By understanding a few basic concepts, we hope you will start to understand why avalanches can occur.
They are not random events.
Through good planning, and looking for clues in the field, we hope these basic concepts will help you to make good decisions, navigate around areas of avalanche danger and avoid their grim consequences.
‘What is’ an avalanche? – An avalanche is a moving mass of snow on steep terrain, which has been triggered by adding weight/stress to a weak area of the snowpack.
Here is an example of all of these things coming together.
Here is another example of a larger slide triggered by a snowboarder:
There is a lot going on in an avalanche. In the next few pages we'll look at the different parts of the puzzle.