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/
It has been three months since we sent an update to this list - very unusual compared to past seasons. The CSAC has reached somewhat of a steady state at this point where we have the resources to continue offering what we have but can only develop a few new things each season, mostly in the fall. Given this current balance between funding and offering services there has been less volunteer time (and almost all time invested is unpaid) being put in than in the past, although enough to continue running a site in which the information and most links are current and where avalanche bulletins and incident reports are added in a timely and effective manner.
This update will be relatively brief to announce our spring clearance sale and summarize a few items.
As far as support and funding go we still anticipate a shortfall on the order of $2000 or so for this season. Contributions and store revenue are pretty close to what was projected and are both close to the past few years. Our auction was almost right on target but still less than it was at its best years. (The success of the auction depends heavily on how much time can be put into it, and this has varied in the past few years.) Sponsorships are about half of what we had projected and are now a small fraction of what they were when we began. (However, the amount of time put into seeking sponsorship when we began was much greater and the value of that time probably was not justified by the results.) We would like to thank those sponsors and partners who are helping support us, and especially Backcountry Access and Forty Below. A list of all our partners is on the site at: http://www.avalanche-center.org/Organization/sponsors/
One new source of funding this year was our Carson City fundraising event which brought in about $400. This is very small compared to what company organized fundraisers usually raise for local centers which are government operated, but it's a start and perhaps there will be more interest in organizing such events in the future. In addition to raising funding it was a good time for all who attended.
The bottom line is that your contributions and store purchases remain the largest and most reliable source of support for the project. And small contributions do add up - our average contribution is only $20.
As we enter spring and bulletins become sporadic and terminate and incident reports are less frequent we hope to work next on the Education Section. We had begun looking at some new projects in that area in the fall but the time to do much with them wasn't available. It's ironic and unfortunate but the Education section has never brought in financial support even though we feel it is the most important aspect of the project. It is in the development of educational materials that grants or corporate support has the potential to make the biggest difference should we ever receive any.
Avalanche Store End of Season Sale
As each season winds down we end up with some store items left on our shelf which we like to sell before summer. We don't need the liability of equipment sitting around and we certainly do need its cash value to pay bills through the summer. So ultimately it all goes.
We first post items in the contributors area, and we first reduce prices there. Most items currently on the shelf have been posted for a week or so for contributors and a notice to the contributor list announcing store deals was sent out. The items are now on the public sale page at the same amount. In a few days we'll reduce prices for contributors, and follow that with the same reductions on the public page.
Sale prices are limited to what we have on hand. The number we have of each item is indicated on the sale page. Once they are gone that's it for the sale price. (We will be glad to get any item you want for you at regular retail price any time of year, assuming it is available from the manufacturer or distributor.)
Bookmark the sale page now and play the game of waiting game of balancing price against availability!
NEW - Discussion Forums
Since January we have had new phpBBS forums in place. 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/
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.
These forums will be actively moderated to keep them focused on avalanche and snowpack related topics. Moderation will be based on maintaining a focus on appropriate discussions, not on opinions or identities. Posts we deem inappropriate will not be removed (unless the are obscene or slanderous, or entirely unrelated to avalanches) but will be moved to the "Debris Pile" where anyone interested in it can still read and reply.
We will also be happy to consider requests from anyone wanting to initiate and maintain a forum on our board as long as it is avalanche related. Just send an e-mail describing the proposed use, whether it will be open or closed (and if closed who it will be for), and specifying the moderator and proposed moderation policy. As long as it is directly related to avalanche and snowpack matters we will most likely agree to host it and allow you to moderate it.
This year has been a bit slower than past seasons, which is certainly a welcome break. While much of the world is getting into spring conditions now it is still early for that, and we hope there will not be any late season flurry of incidents. We have posted 108 incident reports from around the world with a total number of fatalities of 135, as of the end of March.
We have been archiving these into the database much quicker this season. All reports are publicly accessible by searching the database, which now covers 4 seasons and has a total of over 550 reports in it. However, contributors do have access to additional search features and a more complete results interface.
Have a fun and safe spring. Hopefully we will find time to make another update in another four to eight weeks.