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Timberline Lodge: Historical Snowpack Charting Tool 

Tim­ber­line Lodge has been one of Oregon’s most pop­u­lar tourist areas. Hav­ing been built back in 1937, they have a rich his­to­ry, includ­ing a fluc­tu­a­tion of area’s snow­fall over the years. Tim­ber­line Lodge then part­nered with GRAYBOX to cre­ate a tool that would allow users to inter­ac­tive­ly track the his­tor­i­cal snow­fall at the lodge.

Overall Outcome

Through the cre­ation and imple­men­ta­tion of this chart, Tim­ber­line Lodge found a cre­ative part­ner in dig­i­tal and has since worked with GRAYBOX on a vari­ety of projects advanc­ing their website.

The Results

With the snow­fall chart­ing tool, Tim­ber­line Lodge had an increas­ing amount of users on their web page. They also were able to achieve their goal in hav­ing more inter­ac­tive fea­tures on their site.

  • 50%
    Increase in Page Traffic
  • 15%
    Improvement to Average Time on Page
  • 14%
    Decrease in Bounce Rate
  • 33%
    Decrease in Page Load Time

The Overall Problem

Timberline lodge is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Pacific Northwest. Located on scenic Mt. Hood, Timberline receives thousands of visitors every year during all seasons. Because Timberline is a destination location that is heavily influenced by the weather, it’s been important for their organization to have an effective digital presence through which visitors can plan their visits and understand both the history and possibilities open to them at Timberline Lodge.

GRAYBOX adopted the ExpressionEngine website that Timberline had developed as the platform through which they communicated with their customers. A key feature that was missing from the site was the ability to easily and accurately convey historical snowpack to site visitors. Because winter skiing is a key part of the Timberline business, it was critical that visitors had an easy way to look at trends in snowpack, and be able to plan their trips around times with the highest likelihood of quality snow for skiing. In addition, the Timberline Lodge staff needed an easy way to update this information, and the future flexibility to automate how the data is fed into the site.

We start­ed work­ing with GRAYBOX a few months after the launch of Timberline’s new web­site. In addi­tion to effi­cient­ly tak­ing over the site as our devel­op­ers, they hit the ground run­ning with a cus­tom addition…our his­tor­i­cal snow data. As a ski area that oper­ates year-round, this is very impor­tant infor­ma­tion to the com­pa­ny and our guests. We’ve been track­ing annu­al snow­fall on Mt. Hood since 1949!

Emily Stoller-Smith, Marketing Manager, Timberline Lodge

Our Solution

1. Understanding the Data

The collection and storage of historical snowpack data has been a consistent initiative for Timberline lodge going back many decades. As a result, both the volume and complexity of the data were key pieces to understand before launching into the project. The GRAYBOX team collaborated closely with the Timberline Lodge team to review the historical data files and gain a thorough understanding of the needs. This included understanding the nature of the data, the sources of the data, how different files and data points did (and did not) relate to one another, and what the future would hold for how this data was collected. By starting with the foundation, the GRAYBOX team was able to build an effective plan that could be successfully executed.

2.Leveraging the right technology

Compiling and understanding the data is only the first step. Beyond that, GRAYBOX had to ensure the means by which the data was presented to the public would be effective, easy to use, and readily understandable. GRAYBOX researched multiple toolset options that would work effectively within the ExpressionEngine framework, be sufficiently flexible to accommodate future requests, and be easy to update for the Timberline Lodge users as new data became available. The experienced developers at GARYBOX chose Chart.js, an open source HTML5 javascript toolset designed specifically for creating dynamic charts on the web. By leveraging some off-the-shelf code, and customizing it to meet the specific needs of the client, GRAYBOX was able to craft an elegant and effective solution that provided helpful information to their customers.

3. Making it easy to use and future-pro

The nature of annual snowfall is that the data is constantly changing. As such, the Timberline Lodge team needed the solution to be easy to use and have flexibility to accommodate different data sources in the future. The GRAYBOX team took these factors into account when building the back-end of the system, ensuring any of the users with appropriate permissions could easily update the data by uploading a CSV/Excel file. We additionally structured the stored data in a way that will allow for both expanding the data sets in the future, as well as automating the feed of data into the system via an API when those data sources are made available programmatically. As a result, the system provides a dependable and scalable method for meeting their business needs into the future.

It’s hard to make data inter­est­ing. The most com­pelling part of this project is that the GRAYBOX and Tim­ber­line teams col­lab­o­rat­ed real­ly effec­tive­ly to craft a solu­tion that’s engag­ing. Yes it’s data, but it’s inter­ac­tive, looks great, and is real­ly intu­itive to use.

Jon Love, Principal / Director of Sales at GRAYBOX

Our Services

GRAYBOX worked with Timberline Lodge to provide a unique user experience with detailed design and research development.

Our Results

Timberline Lodge had significantly more site engagement after working with GRAYBOX.

When the new historical snowpack charts were released, they were a significant improvement on what had been presented in the past. Users could easily interact with the charts, including and excluding data from the charts, and dynamically updating the graphs based on the data they cared to see. Because the toolset researched and selected by GRAYBOX is a flexible library, the solution is flexible to accommodate future changes and updates as the business needs evolve. Beyond simply looking great and functioning really effectively, the administration of the data on the back-end is easy for the Timberline users to understand, ensuring it’s easy to keep up to date for their users.

  • 50%
    Increase in Page Traffic
  • 15%
    Improvement to Average Time on Page
  • 14%
    Decrease in Bounce Rate
  • 33%
    Decrease in Page Load Time