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’s Avalanche Research Program in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC, Canada.

Research Objective

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.

Interested in joining the SFU Avalanche Research Program?
Click here for more information on how to get involved.

Interdisciplinary research and development for improved avalanche safety


This website offers access to the following SARP resources:

Social Media

To stay up-to-date with SARP and receive the latest news on our research projects, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Latest Publication

Describing the severity of avalanche terrain numerically using the observed terrain selection practices of professional guides

Journal PaperTerrain Management
Scott Thumlert and Pascal Haegeli
Nat Hazards (2017).
Publication year: 2017

A conceptual model of avalanche hazard

Hazard AssessmentJournal Paper
Grant Statham, Pascal Haegeli, Ethan Greene, Karl Birkeland, Clair Israelson, Bruce Tremper, Chris Stethem, Bruce McMahon, Brad White, John Kelly
Nat Hazards (2017).
Publication year: 2017

Linking avalanche hazard in Western Canada to climate oscillations

Hazard AssessmentThesis
Bret Shandro
M.R.M. research project no. 676, 2017-9. School of Resource and Environmental Management. Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C
Publication year: 2017

Click here for a full listing of SARP publications.