[part title=”Identifying Avalanche Risk”]
1. Slope angle
In Europe avalanches release on slopes of more than 28° (25° in North America), for those who like me did not excel in maths in school that equates to a steep red or black run. But beware as there is a difference between where the avalanche releases and where it is triggered. You can trigger an avalanche when standing on a lower angle slope when there are steeper slopes around you.
Avoid: Steep angled slopes and slopes with steep angled slopes around them
2. Snow Stability
If you are skiing with a qualified guide with expert avalanche knowledge you will notice that they can read the snow pack like the back of their hand. For jo-soap this level of knowledge does not come so readily. Snow stability is a crucial consideration and should not be over-looked. When the snow is unstable there is a much higher chance of triggering an avalanche.
All resorts will have avalanche forecasts that will provide essential information about snow stability. It will also include a danger rating. Local professionals will also be able to provide further insight into conditions so don’t be afraid to ask around.
Avoid: Skiing on slopes facing in the same direction as others that have had recent avalanche activity. Slopes facing in a particular direction often have more activity than others due to wind loading of snow that is often very unstable.