The Mountain Taketh

Ski and board season for most of the continental US is coming quickly to a close.  Now, if you’re out here with me in the PNW; you’ve got the option of skiing all year (something I’ve yet to partake in, but it’s on the books).  As an avid boarder and soon to be skier I always find myself in a strange state of limbo at this time of year.  I’m caught between looking forward to actually seeing the sun, and mourning the loss of bottomless powder days.  The PNW had quite a few of those this season, making for quite an epic past few months.

With the endless powder, however, comes endless danger, and this season brought that quite close to home as a group of skiers were killed in a resort that I visit sporadically, and a snowboarder was killed at my “home” resort on the same day.  While both incidents are very sad, both could have been easily avoided by not overlooking the massive risks of weather and snow conditions involved during that day.

The mountain doesn’t really mind that you’re using it for sport but it also doesn’t mind when it snuffs your life out.  In  such wild conditions it is paramount that the proper respect be paid to mother nature.  If this is done, and the right precautions taken, many injuries and deaths are easily avoided.

In light of the end of the season and my new position with Tableau Software I’ve worked up a little data vizulation – Tableau’s specialty – via Tableau Public.  The viz looks into Avalanche incident reports across most of the seasons that reporting has been around.  The data came courtesy of the CAIC.

I haven’t worked out how to get it to appear in the post yet so check it out here: http://public.tableausoftware.com/views/AvalancheIncidents1997-2011/Avalanches

It’s a live interactive dashboard, so you can click around in the different filters and the maps and graphs.  Play around, see what you think

*Note: Shameless plug coming*  Tableau Public is the free to anyone version of Tableau and functions much like youtube but for data visualizations.  If data and cool charts/graphs/etc are your thing, check it out: http://www.tableausoftware.com/public

Rob M

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