A3 seeks to further research related to snow and avalanche professionals. Please respond if you meet the criteria for Eric’s research, and feel free to pass along to others who do, as well.

Hello! My name is Eric Haskell. I am a former ski guide and avalanche educator who is currently completing a Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies. As part of my program, I am doing research that combines my love of mountain communities with that of a career devoted to helping others. My study will look at the incidence of trauma experienced in alpine sports and the effects of trauma on mental health. I am looking for avalanche professionals willing to complete a 2–5-minute anonymous online survey. The results will help us better understand the risks we take and their toll on us.

Study Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FBXW7YT

Study: Alpine Sports Health Study

Abstract: High-risk alpine sports participation has become increasingly popular. For the purpose of this study alpine sports include backcountry skiing, mountaineering, rock climbing and ice climbing. Hidden from the hype of these activities is the cost from the inherent risks of these activities. Risks include but are not limited to avalanches, mechanical falls, falling objects, equipment error and adverse conditions. Alpine sport professionals have increased exposure to these risks due to the nature of their work. Previous studies have looked into the mental health effects of trauma on high-risk professionals such as soldiers and first responders. Few studies have included alpine sport professionals. This retrospective study will utilize an anonymous online survey to query participants about their exposure to trauma while engaging in alpine sports and look at the effects on their mental health. Study groups of interest include avalanche professionals, mountain guides, SAR members, climbing rangers and recreationalists.

Study Goals: This is a preliminary study aimed to quantify the prevalence of trauma experienced in alpine sports and gauge the effects on participants’ mental health. Surveys will be collected for the months of May and June 2021. Results will be shared in the fall 2021. It is hoped that this study will serve as a launch for further investigation and raise awareness of mental health issues in mountain communities.

Feature photo by Jocey K is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0