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Typical danger situations (avalanche problems)


Fig. 1: Danger map showing highlighted region and the relevant danger description. The description contains the following elements:
A - Danger level ("How great is the avalanche danger?")
B - Avalanche problem ("What is the main problem?")
C - Avalanche prone locations (core zone) ("Where in particular does the avalanche problem prevail?")
D - Description ("What are the characteristics of the avalanche problem?")

The danger description that forms part of the avalanche bulletin always cites one or more typical avalanche situations or avalanche problems. The purpose is to focus attention on the current avalanche problem. This practice makes use of the human brain's capacity to recognise and interpret recurring characteristics. Each problem has a different cause and calls for a specific response appropriate to the situation.
Several problems can occur at once, but the avalanche bulletin does not describe more than three problems at a time.

The avalanche problems cited in the avalanche bulletin are described briefly below and, where possible, illustrated with an example of an actual accident that has occurred in the relevant conditions.

New snow

Snow drifts

Old snow

Wet avalanches (as the day progresses)

Full-depth snowslides

Favourable situation