Online Systems for Integrating the Safety, Strategy, and Stoke of Backcountry Adventure

Poster Presentation

Sather, B., & Hurd, T. (2016). Online systems for integrating the safety, strategy, and stoke of backcountry adventure. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW), Breckenridge, Colorado.


The primary focus of avalanche centers is disseminating safety information, guides focus on logistics and client care, retailers and product manufacturers on customers’ experience, and backcountry users on their social connections and personal experience; however, there are very few examples that integrate these concepts into one package. Compartmentalizing the focuses does a disservice to the backcountry user’s need for a holistic look at their adventure, to ensure a safe, enjoyable, and memorable experience. This presentation shares information about the theory and practice of how to integrate multi-faceted information on a website content management system (CMS). The contextual-based system featured in this presentation integrates video, pictures, geo-tagging, route planning, avalanche terrain features, stability tests, avalanche observations, social media, weather, and more. An example of the integration is the use of taxonomy and geo-coordinates to bundle related content on a single website page such as a snow observation with a sidebar of related video and pictures from a different group’s enjoyable experience in that same locale. Another example is an avalanche professional not only showing their snow observation results but also providing Global Positioning System (GPS) tracks of their tour route along with annotations on key decisions that lead to that route and ski line. The focus of the presentation is on Drupal, the common CMS used by avalanche centers, but the concepts will be applicable to other platforms, along with discussion of emerging software as a service (SaaS) such as Avatech. The authors develop and maintain two avalanche center websites, and produce weather and winter recreation information on other websites.

October 2016