‘BRRAAPPPING’ In the North – daily avalanche bulletins, BC mountain snowmobilers and avalanche skill training uptake
Duncan, Andrew James
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British Columbia is a rewarding region for winter backcountry travel. Studies acknowledge that compared to backcountry skiers, relatively little is known about snowmobilers as a user group, or their attitudes toward avalanche safety. This research aimed to describe the attitudes and safety habits of mountain snowmobilers in North Rockies and determine if the current forecasting service affected their backcountry travel habits. Data were collected during 2016 from 262 active snowmobile users across the Northern Rockies. Results then were compared to data-rich forecasting regions within B.C., which have been previously studied. A significant finding was a new heuristic trap that affects mountain snowmobilers termed ‘the-stuck-friend’ heuristic. Results showed little difference between snowmobiling communities with respect towards avalanche literacy, AST 1 uptake, transceiver usage, avalanche involvement and given the large discrepancy in available forecasting and viewership between north and south, infers a missed opportunity to further engage and educate mountain snowmobilers.