Snow avalanches claim about 10 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.

Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Please click here to learn more about where we see ourselves within today’s conversation and growing movement towards a more just, equitable, diverse and inclusive society, and our vision for contributing to sustainable and permanent change.

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 decisions 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 Presentations

Click here to check out videos of recent presentations from our group!

Latest Publications

How can avalanche bulletins be more useful for recreationists? Exploring three opportunities for improving communication of avalanche hazard information

Risk CommunicationThesisUser Groups
Kathie Fisher
M.R.M. thesis, 2021-08. School of Resource and Environmental Management. Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C.
Publication year: 2021

Impact of information presentation on interpretability of spatial hazard information: Lessons from a study in avalanche safety

Journal PaperRisk CommunicationUnder public review
Katie Fisher, Pascal Haegeli and Patrick Mair
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss. [preprint], https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-147, in review, 2021.
Publication year: 2021

Examining the operational use of avalanche problems with decision trees and model-generated weather and snowpack variables

Hazard AssessmentJournal Paper
Simon Horton, Moses Towell, and Pascal Haegeli
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 3551–3576, https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-20-3551-2020
Publication year: 2020

Click here for a full listing of SARP publications.