Introducing The Avalanche Fatality Feature

 We’ve added an icon to our Snow Mode Basemap that indicates where there has been an avalanche fatality since the 2009/2010 season. 

Where It Came From

Over the last year, we’ve gone deep with professionals in avalanche safety. For this project we enlisted the help of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) and the National Avalanche Center (NAC), on creating a valuable structure of iconography. “Our [avalanche center’s] business is to get critical information into the hands of people to keep them safe. onX Backcountry helps us do our job better by sharing the work we do with their users,” says Ethan Greene of the CAIC.

You Asked, We Listened

In a recent customer survey as well as countless conversations with avalanche professionals, we confirmed that our users place value on a few things while using our app—especially Offline Maps and information tied to avalanches. Our commitment to avalanche safety is steadfast, but also addresses our place as only one (albeit, great) tool to help you make decisions in the backcountry. We wanted to bring you something never before done, a comprehensive list of fatal avalanche reports on one map for free. 

“We believe it’s important safety information that any user should have access to. The data is already free via avalanche centers, we’ve just made it more visual.”

Charlie Avis, onX Backcountry Product Manager

Since the 2009/2010 season, the CAIC has been aggregating avalanche incident reports on their website. For this launch, we worked with them to link fatal incidents to their respective locations on our map. The intent here is to outline patterns in high-traffic areas to provide information that may allow the user to avoid the same outcome. Now, before you head into a zone, either new or familiar, you can prepare better. 

How to Use It

While planning your route either on desktop or on the go, zoom into the general vicinity in which you’ll be recreating to display the icon. This denotes where a fatal avalanche has occurred since the 2009/2010 season. Clicking the icon populates a card containing basic information about the incident like date, location, number of fatalities, elevation, and, most importantly, a link to the full incident report on the CAIC’s website where you can find a much more detailed description. It’s important to note that this isn’t a list of comprehensive avalanche accidents, nor does it outline every slope that could potentially be deadly. Be sure to use your avalanche education course training, our slope angle tool, and mentors to learn about safety in the mountains. 

Avalanche Fatality Icons
Capitalize on your avalanche education with this new feature.

Mitch Breton

Mitch Breton was raised on the shores of Maine's coastline chasing fresh snow, trout, grouse, and the best darn mosquito repellent money can buy. Covering topics from fly fishing, car camping, and beyond, he thrives on a story well-told.