Perception of terrain characteristics in professional heli-ski guides

In the backcountry, the best powder skiing can be found in terrain that is susceptible to snow avalanches. Travelers are responsible for managing this threat by choosing terrain that will minimize this threat, and they must strike a balance between minimizing risk and finding an enjoyable skiing experience. Perception plays a fundamental role when selecting terrain, which means that these choices are influenced by a suite of psychological factors. This research project will utilize the experience of expert heli-ski guides to find what attributes they find attractive when choosing safe terrain for skiing. This is the first project to investigate the tacit knowledge of desirable terrain features in mountain guides. Further, it will assess for any variability in how these guides view terrain, which will significantly contribute to guiding teams’ understanding of how guides make decisions and view their surroundings. TO BE CONT’D

Faculty Supervisor:

Pascal Haegeli


Brendan Wakefield


HeliCat Canada


Environmental sciences


Sports and recreation




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