Snow avalanches claim about 14 lives in Canada every year, more than any other natural hazard. Most victims are private backcountry recreationists (e.g., skiers, snowmobilers, mountaineers) making their own decisions, but avalanches also threaten villages, utility lines, resource operations and cause traffic hazard and economic loss by blocking highways and railways.

Avalanche research programs have traditionally primarily taken a snow science/engineering perspective, but the SFU Avalanche Research Program (SARP) aims to approach the topic of avalanche safety more broadly to better understand the interplay of all components affecting avalanche risk and develop innovative solutions for managing it more effectively.

This website provides you with access to the research portfolio of Dr. Pascal Haegeli, who holds the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Avalanche Risk Management and leads the Avalanche Research Program in the School for Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC, Canada.

Participate in Our Research

We are currently recruiting participants for our study on the use of avalanche safety information.

Click here for more info and to sign up.

Research Objective

Interdisciplinary research and development for improved avalanche safety

Our research interests lie at the interface between the natural and social sciences and our objective is to conduct interdisciplinary research and develop evidence-based tools that assist backcountry recreationists and avalanche professionals to make better informed decision when preparing for and travelling in avalanche terrain.

To address these challenges, we work closely with our partners in the Canadian avalanche community and employ research approaches and methods from a wide variety of fields including atmospheric science, snow science, geography, GIS, risk analysis, decision-making science, communication, psychology, sociology, accident analysis, public health and medicine.

Click here for more information on our research areas.


This website offers access to the following SARP resources:

Upcoming Conferences

Latest Publication

Quantitative Assessment of Risks Involved in Mechanized Skiing in Canada

Accidents & RiskThesis
Matthias Walcher
MSc Thesis in Water Management and Environmental Engineering - Mountain Risk Engineering, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria.
Publication year: 2017

Using discrete choice experiments to examine the stepwise nature of avalanche risk management decisions—An example from mountain snowmobiling

Journal PaperUser Groups
Pascal Haegeli and Luke Robbins Strong-Cvetich
Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism. doi:10.1016/j.jort.2018.01.007
Publication year: 2018

Characterizing the nature and variability of avalanche hazard in western Canada

Hazard AssessmentJournal Paper
Bret Shandro and Pascal Haegeli
Natural Hazards and Earth System Science. doi:10.5194/nhess-2018-2 (currently under review as a discussion paper).
Publication year: 2018

Click here for a full listing of SARP publications.