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
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.