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.

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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.

Resources

This website offers access to the following SARP resources:

Recent Conferences

Click here to check out our papers!

Latest Publications

Exploring the relationship between avalanche hazard and large-scale terrain choices at a helicopter skiing operation – Insight from run list ratings

Journal PaperTerrain ManagementUnder public review
Reto Sterchi, Pascal Haegeli and Patrick Mair
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-57, UNDER REVIEW
Publication year: 2019

Exploring the link between the Conceptual Model of Avalanche Hazard and the North American Public Avalanche Danger Scale

Hazard AssessmentThesis
Taylor Clark
M.R.M. research project no. 721, 2019-1. School of Resource and Environmental Management. Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C.
Publication year: 2019

A method of deriving operation-specific ski run classes for avalanche risk management decisions in mechanized skiing

Journal PaperTerrain Management
Reto Sterchi and Pascal Haegeli
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 269-285, 2019 https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-19-269-2019
Publication year: 2019

Click here for a full listing of SARP publications.