Exploration of attitudes, motivations and behavioural patterns of social media users in relation to winter backcountry recreation and its effect on avalanche safety behaviour

Social media has substantially changed the information landscape for winter backcountry recreation (e.g., backcountry skiers and snowboarders, mountain snowmobile riders and snowshoers), which has created both opportunities and challenges for avalanche safety. The Avalanche Research Program at Simon Fraser University and Avalanche Canada are conducting a study to examine how recreationists seek, share and introduce social media related information to their avalanche risk management process.

Visual Analytics Methods to Support Sensemaking under Ambiguity in Avalanche Forecasting

Analysis of complex systems involves much more than what is evident in data alone. Background knowledge and experience are used to inform interpretation. Often this results in ambiguity, a state where multiple potential interpretations must be considered and evaluated. When analysis is shared these challenges are compounded by the complexity of communication. Ambiguity is common in avalanche forecasting.

Examining backcountry recreationists’ understanding and use of the avalanche danger scale: insights from qualitative interviews and responses to an online survey

Danger scales use a combination of colours, words, and severity levels to efficiently communicate basic hazard information to a target audience. Avalanche warning services around the world use a colour-coded, five-level danger scale to communicate the severity of snow avalanche conditions to recreational backcountry users. While past research has primarily focused on helping forecasters produce accurate danger levels, there has been relatively little research on recreationists’ comprehension and use of danger ratings.

Improving avalanche forecasts in data-sparse areas with physical snowpack modelling - Year two

Assessing dangerous avalanche conditions requires a reliable stream of weather and snowpack data, which can be difficult and expensive to collect in many remote areas of Canada. Snowpack conditions can be simulated in these areas by coupling weather forecast models with physical snowpack models, however, this method has had limited adoption by avalanche forecasters.

Improving avalanche forecasts in data-sparse areas with physical snowpack modelling

Assessing dangerous avalanche conditions requires a reliable stream of weather and snowpack data, which can be difficult and expensive to collect in many remote areas of Canada. Snowpack conditions can be simulated in these areas by coupling weather forecast models with physical snowpack models, however, this method has had limited adoption by avalanche forecasters.

A Mental Model Approach to Avalanche Risk Communication: Examining Avalanche Bulletin Use and Comprehension

The Avalanche Research Program at Simon Fraser University and Avalanche Canada are conducting a study to examine how winter backcountry recreationists, including backcountry skiers and snowboarders, mountain snowmobile riders and snow shoers, seek and use avalanche safety information. Avalanche Canada and Park Canada publish avalanche bulletins daily to provide backcountry users with information on avalanche hazard. The goal of the research is to examine whether recreationists use Avalanche Canada’s information products as they are intended to be used.

Linking avalanche danger ratings to the conceptual model of avalanche hazard

Avalanche Canada and Park Canada publish avalanche bulletins daily to provide backcountry users with information on avalanche hazard. Since 2010, Canadian bulletins follow the recently developed conceptual model of avalanche hazard (CMAH), which describes the key components of avalanche hazard and how to combine them into an overall assessment. However, the CMAH does not provide guidance on how hazard assessments relate to danger ratings on the North American Public Avalanche Danger Scale, a crucial tool for avalanche risk communication and a central component of avalanche bulletins.

Expanding the concept of avalanche climate: Detailed insights into the nature and variability of avalanche hazard in Western Canada between 2009/10 and 2016/17

Different snowpack structures and weather conditions create distinct types of avalanche problems that require different risk mitigation practices. In North America, nine types of avalanche problems have been identified in the recently introduced Conceptual Model of Avalanche Hazard (CMAH). Avalanche Canada and Parks Canada forecasters have identified and assessed avalanche problems according to the CMAH daily since the winter 2009/10. This dataset provides a unique opportunity for examining the nature of avalanche hazard in western Canada.