Standards

Avalanche Danger Scale

The avalanche danger is a function of snowpack stability, its spatial distribution and avalanche size. It refers to a specific region of at least 100 km² (not a single slope).

The European Avalanche Danger Scale has five levels.

The avalanche danger scale – an overview

Icon Avalanche Danger Level Dry Snow 4 5, high and very high | EAWS European Avalanche Warning Services
Danger Level

5 – Very high

Extraordinary avalanche conditions

Numerous very large and often extremely large natural avalanches can be expected, even in moderately steep terrain.

Very rarely forecast.

Icon Avalanche Danger Level Dry Snow 4 5, high and very high | EAWS European Avalanche Warning Services
Danger Level

4 – High

Very dangerous avalanche conditions

Triggering is likely, even from low additional loads, on many steep slopes. In some cases, numerous large and often very large natural avalanches can be expected.

Typical danger signs:
Widespread recent avalanche activity, cracking, “Whumpf” sounds.
Remote triggering of avalanches is typical.

Forecasted only on a few days throughout the winter.

Around 10 % of avalanche fatalities.
Icon Avalanche Danger Level Dry Snow 3, considerable | EAWS European Avalanche Warning Services
Danger Level

3 – Considerable

Dangerous avalanche conditions

Triggering is possible, even from low additional loads, particularly on the indicated steep slopes. In certain situations some large, and in isolated cases very large natural avalanches are possible.

Typical danger signs:
Recent avalanche activity, cracking, “Whumpf” sounds.
Remote triggering of avalanches is typical, especially if Persistent weak layer is one of the avalanche problems.

Forecast for around 30 % of the winter season.

Around 50 % of avalanche fatalities.
Icon Avalanche Danger Level Dry Snow 2, moderate | EAWS European Avalanche Warning Services
Danger Level

2 – Moderate

Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features
Triggering is possible, primarily from high additional loads, particularly on the indicated steep slopes. Very large natural avalanches are unlikely.

Typical danger signs:
Often you get no danger signs, but that does not necessarily mean it is safe. Pay extra attention if Persistent weak layer is one of the avalanche problems.

Forecast for around 50 % of the winter season.

Around 30 % of avalanche fatalities.
Icon Avalanche Danger Level Dry Snow 1, low | EAWS European Avalanche Warning Services
Danger Level

1 – Low

Generally stable conditions
Triggering is generally possible only from high additional loads in isolated areas of very steep, extreme terrain. Only small and medium natural avalanches are possible.

Typical danger signs:
Rarely any danger signs.

Forecast for around 20 % of the winter season.

Around 5 % of avalanche fatalities.

HEADER PICTURE: Cracks © regobs.no, The Norwegian Avalanche Warning Service | EAWS