Mission

Our mission is to turn passionate outdoor people into effective climate advocates. Protect Our Winters Canada is a passionate community of enthusiasts, professional athletes and industry brands uniting the outdoor community to advocate for policy solutions to climate change. We believe our love of adventure in nature demands our participation in the fight to save and protect it.

Vision

For our communities and outdoor playgrounds to be healthy, safe, and resilient to a changing climate, we envision a future where we’ve transformed our economy and energy systems and cut our carbon emissions in-line with science-based targets the world agreed to in the Paris Climate Agreement. To achieve this, we advocate for the following:

POW Canada Policy Statement

The Opportunity

While it’s important for individuals to take steps to lower their carbon footprint and adopt important initiatives; such as composting, recycling, and eating less meat, that’s not the scale of change we need. In order to reach our targeted emissions, we need large scale policy solutions. All other sectors of the Canadian economy have organized themselves in a way to have influence over policy decisions, which are important to their industry. The outdoor industry in Canada is massive, yet has never been organized in a way to have a collective voice and collaborative influence. Our mission and goal is create such a voice. As outdoor enthusiasts, we’re on the front lines of climate change and see the impacts first-hand. If we don’t step up and use our voice to protect the places we love and experiences we value, who will?

It’s a daunting challenge, but we like challenges. We get to help dictate the outcome right now. If not, we won’t be worried about powder days, tourism or having fun. We’ll be worried about the stability of our environment, our jobs, and our economy. We all have unique skills, gifts, and experiences to contribute. Please consider how you can get involved with Protect Our Winters Canada to further our shared mission for climate action.

Board

As a not-for-profit organization, Protect our Winters Canada is governed by a board of directors who are responsible for the strategic direction and overall governance of the organization.

  • Mike Douglas

    Chair

  • MJ Legault

    Vice Chair

  • Marie-France Roy

    Secretary

  • Daniel Scott

    Treasurer

  • Sven Sandahl

    At Large

Mike Douglas

Chair

Mike Douglas has been called one of the 10 most influential freeskiers of all time. He, along with the members of the New Canadian Air Force, pioneered modern freestyle skiing and developed the first high-performance twin tip ski with Salomon back in 1997. Since then he’s won dozens of awards for his skiing, and has more recently added award-winning filmmaker to his resume. His company, Switchback Entertainment, produces documentary adventure films and the web series Salomon TV.

MJ Legault

Vice Chair

As one of mountain sport industry’s leading marketing strategists and co-owner of Origin Design & Communications, M-J Legault is the driving force behind several mountain sports and destination marketing campaigns. Legault holds a degree in Marketing from Concordia University and has worked in ad agencies based in B-C, Colorado and Vermont, never straying far from the mountains that inspire her. Legault has worked with brands such as Salomon, TNF, Jay Peak Resort, Taos Ski Valley, Lululemon and Whistler Blackcomb. After a stint at Origin’s Whistler office, Legault saw the potential for expanding the Origin brand and, in 2002, she piloted her motorcycle east and opened an office in Montreal, where she now lives.  MJ is a frequent speaker at conferences for The National Ski Areas Association, Mountain Travel Symposium, The National Parks and Recreation Association and the Outdoor Industry Association.

Marie-France Roy

Secretary

Growing up at the foot of Mount Éboulements in Quebec, Marie was always surrounded by snow. Like most kids, Marie started on skis, but at the age of 11 she switched to snowboarding after seeing her older brothers ripping down the mountains.

Since then, Marie has made appearances in X-Games and the Abominable Snowjam, while still filming video parts. She has been awarded TransWorld SNOWboarding’s Woman Rider of the Year, Women’s Reader’s Choice, and the Women’s Video Part of the Year. Marie has also worked on a non-profit snowboard documentary called ‘The Little Things.’ Being known for her sustainable lifestyle, she focused the movie on balancing life with the environment.

Daniel Scott

Treasurer

Dr. Daniel Scott is a Professor and University Research Chair in Climate and Society as well as the Executive Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change at the University of Waterloo (Canada). He has worked extensively in the areas of climate change and the global tourism sector, including collaborations with the United Nations World Tourism Organization, United Nations Environment Programme, the World Meteorological Organization. Dr. Scott has been a contributing author and expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third, Fourth, and Fifth Assessment Reports.

Sven Sandahl

At Large

International Outdoor-Ski and Action Sport industry veteran – Serial entrepreneur – Philanthropist – Global network Passionate about Planet/Climate + Water + Poverty + Food/Health + Education + Indigenous peoples/Elderly + Life. You’ll most likely find him in Whistler / Hanalei Bay / Fjällnäs / Malibu / Patagonia.

Staff

  • Izzy Lynch

    Program Director

  • John Meisner

    John Meisner

    Marketing Coordinator

  • David Erb

    Executive Director

  • Nat Knowles

    Research Coordinator

Izzy Lynch

Program Director

Izzy holds a degree in Communications from the University of Calgary, but says the mountains have always been her biggest teacher. Her passion for untouched wilderness as well as the birth of her son in 2017 has sparked a growing concern about the threat of climate change on our environment for future generations.

