Pascal, a native Swiss, came to Canada in 1998 to pursue a doctorate in the Atmospheric Science Program at the University of British Columbia. With his love for the mountains and backcountry skiing, it is not much of a surprise that his research ended up in avalanche safety. For his doctoral thesis, Pascal examined large-scale avalanche activity patterns in order to improve the forecasting of avalanche cycles for large commercial operations and public avalanche bulletins.
Through his research and collaborations with avalanche professionals, Pascal became increasingly aware that the human dimension of avalanche safety is at least as important as a good understanding of the avalanche phenomenon. After his graduation in 2004, he continued to improve his understanding of both the physical and human aspects of avalanche problems while working on various projects for the Canadian avalanche community as an independent research and development consultant. Some of the highlights of his consultancy work include the development of the Avaluator, a decision aid for amateur recreationists travelling in avalanche terrain, an examination of the effectiveness of avalanche airbags and the complete redesign of the InfoEx, the daily information exchange among Canadian avalanche safety operations.
After more than ten years of being a consultant, Pascal joined the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University as a new faculty in the fall of 2015. He holds the University Research Chair in Avalanche Risk Management and he leads the SFU Avalanche Research Program (SARP). The objective of his research is to conduct applied research at the interface between the natural and social sciences to advance knowledge and develop evidence-based tools that help recreationists and avalanche professionals making better decisions when planning for and travelling in the backcountry in the winter time. Based on his professional and volunteer activities within the Canadian and international avalanche communities over the last decade, he has an extensive professional network abroad as well as long-standing and strong relationships with all of the Canadian stakeholders.