An Update from the Avalanche Center
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(To translate this update enter the URL "http://www.avalanche-center.org/Organization/updates/" and then follow the link on the translated page to this update. This way the entire page/update is translated.)
Upcoming Changes to Updates Newsletter
These update emails will be changing soon. The email version, as opposed to the web posted html version, has always been in text form. All Avalanche Center email is read and sent as text from the unix server, not from any windows based computer. One benefit is that we have never had virus problems despite the total lack of any anti-virus software.
However, the time has come (perhaps long ago) when people don't read text email. The standard now is html email which can be formatted and read more often. We will be going to a newsletter service shortly to catch up with the times. This will allow updates to be formatted better and to be more readable. While the formatting flexibility is the main factor for the change there will be other benefits as well. A service specializing in this will ensure the best deliverability in this age of spam filters, handle bounces and changes automatically, and provide certain feedback. It will probably also give you an easier and more flexible interface than we currently have for maintaining your list subscriptions.
Along with the format change it would be nice if the updates were shorter and more frequent, perhaps weekly. With some kind of useful tip or discount in each one. Whether we can manage this is less certain but it's a goal.
Welcome to the 2010-2011 Season
As of October 1 we are in a new operating season. I hope that after a few years of diminished effort while pursuing other interests I, as director, can revitalize the project this winter. I will be focusing on it once again, and at times seeking help in our efforts at promoting avalanche safety.
Although my personal effort was somewhat lower during the past few years the website has been maintained and the key aspects of the project have never disappeared. This winter many of our traditional resources will continue but we'll be pursuing new initiatives as well. While I expect to be able to invest more time again this winter it is donated time, and I cannot donate the operating costs as well. We need your support for this.
The Avalanche Center has always been a grassroots effort. The amount of funding required is quite small in comparison to any other similar project, and this funding has always come primarily from you. Through both contributions and purchases of equipment. One result of diminished fundraising efforts over the most recent years is that our cash flow is particularly slow even for this time of year so we need your help!
Please consider helping us revitalize the project with whatever contribution you can afford. Many of our past supporters are not currently employed, so if you are fortunate enough not to be among them please consider adding a few dollars on their behalf if you can. Many of them have done so in the past when they were able.
The auction will return this year, hopefully at the level it once operated at. Although this depends on participation from both industry and users. An unusually early fax distribution to industry seeking donations of items was sent late in the summer and we do have a few items already. Another fax was sent last night, so far with no results but it takes time. It's not uncommon for items to just show up in our mail center a bit later after a fax distribution.
Companies donating so far are 40 Below (a regular and long time supporter), Rock and Ice Magazine (the first to respond), and Black Diamond. We also have some unclaimed or left over items from the past.
We will attempt to run it for a shorter duration with more intense promotion this time, and the actual auction dates are December 14-17. In the meantime we would appreciate a good word and a bit of a plug from anyone with any affiliation to the outdoor industry or relevant media.
The next update will cover this more, but the store is being brought up to date. Over the past two seasons some items and product lines were updated but others were not. Everything should be current within the next week or so. Please purchase your avalanche safety related equipment through us and encourage your friends to as well - we match anyone else's price and the proceeds come back to you in the form of public information and education services.
We will be tying some store purchases to our new Level 1 course also. All purchases of beacons and airbag packs will include a very large course discount. There will be more on this in the next update after the store is current, but its one more reason to purchase these items from the Avalanche Center.
We now carry ABS packs but have not posted anything yet. Inquire if you're looking for one. The ABS has not been selected preferentially over any other models, they are just the first ones we feel are ready to fill orders reliably all season. Others will be added, we'll see how each of them works out from a business point of view. All of them have their own claims to advantages and our addition of various models has nothing to do with any first hand technical evaluation.
Upcoming Members Deal
When members log in and shop in the store they get free shipping and an automatic across the board discount which varies. As soon as the store is brought up to date we will be announcing a special discount rate for a limited time. We will take orders during that limited time period with a promise to fill them by a certain date shortly afterwards, in the first half of November sometime. The deep discount on our avalanche course will apply to discounted beacons which will not usually be the case. We cannot announce details of specials like this to the general public so you'll need to be a member to get the bottom line. It's one more reason to contribute now if you have never been a member or if your membership has lapsed.
Once a person is a member they are added to our members list, but we have no mechanism for removing expired members. So once you are a member you will get information such as details on this special forever unless you unsubscribe. You'll need to be current to take advantage of it, but you'll hear about it even if your membership expired.
Win a month of membership!
This is reproduced from our last update late in the spring. Perhaps there will be more interest as the season approaches that there was when it was winding down. A new quiz will be posted later this fall after the more pressing tasks get completed.
So far nobody has gotten all five questions, will you be the first? We may decide to offer a months membership to those with the highest score as well, rather than requiring a perfect score.
Late in the spring we added a new feature in the Education section - a current quiz (which will rotate periodically) that you can use to test your knowledge and win prizes. This is, in a way, a small spin-off from the new Avalanche Institute. The quiz formats and questions draw heavily on the courses there.
This feature requires you to have an email address registered and validated with us by being subscribed to our updates list. There is no cost, you just need to be on the list. If you are receiving this update by email the address it is sent to will work. You need to log in by entering your address, but no password is required. If you are not on our list then it is easy to subscribe and a link is provided. This system ensures that access to the quiz is by a real person who has some interest in taking it, and it allows us to contact you when you win something. (Our list is used exclusively to distribute these updates and is not shared with anyone else in any way.)
The first quiz has five questions and is taken from the Weather 1 module of the Avalanche Institute Level 1 course. It does not necessarily represent a complete quiz within the module, and every module has numerous quizzes throughout. So this is just a small subset and an example of one style of quiz used.
The prizes and criteria will change with each quiz. If you take a quiz more than once only your first try will count, of course. Your email address will be used to notify you of any prize you win but there is no public listing of addresses and scores. So your results are confidential but not anonymous.
The URL for the quiz is http://www.avalanche-center.org/Education/quizes/current/ but this will take you to a login page to enter your email address.
Watch for another update before long. And for a new format within the next few issues. If you're a member, or ever have been, watch for a members email on the fall special.
There will updated budget information sometime soon covering last season in its entirety. People do get tired of hearing about anyone else's budget, but without contributions and store sales much of what we offer could not be supported. As always we need your help.