An Update from the Avalanche Center
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Introduction, From the Director
This is long overdue and there is a lot to do at the moment so this update will be brief with links to the few key projects mentioned. In a nutshell: we are running an auction this year, we have some news on the Avalanche Institute, and our budgeting for the past season is complete.
As for budgeting, our less than perfect but pretty decent accounting shows us exactly breaking even last season. Which is a necessary improvement over the previous two seasons. For the project to continue we need your support. We are into the third month of this season and according to a rough tally of store revenue (mostly) and donations (a few) we should have raised enough to cover the first two months. Marginally at least. We are still working on borrowed funds in a sense since we're selling products we have not yet had to pay for. So please help out if you support avalanche safety!
Shirt Sale - We still have a few shirts on sale (and watch the auction as well). Short sleeves L and XL only, they are $15 including the shipping. You can get yours here: http://www.avalanche-center.org/shirts.php
We did not seek product donations this season but we are still having an annual auction. We have items from recent years that nobody won or claimed, and we also have some store inventory to include. Past donations on auction this year include a nice Columbia ski jacket and some MSR Lightening snowshoes with extra tails as well as small items such as sunscreen, sno-seal, and more. (Not everything is posted yet, hopefully by the end of Wednesday.) Store items include a lot of probes, some books, a study kit, and probably a few more things. We have a Float 32 pack to auction, we had to include one in a preseason order and can't afford to keep it around until it sells at retail. (Store items are also still being added, again with a goal of Wed.)
As in the past we may offer some items, including beacons, as short term incentives. We post these for a few days at a time. Despite promoting them they usually go for very low bids so keep checking in.
Finally, you can auction your own items off. We have never promoted this much but one year a supporter posted some skis and they were quickly sold. So you never know, and it's free. We do not charge or take any commission but we do hope that if you sell something you'll donate a percentage to the cause. Or auction it entirely for our benefit and one supporter did with a pack one year.
Other than the auction the store is still slowly being updated. It's mostly there but some things are still out of date.
Right now the Ortovox line is completely up to date and to celebrate the shopping cart will automatically deduct 20% from any Ortovox product. This replaces the previous BCA discount/sale. The members discount applies on top of this which amounts to a really great deal for this time of year. There is no set expiration date, it could end tomorrow! (OK, it's not ending tomorrow, but beyond that we haven't decided.)
If you find and report any problems, such as an item not automatically being discounted, we will look into it and send you a free shirt if it turns out that we need to fix something.
We also have a new special on the clearance page. The two old style G3 probes were sold on e-bay and we are now selling a Life-Link 246 Carbon probe.
Education - Avalanche Institute
We have some progress on the Avalanche Institute, primarily for store customers and avalanche center members. Members that are logged into the avalanche center can register themselves in the Avalanche Institute on their own. Once registered there they can go through the probe and shovel mini-courses as well as an introductory module at no cost. There is now a screen-capture video demonstrating how members can register, login, and subscribe to the few free (mini-)courses. For most modules an administrator still needs to add users after registration and payment but this is easier and quicker if you already have an account. For non-members an admin will still need to create your account. (The video is linked to public home page.)
Anyone who purchases a beacon can take Module 2 (Safe Travel and Equipment) and Module 3 (Rescue), as well as Module 1 which is a short general background prerequisite. We have not promoted this benefit enough yet but we hope to be able to contact this seasons beacon customers directly to invite them to do this soon. (If you purchased a beacon you are a member so you can register in the institute as demonstrated in that video. As long as you first register on the main avalanche center and then log in.)
As mentioned above, there are two mini-courses that are free to purchasers of probes and/or shovels as well as to members. These cover useful information that often gets lost in the rush of a full weekend course. These mini-courses are too brief to be able to apply them towards any full modules or courses, but in addition to the educational value they also introduce the Dokeos platform we use, the type of structured learning path typically used, and how quizzes work.
For the most part what there is to say about this was said at the top. If you'd like to have a look at our budget, both last seasons and historically, there are a few pages: the 2011-12 final summary, a historical overview, and a (rather discouraging) contribution history.
On Tap ...
The auction and the Avalanche Institute are current priorities. There is more on the institute that will need to wait until the next update. With the auction running that will not be long. In addition, the Incidents section still needs to be completed for last season and started for this season. This follows closely in the priority list behind the auction and educational work but resources are extremely limited.
Even though labor has always been almost entirely donated the spectre of paying overhead costs is always there and the biggest thing that helps the project right now is to contribute. Purchasing your equipment from us helps a lot too and includes membership as well as access to educational material. And right now you can help promote the auction - if you are on Facebook share our event, repost relevant posts, and invite others to the event.