Snow avalanches claim about 13 lives in Canada every year, more than any other natural hazard. Most victims are backcountry recreationists, but avalanches also threaten villages, utility lines, resource operations and cause traffic hazard and economic loss by blocking critical transportation corridors.
In this course, you will get an interdisciplinary overview of avalanche risk management that covers the physical processes involved in avalanche formation, the characteristics of terrain threatened by avalanches, the methods used for assessing avalanche hazard and mitigating the risk, and the medical aspects of avalanche survival.
After this course, you will have a comprehensive understanding of how avalanche risk affects Canadians and how it is managed in different contexts, such as commercial guiding, ski areas, transportation and public safety. The material taught in this course will either deepen your understanding of what you might have learned in an Avalanche Skills Training or CAA course or provide you with an academic starting point for a professional career in avalanche safety by giving you deep insight into the inner workings of avalanche safety in Canada.
The course is instructed by Pascal Haegeli, Assistant Professor at SFU’s School for Resource and Environmental Management. Pascal has been an avalanche safety researcher and developer for more than 15 years. Among his contributions are the development of the Avaluator, research on the effectiveness of avalanche airbags, and several studies on decision-making in avalanche terrain. He currently holds the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Avalanche Risk Management and leads a research group of about 10 graduate students pursuing a wide range of avalanche safety topics. Click here for more information on Pascal’s research.