From professional big mountain skier to film producer, co-founder of an adaptive adventure non profit; Live It! Love It! Foundation, Studio Manager for video editing service ChopShop Co, Izzy brings multi-faceted array of event and project management experience in the outdoor industry to POW Canada. She is excited to share and grow POWs influence through the Hot Planet Cool Athletes program and other regional events.

John Meisner

John Meisner

Marketing Coordinator

Digital Marketer and Professional Outdoors Photographer. Originally growing up as a ski racer and sprint canoeist in Ontario, John moved West with his camera after graduating University to pursue the mountain lifestyle. John’s portfolio consists of clients across 4 continents including names such as Subaru, Laos Tourism, and the International Conservation Fund of Canada. John has worked on other conservation and climate projects such as the Kayapo Project with the Kayapo Tribe in the Brazilian Amazon. He is now based in Whistler, BC.

David Erb

Executive Director

Dave is a father, husband and outdoor enthusiast with experience in the business and charitable sectors in Canada. He’s passionate about skiing, environmental stewardship and seeing POW Canada grow to have significant impact on climate policy in Canada.

Nat Knowles

Research Coordinator

Nat Knowles is a climate scientist, wilderness conservationist, and outdoor athlete. Her research focuses on mitigating climate change, managing its inevitable impacts, and using outdoor recreation and tourism for sustainable socio-economic development. She completed a Master of Science on these topics at the University of Oxford and is now a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo. While currently an avid backcountry adventurer, as a former alpine ski racer she won two NCAA National Championships with the University of Denver, and represented Canada at the World Junior Championships and the World University Games.

Regional Chapter Leads

  • Alex MacInnis

    Vancouver

  • Annabelle Santerre

    Quebec City

  • Arianne Dufour

    Montreal

  • Catherine Prud’homme

    Montreal

  • Golden Chapter

    Emilie Grenier

    Golden

  • Florina Beglinger

    Revelstoke

  • Fraser Blackwell

    Ottawa

  • Josh Der

    Josh Der

    Toronto

  • Julie Kaden

    Collingwood

  • Kristen Meilicke

    Revelstoke

  • Monika Tesiorowski

    Vancouver

  • Natalie Austin

    Natalie Austin

    Whistler

  • Calgary

    Sharalee Hazen

    Calgary

  • Tina Matthews

    Tina Matthews

    Edmonton

Alex MacInnis

Vancouver

Alex graduated from Algonquin College with a diploma in Outdoor Adventure. He has always been drawn to the outdoors and adventure sports. After graduation, the draw of the mountains brought him out west, bouncing back and forth between Ontario and BC for several years; until finally, permanently moving to BC in the fall of 2011. As an avid kiteboarder and split-boarder, he has seen first-hand, the effects of climate change, motivating Alex to get involved with POW and to help push for positive climate action.

Annabelle Santerre

Quebec City

Annabelle is a slopestyle skier and alpinist athlete from Québec City, Canada. Currently pursuing a bachelor degree in environmental and language studies from Laval University, she hopes to take affirmative and efficient action against climate change in Canada. Her passion for the outdoors and conservation is a driving force in her advocacy efforts for carbon neutral and waste-free sporting venues. 

Arianne Dufour

Montreal

Arianne is full of energy, always eager to try new sports and explore the outdoors. Her point of view on the world is optimistic and she believes sharing knowledge will bring humanity further. Deeply concerned about the planet and convinced that the climate crisis can be reversed with people working together, she has been a sustainability advocate for a few years now. Working in the marketing for The North Face Canada enables her to make a difference on a larger scale through partners and events. She makes her own cosmetics and household products, she’s a mountain bike and ski addict and she has two cats; you can talk about one of these subjects with her next time you’ll see her at a POW event and she won’t stop talking!

Catherine Prud’homme

Montreal

Catherine is an outdoor enthusiast and connector of people. She’s a snowboarder, painter, world traveler and food lover. She’s always seeking opportunities to grow professionally and personally. Catherine works in marketing and manages all partner relations at Altitude Sports, one of the biggest online retailers in Canada. She works with brands such as The North Face, Arc’teryx, Patagonia, Fjallraven, Salomon and a few 100 more. Through meetings and deep conversations about climate change with her friends and industry partners, Catherine felt the need to get involved and influence positive changes. She got involved with POW to be part of a movement and act on climate change more directly and effectively than before. Her determination and passion are helping drive POW’s mission forward in Greater Montreal and beyond.

Golden Chapter

Emilie Grenier

Golden

 Emilie has spent all of her free time climbing, running, skiing, paddling and camping since her early childhood. Her passion for the outdoors, and the peace of mind she finds in wild spaces, led her to Canada’s only Master’s in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Carleton University. Emilie now strives to mitigate the impacts of anthropogenic climate change through her day job as Climate Change Campaign Organizer with Ecology Ottawa. She hopes to bring her love of grassroots organizing to POW’s chapter in Golden.

