Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek

The New York Times recently unveiled an interactive story titled “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.” It’s an experiment, and is thus presented under the “projects” sub-URL of the Times. The story is about survival after an avalanche in the Cascade Mountains:

The Cascades are among the craggiest of American mountain ranges, roughly cut, as if carved with a chain saw. In summer, the gray peaks are sprinkled with glaciers. In winter, they are smothered in some of North America’s deepest snowpack.

The top of Cowboy Mountain, about 75 miles east of Seattle, rises to 5,853 feet — about half the height of the tallest Cascades, but higher than its nearest neighbors, enough to provide 360-degree views. It feels more like a long fin than a summit, a few feet wide in parts. Locals call it Cowboy Ridge.

To one side, down steep chutes, is Stevens Pass ski area, which receives about 400,000 visitors each winter. To the other, outside the ski area’s boundary to what is considered the back of Cowboy Mountain, is an unmonitored play area of reliably deep snow, a “powder stash,” known as Tunnel Creek.

An interactive overview of the Cascades.

An interactive overview of the Cascades.

So far, only the first part of the story is available online. And it’s a delight. From the text, to the in-line photos and videos, this is a top-notch media experiment. I highly recommend clicking through and reading/partaking.

Update (12/21/12): The whole story is now online.


(hat tip: @KathrynSchulz)