The 19th ISSW returned to the Banff Center for the 3rd time. Originally is was the first “ISSW-like” meeting in 1976 and was held at the Banff Center again in 1996.
As before Banff provided a spectacular physical backdrop for the Workshop. Paper presentations were watched in both the main Eric Harvie Theater and the traditional simulcast room. Commercial Exhibitors were located in the Theater lobby in the area used for the coffee breaks. A week-long art show and silent auction was held, featuring local-area artists with the proceeds going to public avalanche safety.
Several new innovations were introduced at the Workshop. Authors were invited to submit their work to special issues of Cold Regions Science and Technology Journal and the Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism.
A special effort was made to encourage submission by practioners, and to that end a Mentorship program was set up through the University of Calgary to help practioners with the process of organizing and submitting their research.
Again there was no hard copy of the Proceedings but the papers were distributed through a USB key. In addition, an “ISSW 2014” app was developed for iPhone and Android containing the abstracts, schedules, maps and other pertinent information.
In an effort to promote more discussion of topics directly relevant to practioners, ISSW held Workshops with a panel of experts and moderated discussion about: “Avalanche Safety Equipment for Ice and Alpine Climbing”, “Avalanche Research”, “Compaction”, and “Training, Certification, Qualification and Scope of Practice”. The Workshops were attended beyond capacity and were a great success. However they were held concurrently with the late morning paper presentations and some participants were disappointed by having to make a choice which to attend.
The mid-week field trip had good weather. A chance to hear about avalanche history and control programs were given at Sunshine Village or Lake Louise with hiking trips as well as a more far ranging look at the avalanche programs along the Trans-Canada Highway. Riding (both bicycle and horse) and golfing were among other activities offered.
As always the social elements were a highlight. Events began Welcome on Sunday night followed by TAS Movie Night, Avalanche Divas night, a night of whiskey and local avalanche history at the Whyte museum, Finally the week was capped off with the ISSW Banquet. Long time avalanche researcher and practioners, and ISSW 1988 Chair, Chris Stethem gave an entertaining talk about his career. In addition, two iconic individuals in avalanche history made appearances during the week: Peter Scherer and Ron Perla!
The event was supported by Title Sponsors Arcteryx Equipment and TAS; Supporting Sponsors Black Diamond/Pieps and Wyssen, and Contributing Sponsors BCA, Mammut, Tecterra, Avatech, CIL Explosives, Osprey and the Banff Ave. Brewing Co.