Avalanche Standards

Warning Levels

The avalanche danger is evaluated  and communicates it with the five-levelled European avalanche danger scale. The five danger levels are described by three different parameters:

  • Probability of avalanche release
  • Distribution of hazardous sites
  • Size and frequency of expected avalanches

The danger level always applies to a region with an area of >100 km² and not to a specific individual slope. The avalanche danger described always a forecast with uncertainties. It should always be checked on site.

Avalanche Risk 1
Danger Level 1

Low

Generally favourable avalanche situation

No alarm signs present. Avalanches can only be triggered in isolated cases, in particular on extremely steep slopes.

Recommendations for backcountry recreationists

Travel extremely steep slopes one person at a time and mind the danger of falling.

Avalanche Risk 2
Danger Level 2

Moderate

Mostly favorable avalanche situation

Alarm signs can occur in isolated cases. Avalanches can be triggered in particular on very steep slopes with the aspect and elevation indicated on avalanche.report. Large natural avalanches are unlikely.

Recommendations for backcountry recreationists

Backcountry activities should be selected carefully, especially on slopes with the aspect and elevation indicated on avalanche.report. Travel very steep slopes one person at a time. Pay attention to unfavourable snowpack structure (persistent weak layers, old snow problem).

Avalanche Risk 3
Danger Level 3

Considerable

Critical avalanche situation

Whumpf sounds and shooting cracks are typical. Avalanches can easily be triggered, particularly on steep slopes with the aspect and elevation indicated on avalanche.report. Natural avalanches and remote triggering may occur.

Recommendations for backcountry recreationists

The most critical situation for backcountry recreationists. Use terrain effecently and select best possible route and with minimal exposure. Avoid very steep slopes with the aspect and elevation indicated on avalanche.report. Inexperienced persons are advised to remain on open ski runs and trails.

Avalanche Risk 4
Danger Level 4

High

Very critical avalanche situation

Natural and often very large avalanches are likely. Avalanches can easily be triggered on many steep slopes. Remote triggering is typical. Whumpf sounds and shooting cracks occur frequently.

Recommendations for backcountry recreationists

Stay on moderately steep terrain. Watch out below run out zones of large avalanches. Inexperienced persons should remain on open ski runs and trails. Forecast only on a few days throughout the winter.

Avalanche Risk 5
Danger Level 5

Very High

Extraordinary avalanche situation

Numerous very large and extreme natural avalanches can be expected. These can reach roads and settlements in the valley.

Recommendations for backcountry recreationists

You are advised not to engage in winter sports beyond open ski runs and trails.

Danger Scale

The official danger level for all avalanche reports and risk warnings in Europe.
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Snow Problems

The five typical avalanche problems supplement the description of the danger level. These problems represent the hazardous terrain.
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Danger Patterns

The danger patterns point to typical, repetitive and usually obvious danger situation. They immerse deeper into the process within the snowpack.
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Avalanche Size

You get a description of the different avalanche size and how you can classified them.
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