Research Team Profile

It is important to us to create a research environment where research participants feel save and comfortable to share their opinions and perspectives with us without being judged. Part of this is to be completely transparent about who we are, where we have come from, and what our motivations are. This page provides some personal background information on the research team members involved in this study.

Eeva Latosuo (she/her)
PhD Student and Research Lead

Originally from Finland, my Master’s degree is in Environmental Science from the University of Helsinki. My outdoor career started as a climbing instructor for National Outdoor Leadership School and a professional ski patroller in Colorado – a special shout out to Vail Ski Patrol! The last 18 years, I have been an associate professor of Outdoor Studies at Alaska Pacific University delivering courses and field intensives in snow science and technical climbing. I continue to teach professional avalanche courses in the U.S. In addition, I am an active member of the Search and Rescue community, including an avalanche dog handler and an avalanche specialist.

Ever since spending time in the North Cascades in the mid90s, I have been drawn to the mountain environment and the people interacting with this landscape. How do we draw joy from the mountains and how do we navigate their complex risks? I get excited about geeking about the snowpack but what really motivates me is observing what us humans do with the medium. This curiosity has landed me in the Avalanche Risk Communication research group at the Simon Fraser University as a PhD student.

My role in this project is a lead researcher under the guidance of Pascal Haegeli from SFU and Julie Demuth from National Center of Atmospheric Research. I am excited to work with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecasters and the folks who interact with their products. Using a transdisciplinary approach and applying social science frameworks, I will focus on the user’s perspective on what works and what doesn’t in avalanche risk communication. Learning from the people who use the services will help the avalanche professionals improve the quality of their forecasting products.

Pascal Haegeli (he/him)
Associate Professor and Supervisor

I found my love for the mountains, snow and skiing in my childhood in Switzerland where I was born and raised, but it was only during my early years at university that I started to ski in the backcountry. I had the fortune to have a few knowledgeable friends who introduced me to the craft of reading the avalanche bulletin, setting a track, and using a transceiver.

In 1998, I moved to British Columbia to pursue a PhD at the University of British Columbia focusing on avalanches, which allowed me to combine my interest in science with my passion for the winter backcountry. I simply wanted to learn more about how avalanches work and how to manage the associated risks. Over the last 23 years, I was fortunate to have worked with many amazing people who shared their avalanche experiences, knowledge, and wisdom, and I was lucky to find a way to contribute to the Canadian avalanche community with my academic skills. Since 2015, I have the pleasure to work with a wonderful team of students to explore interesting avalanche safety related research topics at Simon Fraser University. And even though I am not spending that much time in the backcountry anymore, my motivation to learn more about avalanches and help others to enjoy the backcountry safely remains the same.

My role in this project is to assist Eeva and guide her research approach in the background to ensure we make the most out of her enthusiasm and research talent.

Land Acknowledgment

Simon Fraser University is located on the unceded ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Líl̓wat (Lil'wat), and St̓át̓imc Tmicw (St’at’imc) Peoples. We understand this acknowledgement to be a starting place for further reflection on historical and ongoing settler colonialism and for ongoing critical self-location. In addition to this statement, we hold ourselves accountable to meaningful learning and action at home, in the office, and on the skin track.

For more information on our perspective on justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, visit our JEDI positionality statement at

Background photo credit: Jake Hutchinson