Valhalla Pure Outfitters in Nelson, British Columbia, has given $1000 to an outstanding ATLAS student as part of its All Mountain Award.

Two Nelson, British Columbia entities now have more in common than just preparing people for outdoor adventures. Valhalla Pure Outfitters (VPO) and the LV Rogers Secondary School’s ATLAS Outdoor Education Program have combined forces to create the All Mountain Award: every year students of the program vote for one classmate who has demonstrated “outstanding leadership and achievement.” That student then receives $1,000 cash from VPO.

ATLAS stands for “Adventure Tourism Leadership and Safety” and is a career-preparation-style program designed for LVR high school students who have a strong personal interest in adventure recreation. It’s a hands-on course taught almost exclusively in outdoor settings during a variety of seasons. It’s designed to help students develop the skills necessary to gain employment in the eco/adventure tourism industry or pursue further education through outdoor adventure programs offered at institutions like Thompson Rivers University, Selkirk College, or the College of the Rockies.

This year ATLAS student Victoria Lawrence-Jeffery received the award in a ceremony that happened at the store last week. In attendance was VPO’s owner Sam Baio (in top photo on left), Victoria, last year’s recipient Ezra Lemay (second from left) and ATLAS instructor Graeme Marshall (on the right).

The first All Mountain Award was handed out by VPO Nelson last year and the $1000 cash prize is expected to be put towards post-secondary education or the work sector.

“Graeme, past graduated ATLAS students, and I put a lot of thought into this award,” says Sam Baio. “We wanted it to be easy for students to use and I wanted to invest into the future of outdoor minded young adults.”

To learn more about the unique ATLAS program, visit: And to shop online at VPO-Nelson, which has been a huge supporter of Kootenay Mountain Culture magazine since its inception 16 years ago, log on to: