Avalanche Center Home Update - December 25, 2009

An Update from the Avalanche Center

December 25, 2009 - [Previous, November 19 ] - [Next, Dec 27 ] - [Updates Archive Index]

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A Brief Holiday Note

This will be a brief update with more information to follow in the coming week. We hope everyone who celebrates Christmas is having a merry one, and that everyone else is enjoying the general holiday season.

This is a time of giving and we hope you'll remember the Avalanche Center in your holiday and year-end plans. One reality of avalanche safety resources is that many of the people that need them the most, and that need to be reached out to the most, are not ready to support such resources. Those of us that have been active outdoors in winter and have had close calls or lost friends are the ones that do support it. Hopefully the people we reach out to today will learn to appreciate the importance and support us tomorrow, for the benefit of others. Contributions that are made before the end of the year can be deducted even if the credit card bill or check cashing date is later into next year.

Avalanche Conditions

For most of the western US this has been a light snow year so far. There have been a few storms that have left a thin snowpack sitting around through some very cold temperatures. This is a recipe for a weak foundation, and as we get new snow this is proving to be the case in many areas. This is not hard to understand, predict, or plan around even from the comfort of home if you have had a decent avalanche course. Remember that the majority of incidents come not from poorly interpreted (or located) snowpits and other technical details but from poor planning. Have a safe holiday season and early winter by planning trips in terrain that is suitable for these conditions.

Clearly this is a broad statement, even if we do believe it to be true in the majority of locations. For local conditions follow your weather as the snowpack develops, get feedback from friends who have been out, and check your local avalanche advisory from the Forest Service.

Other Brief News

This has been a busy autumn and early winter so there have not been many updates. After the last one we received a question about the auction. While we may still have one later in the season the annual fall version fell victim to a couple things. One is the economy, last year participation was at an all time low. Store sales are reflecting the poor economy more this year than last. The second is a lack of time and energy to run another auction unassisted, particularly in light of the economic challenge.

While it may appear from the lack of updates that nothing has been happening this could not be further from the truth. A lot of effort and work has continued to be invested. The Incidents section and database is being brought up to date, advisory distribution systems are being fine tuned (and rewritten where necessary), server and database issues are being addressed, and of course the store is operating. [The Beacon Blast sale that was scheduled to end Dec 1 is still going, so if you are buying a beacon you can get a great deal by becoming a member and purchasing before the New Year.] A significant amount of time and effort has continued to be invested in our new online education project.

During the coming week there will be additional updates with news about the various website sections, and in particular about the new Avalanche Institute. We will also, of course, take the opportunity to remind everyone of the end of year advantages to donating now. One thing that has been wrapped up is last years budget, there is a link to the graphs and summary (1 page) on the front page scroller with the blue background. Our annual budget would last many organizations and agencies a month or less, or pay for a one-time website face lift. For us it provides everything you find on the website and supports our costs for an entire year.

Best wishes for a happy and safe holiday and end of year season. Watch for more updates, and certainly more on the new Avalanche Institute project. In the meantime please have a look around the website and support the project:

  • Contribute and join: http://www.avalanche-center.org/Organization/contribute/
  • Buy equipment: http://www.avalanche-center.org/store/
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/avalanche.center/
  • Bookmark our pages on sites like Mixx, Digg, Del-icio-us and others
  • Use Goodsearch and Goodshop when you search the web or buy online

Jim Frankenfield
Executive Director

Avalanche Center Info