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The popularity of winter backcountry recreation has grown substantially in the last decade, drawing an increasingly diverse community of individuals to the winter mountains. To manage avalanche hazard, recreationists must make risk-informed decisions. Decision aids and frameworks have been developed to support recreational in-field avalanche risk management. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of recreationists’ risk management practices is crucial to tailoring risk management supports to the needs of the diverse and expanding winter backcountry community. This study contributes to this effort using qualitative social science methods to explore how recreationists manage avalanche risk in the field. Through nine in-depth interviews, I identified and characterized patterns in recreationists’ risk management decision-making processes and the contextual factors that define them. The findings provide a descriptive and empirical illustration of the broad spectrum of recreational in-field avalanche risk management practices, which has implications for different stakeholders in the recreational, professional, and academic communities.
Click here to access a copy of Rosie’s thesis.