Parks Canada

The World's First Backcountry Skiing Permit System Web App

The Problem

In Canada's Glacier National Park, avalanche control is performed primarily through artillery fire to actively trigger avalanches. To avoid areas that are closed for avalanche control activities, backcountry skiers are meant to check the status of the Winter Permit System (WPS) areas via the WPS Website and receive an access permit at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre.

Violations of the WPS can delay avalanche control activities targeting the restricted area where skiers are failing to comply. There is also an increased risk of unplanned avalanches, which can distrupt strategically important highways and railways leading to unnecessary clean up. These implications can be costly for Parks Canada.

Parks Canada Winter Permit System Website Home page

Our Approach

It was assumed that WPS Website users were struggling to understand how to abide by the WPS because of the poor Website user experience. The proposed solution was to replace the existing WPS Website with an HTML5 map-based and GPS tracking Web app. We worked together to learn if that was a viable option by testing the most pivotal assumptions and conducting generative user experience research.

We are unnable to share the user research findings due to signing an NDA. The app was found to be a viable solution and we provided actionable recommendations for improving the app user experience and user interface features. Deliverables included user personas, user journey mapping, reporting, and presentation of results. The project was delivered on time, on budget and within scope. We continue to provide ongoing evaluative usability testing.

Parks Canada WIS Web app