Avalanches occur in terrain where skiing looks good. Knowledge is key. Avalanches occur on steep slopes that make for great skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and climbing. But getting caught in an avalanche is not simply bad luck. Avalanches happen for particular reasons at specific places and specific points in time. Knowledge and information are key to preventing avalanche accidents.
Video: Avalanche Awareness
Knowledge is key in case of an avalanche accident. This film covers the basics and can get you on the right track to learn more.
See movie (5.41 min)
What is an avalanche?
An avalanche is simply a mass of snow sliding down a steep hill or mountain. The most dangerous is the slab avalanche which occurs when a cohesive plate of snow breaks free and slides down the mountainside.
Snow slabs can be very soft (excellent powder skiing) or very hard (like a wood floor) and can become dangerous when overlaying a weaker layer of snow perched on a steep slope. Most avalanche victims trigger their own avalanche.
Knowledge is key!
To gain knowledge and experience, take avalanche courses, travel with experienced people, and get out into the mountains to have fun, but be ready for rescue.
If you are unsure about your ability to travel in avalanche prone terrain, stay on the pistes, or consider hiring a professional, certified guide.
Within ski areas, ski patrols use a combined program of monitoring, compaction, explosives and education to provide safe and enjoyable conditions.