If you decide to travel in the mountains, you choose to expose yourself to risk. There is always some level of risk as there is no such thing as 100% safety. We cannot calculate reliable risk values for backcountry activities but the Avaluator™ Trip Planner can provide an idea of the relative risk of one trip compared to another.
The level of risk someone is willing to accept is a personal choice. We decide what level of risk we expose ourselves to by making careful choices. For example, we can choose what types of terrain to travel in and when to travel.
The Avaluator™ Trip Planner combines current snow and avalanche conditions (danger rating) and the terrain of the intended trip (ATES rating). It uses colours to represent professional recommendations about training and experience required for safe travel. Through the colour boundaries, it aids the user in deciding whether the risk falls within personal tolerances. It then presents prevention values that provide a somewhat objective measure for personal decisions about risk.
The Avaluator™ does not predict when or where avalanches will occur, nor does it tell you to go or not to go, but it does provide a systematic planning process that helps you make informed decisions about the potential risk presented by your trip. It allows users to make informed choices about what combinations of danger and terrain ratings are acceptable to them.
Using current danger ratings and an ATES rating, a trip is placed on the Trip Planner matrix, which then advises the decision maker about what level of risk their trip might entail.
The level of risk indicated by the Avaluator™ is a measure of relative risk that compares the planned trip with past trips on which incidents occurred.
Decision makers can then decide whether their chosen trip falls within their personal avalanche risk comfort level and, based on that information, can decide for themselves if it is appropriate to proceed.