Typical Avalanche Problems

The five typical avalanche problems as defined by the European Avalanche Warning Services EAWS aim to describe typical situations as they occur in avalanche terrain and to support avalanche professionals and recreationists in their evaluation of the avalanche hazard. They complement the danger level and the danger locations (slope aspect and elevation) and represent the third level in the information pyramid. The following definitions include a general characterization of the problem including expected avalanche types, a description of the typical spatial distribution and of the position of the weak layer in the snowpack, a characterization of the release mechanism, a description of typical durations and time periods of the problem, and finally some travel advises for recreationists. The main focus thereby is on recreationists traveling in avalanche terrain. However, the typical avalanche problems may also be useful for avalanche safety services.


The five avalanche problems are:

  • New snow
  • Wind-drifted snow
  • Persistent weak layer
  • Wet snow
  • Gliding snow


Link to the typical avalanche problems in different languages:

Problemi Tipici Valanghivi [IT]

Typical Avalanche Problems [EN]

Situations avalancheuses typiques [FR]

Problemas típicos de aludes [ES]

Typische Lawinenprobleme [DE]

Problemes típics d’allaus [CAT]

Typiske skredproblemer [NO]