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Snow Avalanches and Prevention

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Head: Dr. Jürg Schweizer

This research unit investigates the formation and dynamics of avalanches in order to improve the forecasting of when and where avalanche events are likely to occur and their effects. It engages in process modelling based on laboratory experiments and field investigations.

On behalf of the government, it also operates the Swiss avalanche warning service. The avalanche bulletin provides information concerning the current avalanche situation and warns the public about the avalanche danger. The data underlying the service is delivered by an extensive network of observers and automatic measuring stations. The avalanches and prevention unit develops warning and information systems for public authorities and local emergency services.

Among other key duties, the unit provides advice on practical aspects of avalanche protection, and develops methods for the risk-based management of natural hazards. The latest research and development findings are continuously being translated into practice and used in the unit's intensive teaching and training activities.

It works closely together with other SLF research units and partners in Switzerland and abroad. These include national and international research establishments, cantonal and federal authorities, as well as industry, associations, and agencies responsible for public safety and tourism.



Avalanche bulletin

In its avalanche bulletins, the SLF provides information about the current avalanche situation. Its content is designed as an informed warning.


Research into avalanche formation, dynamics and protection is therefore a key part of our remit.