Florina Beglinger

Revelstoke

Florina was raised at a backcountry lodge outside of Revelstoke. As she grew up, she watched the glacier in her remote backyard melt back at an ever increasing and alarming rate, which instilled in her a deep passion for climate advocacy.

She completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at UBC Vancouver in film making, and escaped the city back to Revelstoke to pursue a career in guiding. She is training to be an ACMG and internationally certified mountain guide. She took on a leadership role with the POW Revelstoke chapter in May 2020 and is excited to help move her community towards a more sustainable future.

Fraser Blackwell

Ottawa

Fraser retired from a career in social work and public education in 2017. The windfall of time and freedom from 9 to 5 was a welcome change, but just playing in the outdoors wasn’t working for him. He sees volunteering with POW as a great opportunity to engage in positive, locally developed solutions to the climate crisis. Since the launch of our nation’s capital chapter, the core group of active members has been a strong voice in advocating for meaningful climate action. 

Josh Der

Josh Der

Toronto

Growing up in Toronto it was the time Josh spent in the mountains which fostered a love for the outdoors. An Economics and Environmental Studies student at the University of Toronto, Josh’s goal is to make the, at times overwhelming, topic of climate change easier to understand and climate activism more accessible. He is always up for a day of skiing, down for an outdoor adventure and is looking forward to growing a community and working toward a sustainable future with POW

Julie Kaden

Collingwood

City born and bred Julie traded the concrete jungle for the ‘wood 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back.  She calls Collingwood home, while working and raising her family 10 minutes from the slopes. Both she and her two kids have been sliding down the mountain since they could walk and now enjoy frequent family chairlift rides. A snowboarder, avid reader, former world traveler, live music lover and amateur foodie, Julie seeks opportunities wherever she goes to spread kindness and track down the best coffee shops.

Kristen Meilicke

Revelstoke

Kristen grew up immersed in the Rocky Mountains in Canmore Alberta. After a few seasons of chasing snow around the world she settled in Revelstoke, BC.  She is an avid outdoor enthusiast who is working towards becoming a splitboard guide in the winter and forest fire fighter in the summer. She has always wanted to do more to protect the places she loves to play, and as the leader of the Revelstoke Chapter of POW she has been able to connect engaged citizens to start taking action in her community. 

Monika Tesiorowski

Vancouver

Polish by birth, Canadian by transplant. Growing up in North Vancouver and being raised by a competitive ski racing coach, Monika was taught from an early age that the mountains are the ultimate playground and should be respected as such. After spending many years working and adventuring across the world, she returned to Vancouver in 2019 for the long-haul. Now, with both her work at Arc’teryx in marketing and her involvement in POW, Monika hopes to spark action in her local outdoor community. There is a lot of work to be done, but Monika believes that there is no greater lens than that of adversity. 

Natalie Austin

Natalie Austin

Whistler

I grew up in North Vancouver where I spent my winters as a reluctant, overdressed ski kid and my summers wreaking havoc at a kids camp on a gulf island. 

I moved away from Vancouver for the first time to attend McMaster University. I spent four years earning a degree in Anthropology with a minor in Archaeology, and all the while my love for BC mountains grew. The saying that ‘distance really does make the heart grow fonder’ is no joke. After graduating, I felt that I had read too much and seen too little so I decided to take various opportunities to work, study, and travel in various countries.

 In Australia, I saw trees turned bright orange from recent forest fires. In South East Asia I was shocked at the layers of garbage on the beaches and in the sea. Recently, the impacts of climate change have been felt at home here in Canada. I’ve suffered from headaches while landscaping due to forest fire smoke in the summer, and my ski instructing seasons cut short due to low snow levels. 

  I first got involved with POW when I lived in New Zealand in 2019 and have been actively involved ever since. POW has given me the most direct opportunity to turn my passion into purpose and work to protect all these places near and far. I asked one of my ski students Donny, age 5, where was home? “Earth,” he answered. Me too Donny, me too.  

Calgary

Sharalee Hazen

Calgary

Born and raised in Alberta, Sharalee grew up on a farm with an incredible view of the Rocky Mountains – leading to her passion for the outdoors. With a background in Environmental Policy from Queens and a degree in Law & Society from the University of Calgary, Sharalee believes POW is creating a platform to connect individuals who appreciate nature to the bigger picture surrounding climate change. As an avid snowboarder and mountain biker, Sharalee thrives on community connection and is optimistic about where POW will go in the future.

Tina Matthews

Tina Matthews

Edmonton

Tina grew up in Australia and fell in love with winter when she started skiing at age 12. Over the last five years she has become much more aware of the dangers our planet is facing, and as a result entered the world of self-propelled adventures like ski touring and making a lot of personal choices to reduce her carbon footprint. More recently she has decided to do more to convince others to make similar choices for a better planet. She worked on helping to establish POW New Zealand and after settling in Canada, continues to contribute as our Regional Chapter leader in Edmonton.