Robust technology and communications are crucial to ensuring we can give people the best access to our entire lineup of forecasting and weather products. Creating platforms serving our users like you is crucial to our work at NWAC. After all, the forecast, weather station data, and observations are only helpful if you can read and apply them.

Based in a tech epicenter, NWAC strives to keep pace with our community by continually upgrading and advancing our technology. Some years that means focusing on less glamorous upgrades like our database and web security, and other years it can look like a complete relaunch of our website. This year, after surveying our users, doing market analysis, and applying current user research, we took on one of our most significant tech projects to build a native mobile app. 

Understanding how an app could benefit our users was the first step in this process. We wanted to ensure that whatever we built filled a hole in our current products and that our limited funds weren’t better spent on improving the mobile version of the website. We surveyed our users in the spring of 2022, and over 1,600 of you responded. We learned that while our 2021 website update improved the mobile experience, there were still a number of friction points in the user experience, navigation, and connectivity. All of which could be improved or solved by building an app. 

From discovery to build, NWAC’s Program Director, Charlotte Guard, had been working with a high-functioning tech committee who, in an entirely volunteer capacity, lent their skills to decide on a technical direction and begin the groundwork of figuring out how to build it. The tech committee made up of Steve Kuznetzov, Yulia Dubinia, and Zach Buzaid, has been meeting weekly since the spring of 2022 to bring the project from a whiteboard brainstorm to a fully functional app. In addition to their volunteer hours, we brought on developer Brian Sharon who pulled it together, and designers Erica Miller and Kaitlin Kovacevich. In addition to being experts in their fields, the whole team is made up of backcountry enthusiasts passionate about making something great for the community. 

Our top priority was to create an app that allowed you to seamlessly access the core products you rely on to plan your day: avalanche and weather forecasts, weather station data, and observations. Learning from surveys, user interviews, and analytics, we designed each product to be easy to access whether you were filling out your blue book the night before or checking in from the backcountry.

Here are some of the features we’re most excited about: 

Consolidated Forecast View 

A forecast view that allows you to quickly toggle between the avalanche forecast, weather forecast, weather station data, and observations for any given zone. We built collapsible sections to limit scrolling and allow you to focus on each part of the forecast to plan your day better. 

Offline Observation Submission 

You will be able to submit your observation right from the trailhead or field regardless of if you have cell reception or not. The app will cache your observation and automatically submit it once you reach better service. 

Offline Forecast Caching 

The app will automatically cache the forecast after you have viewed it. That means if you check the forecast when it comes out at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, your phone will hold onto that data until 6:00 p.m. the next day. You’ll be able to quickly double-check the forecast at the trailhead, in the field, and during your debrief.

Push Notifications

When the weather forecast doesn’t align, the avalanche forecast might not either. You’ll be notified when a forecast update or significant incoming weather event has occurred.

Optimized Weather Station Tables and Data

This update will optimize how you see weather station data on your phone, eliminating the confusion of the rows and columns mixing up when you zoom or scroll. 

Favorite Zones and Weather Stations 

You can select your most visited zones and viewed weather stations. Making it easy to curate the app to be specific to you. 


The features highlighted in this blog post are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the capabilities of our new app. We’re committed to providing you with the best possible experience to get into the backcountry and will continue to develop and improve the app with your support. By backing this project, you’ll gain access to a cutting-edge app and have a say in its future direction. So join us on this exciting journey and help us bring even more innovative features. We can’t wait to see how you use it to improve your days in the mountains. You can expect to see the new NWAC app launched in the fall of 2023.