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.

Recent Presentations

Click here to check out our NSAW presentations!

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:

Recent Conferences

Click here to check out our papers!

Latest Publications

Identifying operation-specific ski run classes and their acceptability for skiing from avalanche risk management decisions in mechanized skiing

Terrain ManagementThesis
Reto Sterchi
M.R.M. research thesis. School of Resource and Environmental Management. Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C
Publication year: 2018

Deriving customized terrain classes for avalanche risk management in mechanized skiing operations from operational terrain assessments

Journal PaperTerrain ManagementUnder public review
Reto Sterchi and Pascal Haegeli
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,, in review, 2018.
Publication year: 2018

2018 State of the Mountains Report - Snow Avalanches

Magazine Article
Pascal Haegeli
The Alpine Club of Canada's State of the Mountains Report. L. Parrott, Z. Robinson, D, Hik (Eds.), 1, 19-21
Publication year: 2018

Click here for a full listing of SARP publications.