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European Danger Scale with recommendations

Danger level Icon Snowpack stability Avalanche triggering probability Consequences for transportation routes and settlements / recommendations Consequences for persons outside secured zones / recommendations
5 very high gs4_5 The snowpack is poorly bonded and largely unstable in general. Numerous large-sized and often very large-sized natural avalanches can be expected, even in moderately steep terrain. Acute danger.Comprehensive safety measures. Highly unfavourable conditions. Avoid open terrain.
4 high gs4_5 The snowpack is poorly bonded on most steep slopes 1. Triggering is likely even from low additional loads 2 on many steep slopes. In some cases, numerous medium-sized and often large-sized natural avalanches can be expected. Many exposed sectors are endangered. Safety measures recommended in those places. Unfavourable conditions.Extensive experience in the assessment of avalanche danger is required. Remain in moderately steep terrain / heed avalanche run out zones.
3 considerable gs3 The snowpack is moderately to poorly bonded on many steep slopes 1. Triggering is possible, even from low additional loads 2 particularly on the indicated steep slopes. In some cases medium-sized, in isolated cases large-sized natural avalanches are possible. Isolated exposed sectors are endangered.Some safety measures recommended in those places. Partially unfavourable conditions.Experience in the assessment of avalanche danger is required. Steep slopes of indicated aspects and altitude zones should be avoided if possible.
2 moderate gs2 The snowpack is only moderately well bonded on some steep slopes 1, otherwise well bonded in general. Triggering is possible primarily from high additional loads 2, particularly on the indicated steep slopes. Large-sized natural avalanches are unlikely. Low danger of natural avalanches. Mostly favourable conditions. Careful route selection, especially on steep slopes of indicated aspects and altitude zones.
1 low gs1 The snowpack is well bonded and stable in general. Triggering is generally possible only from high additional loads 2 in isolated areas of very steep, extreme terrain. Only sluffs and small-sized natural avalanches are possible. No danger. Generally safe conditions.
  • 1 The avalanche prone terrain is generally explained in greater detail in Avalanche Bulletin (e.g. altitude zone, aspect, type of terrain)
  • 2 Additional load:
    - high (e.g. group of skiers without spacing, snowmobile/groomer, avalanche blasting)
    - low (e.g. single skier, snowboarder, snowshoe hiker)
  • moderately steep terrain: slopes flatter than about 30 degrees
    steep slopes: slopes with an angle of more than about 30 degrees
    steep extreme terrain: those which are particularly unfavourable as regards slope angle (usually steeper than about 40°), terrain profile, proximity to ridge, roughness of underlying ground
  • natural: without human assistance
  • Aspect: the compass direction in which a downward slope faces
  • exposed: especially exposed to danger
  • "conditions" refers exclusively to the avalanche danger. The avalanche bulletin only rarely remarks on the condition of the snow (powder snow, corn snow, breakable crust) and weather conditions (fog, storm force winds), which are also potentially dangerous in some circumstances.

Danger Scale PDF

Glossary snow and avalanches