Jerry Johnson, Pascal Haegeli, Jordy Hendrikx, Scott Savage
Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, 13, 49-56
Publication year: 2016


We report on a study of 392 avalanche professionals (AVPRO). We describe their demographics, organizational work environment, and the causes and incidence of accidents. We find evidence of strong and weak cultures of safety among AVPRO organizations and analyze differences between the two with respect to avalanche safety work procedures, personal work skills and attitudes, and causes of accidents. Demographics between the two groups are not different but the perceived causes for accidents were. Those organizations we classify as having a strong culture of safety are identified by their employees as having better avalanche training and reporting procedures and, more positive working behaviors. With respect to accident causes, we report that “operational pressures” and “management overriding personal judgement” during operations were reported by those in organizations with a weak culture of safety as contributing factors. Whereas we find value in large scale surveys of the AVPRO industry, we acknowledge that alternative methods of understanding of organizational culture AVPROs exist and should be utilized.