Graduate Students

John Sykes – PhD student (Geography)

John started his career as an avalanche professional in 2011 working as a mountaineering guide and avalanche educator in Alaska. Feeling the draw to further his education in snow science John completed a MSc at the Snow and Avalanche Laboratory in the Department of Earth Sciences at Montana State University from 2016 to 2018. His research focused on decision-making in backcountry skiers by looking at GPS tracks and survey responses. At SARP John is continuing to research decision-making in avalanche terrain by developing new avalanche hazard maps and analyzing GPS tracks of heli-ski guides. The goal of his research is to work towards a new decision-making tool for both professional and recreational backcountry skiers based on the observed decisions of expert guides.

You can reach John at

Florian Herla – PhD student (Geography)

Florian came to SARP with a strong background in meteorology. While he initially focused on glaciology during his undergrad, he specialized in atmospheric dynamics during his Master’s degree at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. At SARP he has the opportunity to merge his theoretical background with his practical experience as an outdoor enthusiast and IFMGA mountain guide in-training. He will build on the established infrastructure of numerical snowpack modeling and integrate solutions to evaluate and correct the modeled snow stratigraphy based on operational snowpack observations. The ultimate goal of his research is to integrate lessons from the human avalanche risk assessment process to extract meaningful information on the avalanche hazard from numerical snowpack models for practitioners.

You can reach Florian at

Stan Nowak – PhD student (School of Interactive Arts and Technology)

Stan started working with SARP in the fall of 2017 as a Master’s student. His initial curiosity in visualizing snowpack simulations led to a series of collaborations that has since grown into PhD work developing visualization tools for operational avalanche forecasters. Having an academic background in cognitive psychology, a professional background in visual analytics, and a passion for recreating in the outdoors, Stan naturally took to the work and culture of SARP. His research is focused on the development of visual analytics systems that address uncertainty and ambiguity in avalanche forecasting and other complex analysis domains.

You can reach Stan at

Anne St. Claire

Anne St.Clair – PhD student

Anne started working with SARP in the fall of 2017 as a master’s student in the Resource and Environmental Management program. For her master’s research, Anne examined differences in how backcountry recreationists incorporate avalanche hazard information into their travel decisions. The resulting use patterns revealed connections to stages of learning that can inform prescriptive, stage-based solutions for risk communication design. Anne is continuing her research with the SARP program as a PhD student. For her doctoral studies, she aims to better understand meaningful differences in how people process information to manage avalanche risk in their environments. Through Indigenous-led research collaborations, Anne is eager support an improved collective understanding of mountain knowledge systems and to move towards more targeted, equitable, and effective communication strategies. Anne works with Avalanche Canada as a public avalanche forecaster and with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) as an Instructor Trainer and Education Committee member.

You can reach Anne at

Eeva Latosuo

Eeva Latosuo – PhD student

Originally from Finland, Eeva completed a MSc at University of Helsinki in Environmental Science. She has been an avalanche practitioner in North America for a few decades as a professional ski patroller in Colorado, a mountaineering and climbing instructor in the Pacific Northwest, an avalanche educator in Alaska, and a Search and Rescue volunteer with her avalanche dog. Eeva comes to SFU as an associate professor of Outdoor Studies at Alaska Pacific University, where she has taught snow science and outdoor recreation since 2004. She is joining the SARP with a strong motivation to collaborate in an interdisciplinary research team. Eeva’s goal is to apply social sciences theoretical frameworks to improve the risk decision making and  risk communication in the avalanche environment.

You can reach Eeva at

Rosie Langford – Master’s student

Rosie joined the SARP team as a Master’s student in Fall 2020, after working with the group as an undergraduate student on numerous projects since 2017. She holds a BSc in Physical Geography from SFU and has worked for the past three years in avalanche education and with a local outdoor mentorship program with an interest in understanding and facilitating safe, empowering, and fun experiences in the outdoors. With a goal of informing improvements in recreational avalanche risk management decision supports, Rosie’s research aims to comprehensively understand recreationists’ avalanche risk management practices when travelling in the backcountry.

You can reach Rosie at

Anneliese Neweduk – Master’s student

Anneliese joined the SARP team in fall of 2021. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from UBC Okanagan. Over the past three years she worked with the Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society on various social service and community development projects. Anneliese plans to apply her psychology background to SARP by studying motivations behind why people recreate in the backcountry in order to help make avalanche risk communication services more effective. Her wider interests include environment and land use planning, rural community development, and sustainable tourism.

You can reach Anneliese at

Kelsea Krawetz

Kelsea Krawetz – Master’s student

Kelsea joined the SARP team as a Master’s student in Fall 2022. She holds a BASc in Geotechnical Engineering from UBC and has split her time over the past three years working as a geotechnical engineering consultant and a mechanized backcountry ski photographer. Coupling her background in slope stability modeling and field based avalanche hazard assessments, Kelsea hopes to investigate and improve data inputs for numerical snowpack models.

You can reach Kelsea at

Griffin Slimkowich

Griffin Slimkowich – Master’s student (he/him)

Griffin joined the SARP team to undertake his Masters in REM in 2022. He has undergraduate degrees in Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism, as well as Geography from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Since moving to Vancouver in 2016, Griffin has worked in regional and provincial parks in trail maintenance and monitoring, and has been a supervisor for the team of snowshoe guides and outdoor educators in Mt Seymour Provincial Park. Between his outdoor pursuits and regular studies, Griffin plans to put his experience and expertise with outdoor education, backcountry safety and snowshoeing to good use with the SARP lab, expanding our understanding of snowshoers as an emerging user group.

You can reach Griffin at


Simon Horton

Simon Horton (Avalanche Canada)

Simon is a public avalanche forecaster with Avalanche Canada and recently complete a postdoc with SARP. His research explores ways weather and snow cover models can be applied to understand mountain snowpack conditions. He completed his PhD in Avalanche Mechanics from the University of Calgary and is developing an operational model system that predicts avalanche conditions across remote parts of western Canada.

Your can reach Simon at

Grant Statham (Parks Canada) – Adjunct Professor

Grant is a Mountain Guide and Avalanche Forecaster who started out as an ice climber and ski patroller back in 1986, then completed his ACMG/IFMGA certification in 1993. For his first 17 years Grant pursued alpine climbing, international expeditions, helicopter skiing and waterfall ice climbing before starting to work for Parks Canada in 2003. Following the 2003 Connaught Creek avalanche tragedy, Grant led Parks Canada through a decade of innovative changes to their public avalanche warning systems, often in consultation with Dr. Pascal Haegeli. Today Grant is employed by Parks Canada as an avalanche forecaster and rescue specialist in Banff National Park, and also works independently as a consultant doing avalanche program reviews, risk and safety consulting, public speaking and expert witness services.

James Floyer (Avalanche Canada) – Adjunct Professor

James is an Avalanche Forecaster who supervises the Public Avalanche forecasting operations of Avalanche Canada. He has been involved in avalanche research since 2001, investigating computer assisted forecasting for his MSC at the University of British Columbia, and layer detection in snowpack penetrometer signals for his PhD at the University of Calgary. Through his work with Avalanche Canada, he has traveled extensively within western Canada (and beyond), and has met a large number of recreational winter backcountry users. He is interested in technical aspects of snow avalanche science including snowpack modeling, as well as human elements such as influencing behaviour and risk communication.