Avalanche Center Home Update - March 7, 2012

An Update from the Avalanche Center

March 7, 2012
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Introduction, From the Director

This is the ninth newsletter of the season. It is brief because there is a lot we are trying to do for this coming weekend, including the auction. The main reason for this update is to help promote the auction and Avalanche Awareness Weekend. These two things are really being done in tandem, almost as one event, but both offer some opportunities for discounts on gear, discounts on education, a few prizes, and more. So read on to find out what you can expect. Some promotions begin today already, such as something for every auction bidder whether they win or not. Including entry into a drawing for a new probe today.

This weekend will be Avalanche Awareness Weekend, and the second running of the auction will end the evening of Monday the 12th in conjunction with it. We will be promoting these things as much as we can through at least Monday. You can help, and very little is required. When we post on Facebook (on either our page or our profile) please click Like, or share. This gets the specific post out to a wider audience, and it also helps convince Facebook to actually show it to users rather than bury it. (Remember, they are deciding what goes into your feed and what doesn't for the most part.) We don't use Twitter a whole lot and have only a few followers, but retweets are good if you're into Twitter. And just let people know, about both the weekend and the auction. Auction items have a button to send a note to somebody who might be interested in them. Getting word out via various forums helps too and hopefully we will work on that today, but your help is always appreciated.

In fact, we will give you the same benefits as bidders in the auction today, including an entry into the probe drawing, if you share any of our auction posts on your wall and at least one friends wall. Let us know because we might notice but we might not. (International participants are welcome - we can send a probe anywhere!)

Auction and Avalanche Awareness Weekend

The auction is up and running through March 12, with buy-it-now options in many cases. Two "grand prizes" are still about to be posted for a "sealed bid" approach, either entirely or until the last few days. These items are a custom snowboard you can design yourself and a pair of high-end snowshoes including removable tails that can be added or removed to adjust flotation while wearing the shoes. All winning bids include a one year membership (or extension), and we will offer something else for all bidders whether or not they win.

In fact, we are starting the incentives today. Everyone who bids today (Wed), before midnight local time, will be entered into a drawing for a G3 240 Tech Probe, previous model. (This has the screw-down tension device rather than the quick release. We've actually had a few people ask for this instead of the new one.) Although the model is not the current one the probe is brand new. In addition we'll send you some decals and give you a one week membership (good through awareness weekend) just for bidding, plus the first five people will get a pair of Avalanche Center chums as well. So if you're planning to bid on anything don't wait until Monday, bid each day because there will be some kind of incentive each day.

As mentioned above, we will offer the same incentive to anyone who shares any of our Facebook auction related posts on their own wall and that of at least one friend. That's all you need to do and you may just win a brand new probe!

For Avalanche Awareness Weekend we will have things available through the website but we encourage you to create an event locally. All you need to do is designate a place and time and let people know. It could be a small get-together at a local pub or pizza place to talk about avalanche safety and meet some other avalanche center supporters. Let us know and we will list it and create an event on Facebook that we can promote, and you can also promote it locally, via forums you participate in, and by making your own Facebook page and/or event.

What we will offer online is being finalized but updated on the event page. Watch for a link on the home page also. We are offering much more for members as well as for anyone organizing or attending a local event. (Bid in the auction today and you'll be a member through the weekend!) There are some educational opportunities via various trials or discounts on some online course material., more on this below. We don't have shirts right now and won't before the weekend, but we hope to be able take orders for them at close to our cost. If you have one of our shirts already then wear it on the weekend and post a photo on our Facebook page or profile, you might just get some kind of prize. Plus it's a good way to meet other supporters.

Education - Avalanche Institute

Avalanche Awareness Week is providing an incentive for us to get some new courses running in the Avalanche Institute. A new Awareness course should be ready for the weekend and one of the benefits will be an introductory offer. This course covers much less than a full Level 1 course and is intended for people who want to learn enough about avalanches to avoid the risk almost entirely. People such as snowshoers, cross country skiers, non-highmarking snowmobilers, etc. The course makes no effort to teach more than necessary for the avoidance of avalanche terrain and of high risk conditions. In addition, the course can also serve as a brief pre-Level 1 introduction to both the general material and the online platform we are using.

Students who take the Avalanche Awareness course can apply the regular cost of it towards a complete Level 1 course within 30 days of registering or 10 days of completing it, whichever comes first.

The regular cost is set, for now, at $25 for non-members and $10 for members. During the weekend it will cost $10 for non-members and $0 (free!) for members. Access will end when the auction is over Monday evening, registration should be possible on Friday. Continued access will require the regular fee, but the $25 value can still be applied towards a Level 1 course per the above paragraph. (Whether or not the Awareness course is finished, it does not matter.)

The framework for a course on stability tests is also in place, but there is no chance of this being ready this weekend. We may offer a discounted pre-enrollment deal though. This will have the Snowpack 1 and Snowpack 2 modules of the Level 1 course as prerequisites. (There will probably be some kind of "package deal" for the course and prerequisites combined. The prerequisite modules can also be challenged by anyone who believes they know that material.) This course does not emphasize how to do tests and record results, it covers the background, history and research behind each test. The objective is for the student to understand the tests better. (Recently a comment by a professional compared the time involved in doing a Propagation Saw Test (PST) to a Rutschblock test. But this is comparing apples and oranges and is irrelevant since the tests have nothing in common in intent or interpretation. Hopefully this course will help students understand the tests, their limitations and uses, and their interpretations in an accurate and consistent manner.)

We will include more about various course developments here in these newsletters as they occur. As far as what is available for Awareness Weekend, follow that page.

On Tap ...

The next five days will focus on Awareness Weekend, the auction, the frantically ongoing work in the Avalanche Institute, and doing what we can on the Incidents section. Watch for at least one more newsletter between now and the auction closing, and look for updates via our homepage and Facebook.

One thing that is getting cleaned up a bit, starting with the registration for the new course, is the members version for various pages and features. At the moment features for members are usually on an entirely different page - for incident searching it is necessary to be logged in and then to go to a different page. Ideally the same page address will just load differently for logged in members without the need to go somewhere else. The registration for the Avalanche Awareness course works this way. The default non-member page has the $25 registration but a logged in member will see the $10 registration automatically.

Please - consider a contribution, purchase you avalanche safety gear in our store, and consider topics in the Avalanche Institute as more becomes available. Avalanche Awareness weekend will have quite a bit more available to those who are members and those who initiate or attend anything local (no matter how simple or small).


Jim Frankenfield
Executive Director

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