British Columbia agency tweets avalanche warnings to snowmobilers

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A program aimed at snowmobilers in Vancouver, British Columbia, has started to send out avalanche and weather warnings via Twitter, Facebook and RSS.

Over the weekend the Canadian Avalanche Centre activated its online avalanche warning bulletin system.

"We're using Twitter, Facebook and RSS," Ilya Storm, an avalanche forecaster with the center in Revelstoke, told the Vancouver Sun. "The website is just there and people have to come to us. But with tweeting and RSS feeds, we will push it out to them."

The new efforts come after a review of 19 snowmobile deaths in the province in the 2008-2009 season. The study found that snowmobilers weren’t checking avalanche warnings, or thought they were less vulnerable than skiers.

Les Auston of the B.C. Snowmobiling Federation there are 75,000 to 100,000 snowmobilers in the province, based on sled sales. He thinks more people are taking an interest in avalanches and safety in general.

"People are finally waking up and realizing there are safe ways to enjoy the sport."

Posted by Holly Wagner