACMG, its members, or the mountain user.

Elaine Powers
Have you heard the term "understated competence"? It refers to people who are remarkably talented but extremely humble, almost private about their accomplishments. Elaine Powers is an exemplar of understated competence. Working largely be- hind the scenes for eight years at the ACMG, she initiated and maintained our social media presence using a curator's touch to develop our face to the public. She oversaw the process that allowed new posters into the MCR, managed the Adventure Access program for several years, worked the booth for many ACMG public and internal events, acted as background sup- port for years of CPD events and helped the administrative team grow with her thoughtful and often innovative ideas.
Elaine Powers

Laura Young

Hired in 2014 after many years admin for CMH. Used her experience & innovation to improve work flow in her position. Improved efficiency of the new member process. Improved efficiency of various insurance reporting processes. Responded rapidly to member and non-member inquiries and ensured the right person received the inquiry. Always contributed great ideas to areas outside her specific role. Looked after the well-being of her teammates as though they were family.

The Canadian Mountain Park Backcountry Medical Council
Lisa Paulson and Kirsten Knechtel nominated this group with a special mention for Dr. Kyle McLaughlin. They have made a significant contribution to the welfare of all the guides and their clients actively using Alberta Provincial and National Parks.


Parks Canada and Alberta Parks Search and Rescue

This year we recognized Parks Canada and Alberta Parks search and rescue teams for their service and dedication to the mountain community.


Linda Heywood
Many people have contributed to the growth and development of the ACMG, mostly volunteers working on our Board of Directors or on committees. However, for nearly 20 years, Linda Heywood has been toiling away behind the scenes creating and evolving the administrative structure, without which the ACMG would not have become anywhere near as successful as it has. On the eve of her retirement from the ACMG, we thought it fitting to recognize the value of her many accomplishments with a Special Recognition Award. As the bookkeeper/accountant, she helped ensure our financial strength. As the member services manager, her uncanny attention to detail ensured timely service response and near perfect records. But perhaps most importantly, as the long-time first person responder to members and non-members alike, Linda has been a key face and voice of the ACMG. This award is so well deserved. - ACMG Executive Director Peter Tucker

Squamish Search and Rescue
In recognition of their exceptional level of service and dedication to the mountain community.


Accepting the Award for the Squamish Search and Rescue: John Howe

Helicopter Rescue Pilots

This year three rescue pilots were recognized for the impact their skill and experience has had on the safety of all mountain users. The award was given at the Mountain Guides’ Ball.

rescue pilots

Awarded to: Don McTighe, Jim Davies, Lance Cooper

Dr. Mark Heard

For exceptional professional services Dr Heard has provided to ACMG members in allowing them to get back to work after injury.


Awarded to: Dr. Mark Heard

Industry Partner Award

This award is presented annually to the industry partner that has provided the best overall support to the ACMG

petzl PETZL
MEC Mountain Equipment Co-op
julbo Julbo
MEC Mountain Equipment Co-op
MEC Mountain Equipment Co-op
Arcteryx logo Arc’teryx

Featured Partner

Thank you to our partners for their excellent support and commitment to professional guiding in Canada.