Avalanche risk assessment

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Carsten Øster Nielsen
  • Mark Boelsmand Østergaard
  • Suzanne Eide Knudsen
4. term, Industrial Design, Master (Master Programme)
This thesis project revolves around the dangers of avalanches with a special focus on freeriders. Freeriders are recreational skiers and snowboarders who go beyond the pistes of ski resorts to engage themselves into thrilling - and sometimes hazardous – descents on mountain slopes covered with fresh powder snow. The most extreme freeriders perform these games at breakneck speed over insane overhangs but today even intermediate skiers are frequent freeriders. Many of them are unaware of the risk of unwillingly setting off avalanches and potentially causing injury or death to themselves and others. The project is the result of an extensive research into the context of freeriding and the nature of avalanche-hazards. The conclusions of the research conducted are, that ignorance of the triggering factors is a major contributor to the 141 deaths annually claimed by avalanches. Today national avalanche authorities issue avalanche bulletins for entire regions, which say little about actual local conditions that may vary much in comparison. Adding to this problem is the dilemma that making a proper local, personal risk assessment requires gathering information from several sources and might end up giving you undesirable results when in the back country. The project’s proposal for a solution is one of “prophylactic design”, as the intent has never been to prevent freeriders from doing what they love most. Instead, the solution Freeriders Guide is a product-service-system that aims at collecting and processing information needed for avalanche risk assessment and making it available to freeriders via an Internet-based social network and through portable electronics. Emphasis has been on integrating various stakeholders in the service and outlining concepts for the touch-points of the primary user - the freerider.
Publication date2009
Publishing institutionAAU, Arkitektur og design
ID: 17635471