An Update from the Avalanche Center
Online in html: http://www.avalanche-center.org/Organization/updates/
(To translate this update enter the URL "http://www.avalanche-center.org/Organization/updates/" and then follow the link to this update. This way the entire page/update is translated, not just part of it.)
This is a brief update on what is new and upcoming on the internet Avalanche Center, http://www.avalanche-center.org/
Fundraising Event - January 12
We are excited to announce the first fundraising event ever held on our behalf. On January 16 Dave Beck will present a talk and slide show titled "33 Crossings of the Sierra Nevada Range". Dave is well known, some would say a living legend, and is a colorful speaker and story teller. This event will be at the Brewery Arts Center in Carson City, NV and is FREE! Proceeds from beer sales and a silent auction will benefit us and the Nevada Wilderness Project. We will have our famous shirts and Nalgene bottles on sale there as well. See our News section - http://www.avalanche-center.org/News/ for the particulars.
Perhaps in the future some of our supporters in other areas can organize similar parties. This one promises to be a great deal of fun.
Now that the auction is mostly wrapped up, other than two unpaid bidders, we can say that we reached our goal of raising $2000. Just over $1800 came from industry donated goods while over $200 came from items we donated from our own retail store.
User contributions appear to be on a par with recent seasons so far. Store sales are ok but may not reach the levels we budgeted on, its too early to know. Hopefully our fundraiser will help pick up the slack left by diminished industry support and potentially lower store revenue.
Speaking of industry support, thanks very much to sponsors Forty Below and Backcountry Access for continuing their support this season.
We actually have a number of things to report here, which is pretty amazing considering the last month. We had the auction to run, our student employee for the store left for the maximum possible break period and was delayed returning to Portland for several days by the weather there. Another student who helps post incidents was probably away but wasn't brought back on board until this weekend anyway due to budget concerns. So with the staff down to only the director the auction had to be run and wrapped up, a server loss recovered from, and for much of the past week we had no power. But somehow time was found to create some new things -
NEW - Discussion Forums
We now have phpBBS forums in place. It takes time to get discussions going but we hope these will provide constructive and civil forums on avalanche topics without being activity specific. For the most part it is necessary to register (for free) to post on them. The exception is the Guestbook.
One of the things never recovered from our server loss in December was our HyperNews installation, including archived messages. So those forums are gone, unfortunately any worthwhile postings went with them. So we have set up an open forum to serve as a new Guestbook with no registration required.
These forums can be found on the pull-down menu at the top of each main section page, or by clicking the Guestbook link at the bottom. There is also a link on the rotating marquee on the home page. Or go right to http://www.avalanche-center.org/phpBB2/
In the process of fine tuning the appearance of the forum we learned a few new things about style sheets and our home page along with the most popular section pages have a slightly new look as a result.
Not much new has been added here but we are seeing more contributors making use of the special resources, especially the incident updates list and the store specials list.
Right now special deals in the contributors section include discounts on the new PIEPS DSP beacon valid all season, discounts on a couple Tracker beacons (only while they last), and extra deep discounts on certain sizes of skiing skeleton shirts beyond the ongoing contributor pricing good on all sizes.
We have completed a new graphical conditions page specifically for California which links to weather for zones state-wide and four sources of avalanche information - the USFS Mt Shasta report, the USFS central Sierra (Truckee area) information, the informal conditions notes issued by the winer rangers at Yosemite, and the very popular Eastern Sierra bulletin issued by the Bardini Foundation.
In the course of that work we added an html format e-mail list for the eastern sierra bulletin so it can now be received in either straight text or html via e-mail listserve, and we created two lists for the Mt Shasta information (text and html).
Incident reports began to come in furiously at some point over the past few weeks. We have now posted 33 reports with a total of 45 fatalities, and there are more pending as soon as Cameron gets back on board today.
We are archiving these into the database much quicker this season. All reports are publicly accessible but the interface to the database is limited to five results at a time. Contributors can search with no limit to the results, and will see a fatality total for the seach as well. They can also make keyword searches of just the incidents section and access a season listing like we maintained in the past.
About a week ago we finally got the store entirely updated. All prices and products are current now. We have the new Alaska shovel from Ortovox, Backcountry Accesses new Traverse EXT shovel and their Profile 240 probe, and LifeLinks new selection of probes.
We also have the new DSP beacon and the DSP Advanced. After a delay in the import process all orders have been filled and we have a couple on the shelf.
Organizational Information Section
The profile information for our Board of Directors has been updated and there are cvs and statements for Steven Reinfurt (an American who is an industry expert and living in Germany), Phil Caterino (currently director of Brewery Arts in Carson City and our non-profit expert) and Jim Frankenfield (the backbone of the day-to-day project).
We hope to expand the team soon but need to find the time. We have identified a potential new Canadian Director to submit an invitation to and had an offer for help with web work which sounded promising. We just need time to follow up on this.
We hope you enjoy the new resources, and encourage you to make use of the new forums. Have a safe 2004!