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To consistently make safe and informed decisions about winter backcountry travel in the mountains, recreationists need to be able to accurately understand and sensibly act upon relevant information about avalanche conditions. For many individuals, this information is obtained from the public avalanche bulletin, which is tasked with facilitating the avalanche risk management practices of an audience that varies widely when it comes to their technical competence and informational needs (St. Clair, 2019).
In recent years, concerted efforts have been made to improve the production end of avalanche bulletins and the consistency and reliability of information they provide. However, much less focus has been placed on the receiving end of avalanche risk communication. As a result, not much is known about whether winter backcountry recreationists possess the avalanche bulletin literacy skills they need to properly use, comprehend, and implement bulletin information.
This article provides a brief summary of the results of our survey study that tried to better understand whether backcountry recreationists who say they use the bulletin is a certain way (i.e., self-reported avalanche bulletin user type) actually have the knowledge and skills to use the bulletin in this way.
Click here to access our article. You can access the entire issue of the Avalanche Journal of the Canadian Avalanche Association at https://issuu.com/theavalanchejournal/docs/caj_vol124.