CAIC Launches New Website
Last week the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) introduced a new website for their backcountry avalanche forecasts. It’s a new look, to be sure, but it goes beyond just the interface. I would encourage all those who will travel in Colorado’s backcountry this winter to spend time exploring the new site and reading this blog describing the changes—they could be transformational for the avalanche industry.
There are three primary changes being introduced this fall that users should be aware of. First, the website has been updated to be more intuitive, run faster, and work better on a range of devices. They have also moved away from writing forecasts for pre-defined zones by introducing “dynamic forecast zones,” which is a culmination of their collaboration with Avalanche Canada (read our story about the new platform’s genesis here). This allows forecasts to be issued for areas with similar conditions. Previously, areas within the same zone say, Independence Pass and Marble, could have very different conditions, and dynamic zones allow them to forecast those areas independently—providing a better services to backcountry users in Colorado. Thirdly, forecasts now are done in the afternoon for the following two days. This change aligns with avalanche education’s emphasis on tour planning, which “should” happen the afternoon or evening before your tour.
There are many other notable changes, two of which are worth mentioning. The Avalanche Explorer, introduced at the end of last season, provides an efficient way to view recent avalanche activity, and CAIC forecasters are now using a new platform behind the scenes to create the avalanche forecasts.
It is important to note that what you see is the result of some extensive collaboration between the CAIC and Avalanche Canada, Parks Canada, Colorado Department of Transportation, and the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research.
All those who will be using the CAIC forecast this winter should check out their blog. Their videos, especially, will help you understand and utilize the new website.
Through backcountry skiing, Paul Rogers has found incredible happiness, lasting friendships, and the opportunity to traverse the snowscape across Europe and North America. He founded Powder Cloud to help others safely find the same.