2015 Speakers

Dr. Rudi Mair

Dr. Rudi Mair has been the head of the “Lawinenwarnzentrale” (Avalanche Crisis Center) for Tyrol since 1999.He studied meteorology and glaciology at the University of Innsbruck and was assigned for two years as scientist at the German Antarctic research station ‘Neumayer’. He is one of the very few top experts in the world on avalanche research and the natural hazards assessment in mountain areas. Because of his professional background as a disaster relief/avalanche expert, Mair is the expert advisor to the Governor of Tyrol on this subject.

The Avalanche Crisis Center is located in Innsbruck and monitors the slopes by means of 80 different automatic weather stations. The staff then issues a warning level for the day, every day from November to April. Dr. Mair is responsible for coordinating all data that are collected in the center. He also coordinates the regional avalanche warning teams around the state. He is further responsible for the military and civil coordination (CIMIC) on all issues related to snow avalanches. On all rescue operations he manages the governmental, military and NGO organizations involved.

Rudi Mair is married and has three children.


Bruce Jamieson

bruce_jamiesonDr. Bruce Jamieson focuses on avalanche research at the University of Calgary and teaching. He offers Snow Avalanche Formation and Release (ENCI 753) in the fall terms of even-numbered years and Snow Avalanche Hazard Mitigation (ENCI 751) in the fall terms of odd-numbered years.

Bruce has 30 years of experience spanning avalanche hazard management, hazard assessment, snow and avalanche research, avalanche forecasting and avalanche control. He was president of the Canadian Avalanche Association from 1992 to 1995, chaired the 1996 International Snow Science Workshop in Banff, Alberta and the Canadian Avalanche Association’s Technical Committee until 2004. During the summers of 2002 and fall of 2008 he was a guest researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research. Dr. Jamieson co-edited the Canadian Avalanche Association’s Guidelines for Snow Avalanche Risk Determination and Mapping in Canada, and theLand Managers Guide to Snow Avalanche Hazards in Canada. He also co-wrote Avalanche Accidents in Canada: 1984-1996. His three short books on backcountry avalanche safety are used as student manuals for the Canadian Avalanche Association’s avalanche skills training courses. In 2006 he was granted Honourary Membership in the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides for his work on practical snowpack tests and communication of avalanche science. In 2007 he received an Outstanding Achievement Award for Applied Research from the Canadian Avalanche Association. He is a Professional Engineer registered in Alberta and British Columbia.

Research Activities:

Bruce’s research is supported by Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, HeliCat Canada, Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing, the Canadian Avalanche Association, Canada West Ski Areas Association, Backcountry Lodges of B.C., Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, Tech Mining Company, Canadian Ski Guides Assocation, Parks Canada, Canadian Avalanche Foundation and private individuals. The field work is in cooperation with Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing, Mt. Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.


Don Sharaf

Don-SharafDon Sharaf is one of the owners of AAI. He has spent 30 years backcountry skiing and riding all over the US and Canada. He has taught avalanche and mountaineering courses for the last 25 years and been a heli-ski guide and avalanche forecaster in Alaska for the past 15 years. In other words, enough time to pay attention, to learn a few lessons, and to see the value of remaining humble in the face of the dragon. Although he constantly challenges himself to figure out how avalanches work, his true passion still remains moving though the mountains… and rivers.