The record breaking El Niño is already dumping huge amounts of at ski resorts across the west. Whether you’re a diehard powder hound, or simply a water starved Californian, this is good news for everyone. However, with monster storms comes added avalanche danger. For riders who are planning to venture out of bounds this season, there is no excuse for for exiting that backcountry gate or skinning up from your favorite trailhead without the right tools. In addition to some avalanche safety training, a beacon, shovel, and probe, there is a new app from Utah brand, Avatech, that is shaping up to a huge force in the industry. The Avanet platform is truly a revolution in snow safety for both professionals and the average backcountry rider.
Avanet serves as a crowd sourced snow safety app that allows users to check avalanche forecasts from professional services, share their own observations from the field with the public, and plan their backcountry skiing routes based on current danger ratings. The most important thing though, is how user friendly it is. We got a sneak peek at it before the official launch this week. From both the desktop and mobile apps (iOS only for now), every function is right at your fingertips.
Our favorite feature is the route planner. Given a set of danger parameters from the local forecast, you can exclude different altitudes, terrain aspects, and slope steepness. This may seem a little esoteric, but for the seasoned backcountry rider, it can add just a little peace of mind in picking a route that minimizes danger while traveling both uphill and downhill. For example, if avalanche forecasters at your local ski resort determined that North West facing slopes with greater than a 33 degree angle had extremely unstable snow, you could input that info into your desktop app and Avanet will show you exactly where to ski to avoid that danger. After building a route, you can share it with your friends and log your own observations through photos and snow measurements to include on the online map for your community. A word of caution though, while the route planner and forecast features are great tools, they do not replace proper training and individual decision making responsibilities while you’re out on the snow. We are very excited to watch more features roll out in the coming season, and expect Avanet to become the new standard in safety and communication for backcountry users all winter.