Tag Archives: Stewart-Patterson

Avalanche Expertise

avaSki guides who use helicopters or tracked vehicles to get skiers into the treasured deep powder must evaluate avalanche possibilities. Iain Stewart-Patterson of Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC, examines avalanche expertise in a JDM context in “What Does Your Gut Say and Should You Listen? The Intuitive-Analytical Decision Making Continuum in Mechanized Ski Guiding.”  The paper was presented at the 2010 Snow Science International Workshop.

British Columbia does seem to be the obvious place to do such a study.  Even a non-skier does not forget the concrete avalanche sheds that protect the highway that come seemingly one after another in southern British Columbia. Stewart-Patterson tells us that ski guides are trained in the decision process at each step in the certification process. There are three levels of avalanche training and four levels of guide training and certification representing a total of 50-60 days. Stewart-Patterson interviewed 32 accomplished guides with an average of about 9600 hours of experience. He also had them complete questionnaires.

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