New website to share snowpack, weather information 

Whistler-based wisegoat.ca draws on observations of professionals at remote lodges to complement CAC bulletins

click to enlarge Local Info Campbell Icefields Chalet, in the B.C. Rockies, is one of the several backcountry lodges that have teamed up to provide snow, weather and avalanche activity observation information to the public via the wisegoat.ca website. Photo by Lynn Martel.
  • Local Info Campbell Icefields Chalet, in the B.C. Rockies, is one of the several backcountry lodges that have teamed up to provide snow, weather and avalanche activity observation information to the public via the wisegoat.ca website. Photo by Lynn Martel.

Backcountry skiers planning trips into remote areas of B.C.’s Chilcotin, Selkirk, Kootenay and Rocky Mountain ranges will have a new website this winter from which to gather recent snowpack and weather information.

Launched by the owners of several backcountry lodges and affiliated companies, wisegoat.ca will provide raw data about recent snowfall amounts, wind activity, temperatures and snowpack observations, including recent avalanche activity.

The site was created by Avert Online Snow Science Systems, owned and operated by Whistler’s Daniel Curry, whose business provides data collection and business management systems specifically designed for the snow science industry. Although the creation and maintenance of the site is paid for by its participants, which include Whitecap Alpine’s McGillivray Pass Lodge in the South Chilcotin Mountains and Sorcerer and Battle Abbey Lodges in the Selkirks, the information will be available to the public free of charge.

“The service is a weather and snowpack conditions and observations sharing system,” explained Tannis Dakin, owner of Sorcerer Lodge. “It was specifically designed so the businesses involved can share information with each other, and with the public. We do believe this will be very useful information for those with the appropriate training and expertise who plan to be skiing in those local areas, and we want to share it.”

The information posted on the wisegoat site is designed to be used in conjunction with other publicly available snow and avalanche information, particularly that which is provided by the Canadian Avalanche Centre — whose website link is included on the wisegoat home page.

“The CAC public bulletin is an excellent tool,” Dakin said. “But it covers large chunks of the mountains. The difference is we can give information on local conditions.”

The wisegoat creators intend that the information they collect and post on their site be shared with the CAC, and have designed it in such a manner that it would be transferable.

The CAC public avalanche bulletins are compiled from information collected by numerous avalanche professionals in the field across the mountains of B.C. and western Alberta, including ski hill avalanche forecasters, helicopter skiing companies, cat skiing operators and government organizations such as Parks Canada and B.C. Highways. While that data is shared daily among subscribing professional organizations and backcountry operators, the raw information is not available to the public.

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