Governor Polis celebrates launch of Accident Explorer alongside Colorado Avalanche Information Center and Colorado Mountain College, keeping Colorado’s great outdoors safe
Colorado Avalanche Information Center and Colorado Mountain College collaborated with the Governor's office to produce this press release.
LEADVILLE - Dec. 14, 2023 - Today, Governor Polis celebrated the launch of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and Colorado Mountain College Geographic Information Systems program new Avalanche Accident Explorer. This interactive map displays information about Colorado’s fatal avalanche accidents since December 2009.
“Safely exploring Colorado’s iconic great outdoors is part of who we are. The new Avalanche Accident Explorer makes avalanche information more accessible to help Coloradans and visitors explore more safely,” said Governor Polis. “This collaboration between CAIC and CMC students is a great example of real-world learning opportunities for students that will protect Coloradans and our millions of visitors.”
Dara Seidl, CMC Leadville’s associate professor of geographic information systems, and CMC students Lucy Kepner and Joe Tayabji created the data visualization tool to help people more easily explore fatal involvements with avalanches.
“Partnering with CAIC on the Avalanche Accident Explorer has been a tremendous opportunity for CMC GIS students to engage in meaningful spatial visualization work for the benefit of our Colorado community,” said Seidl. “Our collaboration enabled our GIS students to further hone programming skills and build a custom web map application from the ground up.”
Accidents are shown on a map with various layers and filters that can be selected. Users can filter accidents by travel mode, aspect, elevation and avalanche type to explore where fatal accidents are taking place.
“We are so grateful for this partnership with Dara and her students,” said Ethan Greene, CAIC director. “This interactive tool allows us to share important information about avalanche accidents in an intuitive, interactive platform. We know that people learn better when they can explore information. Together, we have created a public safety tool that allows people to see avalanche accident data on a map so that they can learn how to avoid this natural hazard.”
The Avalanche Accident Explorer is accessible from the CAIC website at under the "Accidents" menu. For more information about the data, go to CAIC Statistics & Reporting. To see the avalanche forecast for your area or to learn more about avalanche safety, go to CAIC's home page. CAIC always urges backcountry travelers to check the forecast, get some training and be prepared with the proper knowledge and equipment.