online avalanche course

Avalanche problems

View larger image Photo: C. Campbell

This section introduces the eight most common avalanche problems for backcountry recreationists in western Canada, which are the primary components of avalanche danger. An understanding of the nature of the current avalanche danger - specifically the avalanche problems that constitute the danger - is essential for risk management. This concept is often referred to as knowing the species of dragon you’re dealing with, which is a good analogy; knowing whether a dragon can fly, or breath fire, or its potential size, is going to determine you’re approach to slaying said dragon.

This section describes the problem, favourable terrain, destructive potential, early indications, and sensitivity to triggers. Tips on how to manage this avalanche problem in the backountry are covered later in the course in the chapter on Reducing Risk in the Field under Good Travel Habits. You can skip ahead by using the navigation pane on the left, or follow the suggested path by using the links at the bottom of each page...

Loose dry avalanches