Avalanche Problems Toolbox

Avalanche Problems Toolbox - Featured Image

Avalanche Problems Explained

The Avalanche Danger is a broad brushstroke of daily conditions.

Avalanche Problems are an extension of the Danger Scale and use four factors to give a more nuanced description of the days avalanche conditions:

  1. the type of potential avalanche
  2. the location of that avalanche in the terrain
  3. the likelihood of triggering it
  4. the potential size of the avalanche

Type of Avalanche Problem: Avalanches have a wide variety of personalities. Avalanche specialists in the United States use nine distinct ‘types’ to describe the days avalanche conditions.

Avalanche Problems are:

  1. Storm snow (Storm slab)
  2. Loose dry
  3. Wind slab
  4. Persistent slab
  5. Deep slab
  6. Loose wet
  7. Wet slab
  8. Cornice
  9. Glide slab

Avalanche Problems have become a mainstay, not only for forecast centers but also for avalanche education throughout North America. Among professionals, it is widely agreed that the type of avalanche conditions determines one’s choice of terrain. Many of our users are only beginning to understand this concept. Therefore, we seek to expand the current descriptions by adding terrain management advice specific to each of the nine Problems.


Travel Advice for Avalanche Problems

Avalanche Problems Toolbox - Storm Slab

Avalanche Problems Toolbox - Loose Dry Snow

Avalanche Problems Toolbox - Wind Slab

Avalanche Problems Toolbox - Persistent Slab

Avalanche Problems Toolbox - Deep Slab

Avalanche Problems Toolbox - Loose Wet Snow

Avalanche Problems Toolbox - Wet Slab

Avalanche Problems Toolbox - Cornice

Avalanche Problems Toolbox - Glide Slab

Terrain Management Metrics

Avalanche Behavior

Remote Triggers

Reliability of Tests and Observations

Avalanche Danger Scale

Avalanche Danger Scale


Avalanche Problem, Avalanche Encyclopedia from Avalanche.org.

Avalanche Problem Toolbox, Utah Avalanche Center.
By Wendy Wagner and Drew Hardesty.
From Proceedings, International Snow Science Workshop, Banff, 2014.
Public forecasting tool designed to communicate travel advice specific to each of the established Avalanche Problems.

Read the original paper: “Travel Advice for the Avalanche Problems: A Public Forecasting Tool” (PDF)

(Content on this page comes from the resources listed above.)