A riveting new feature story by John Branch in The New York Times details the fatal avalanche that occurred last winter in Washington’s Cascade Range. On Feb. 19, 2012, three men lost their lives at Tunnel Creek on the backside of the Stevens Pass ski area.
While the story is beautifully reported, the interactive elements are truly engrossing. They include slideshows of the people who skied in the area that day, a model of the avalanche’s path in real time, a map showing where the three victims were found, GoPro videos taken in realtime the day of the accident, video interviews with the people who tried desperately to dig them out and slideshows of those the victims left behind.
The feature also illustrates why people go in search of backcountry powder in a short video that shows the beauty of skiing through untouched terrain.
The article not only delivers thorough coverage of the events, but also explains how avalanches occur and examines avalanche safety at a time when many foresee the potential for more deaths.
“…the worry among avalanche forecasters, snow-science experts and search-and-rescue leaders is that the number of fatalities—roughly 200 around the world each year—will keep rising as the rush to the backcountry continues among skiers, snowboarders, climbers and snowmobilers,” Branch wrote.