Recognizing and Avoiding Avalanche Areas
An avalanche may occur on a snow-covered slope when the strength of the snowpack cannot support the extra weight from a snowmobile, skier, rain, or heavy snowfall. An earthquake or wind also may cause an avalanche.
- Learn to recognize and avoid avalanche terrain such as:
- Areas where a slope is steeper than 30 degrees
- Overhanging masses of snow or ice, often found on a ridge
- Observe good safety procedures, especially relating to avalanches.
- Make a riding plan based on the current avalanche and weather forecast.
- Choose a route that is close to dense timber, if possible.
- Travel with a partner or in a group.
- Ride on the slope one at a time while the rest of the group watches from a safe spot.
- Make sure each person has appropriate rescue gear, including a shovel, a probe, and a transceiver or beeper.
- Before crossing an unstable slope, look for possible escape routes should an avalanche occur.
- Do not park your snowmobile at the bottom of a slope.
- Do not assist a rider whose sled is stuck on a steep slope. This can add weight to the snow pack and trigger an avalanche.
- Do not participate in highmarking.