Avalanche Canada highlights changes at workshop

Avalanche Canada will be hosting a workshop in Fernie to inform the public about changes within the organization.

  • Jan. 3, 2015 5:00 a.m.

Avalanche Canada will be hosting a workshop in Fernie to inform the public about changes within the organization and to educate locals on their new approach to engaging powder enthusiasts.

“We want to let people out there in the community know about us and we want to introduce ourselves,” said Avalanche Field Technician Jennifer Coulter.

Having undergone a name change from the Canadian Avalanche Centre to Avalanche Canada, Coulter said that one of the main messages of the workshop is to inform the public of the many changes the organization has gone through — including its new map-based website.

“We have a brand new website that’s been launched this fall and it’s more than just a different look, it actually works in a whole new way,” said Coulter.

The website is now predominantly taken up by a colour-coded map that will allow mountain-goers to zoom in on their specific area and receive avalanche updates from both officials and other recreational users on the mountain who will form the Mountain Information Network.

“It’s meant to be a one-stop shop for public avalanche weather forecasts,” explained Coulter of the update.

Coulter adds that the Mountain Information Network is meant to create a community that is engaged and will allow users to provide their own observations from the mountain, building on Avalanche Canada’s former one-way communication of sending out crunched data numbers to the public.

“With the Mountain Information Network,” said Coulter, “we allow backcountry users, who aren’t necessarily professionals to submit their own snowpack and avalanche observations and have them be viewed by not only the avalanche forecasters but also the riding community as a whole. In this way, we as recreational users of the backcountry can share observations with each other to help make the backcountry a safer place.”

The workshop will take place January 8 from 7-9 p.m. at the Fernie Golf Course.