So the first thing you need to figure out is whether you are in avalanche terrain or not; in other words, am I on or at the base of terrain steep enough to avalanche?
And the best way to determine whether the terrain is steep enough is to actually measure it with a slope meter or inclinometer.
Learning to recognize avalanche terrain is the first and most important step in avalanche hazard evaluation.
Slopes less steep than about about 30 degrees are so low angle that they rarely avalanche.
However, slopes steeper than about 30 degrees and especially slopes steeper than about 35 degrees can and often do avalanche.
And many of us like to ski and snowboard on slopes steeper than 30 degrees and that puts us in avalanche terrain...if it is exciting it is probably 35 degrees or steeper.
But just because the slope is steep enough to avalanche doesn't mean that it will; the snow must also be unstable. So click on snowpack and find out how to determine whether a snowpack is liable to avalanche.
Next Section: Snowpack »