At the 2020 Albert Mountain Awards ceremony in Bern, the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF was recognized for its outstanding contribution to avalanche prevention. Other recipients of the 2020 awards were the magazine L'Alpe and the Swiss musician Christian Zehnder. 

The King Albert I Memorial Foundation Albert Mountain Awards take place every two years, and are granted to people and institutions that have made exceptional and lasting contributions to the preservation of the mountains of the world – whether through research, conservation, development, arts and culture, or mountaineering.

To date, the award has been bestowed upon 60 recipients since its foundation in 1993. At this year's ceremony, which took place at the Swiss Alpine Museum in Bern on 25 September, the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF joined their number for its commitment to avalanche prevention for both the mountaineering community and the public at large. The other 2020 winners were L'Alpe, a magazine based in Grenoble (France), and the Swiss musician Christian Zehnder.

World Leaders in Avalanche Prevention and Protection

The SLF is an internationally renowned interdisciplinary research and service centre located in Davos, Switzerland. There, around 140 researchers study snow, the atmosphere, natural hazards, permafrost, and mountain ecological systems, and develop innovative products which put their knowledge to practical use.

"We are delighted to be recognised in this way. It is an honour to be able to receive this award in Bern today in the company of renowned cultural figures, mountaineers, and mountain institutions." – SLF Head Jürg Schweizer.

In their deliberations, the Albert Mountain Award jury noted the internationally leading role that the SLF has taken in advancing knowledge on snow and avalanches in the high mountains, and highlighted the vital contribution made by SLF's avalanche-warning service and practical guidelines for dealing with avalanche danger.

"Through its long-standing, purposeful engagement in the field of public avalanche warning and protection, the Institute has created internationally influential high safety standards for the densely settled Alpine region, with its high concentration of winter sports activities," the jury said. 

Global engagement with the phenomenon of avalanches, which has been substantially shaped by the SLF, has led to new forms of collective risk management, and in 2018 UNESCO recognised avalanche risk management as a part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

The film 'Mountain Fever' showcases the research of the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF – and the people behind it.

Full details of all the 2020 Albert Mountain Award winners can be found in the King Albert I Memorial Foundation press release (in German). 

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