• Avalanche Basics

    Avalanche Basics
    Avalanche Basics
  • Be Prepared

    Be Prepared
    Be Prepared
  • On Tour

    On Tour
    On Tour
  • Avalanches

  • Emergency situation
    on the mountain


There are more than 5,000 different types of snow crystals! This proves just how complex snow really is. Don’t worry – you don’t need to know everything about it to be able to enjoy the powder safely. However, there are a few basic things that you should know.
Risk reduction starts at home. A close look at the avalanche bulletin will tell you what’s to be expected on the following day. Combined with a topographic map, the bulletin allows you to locate potentially dangerous areas and select or eliminate routes using the graphical reduction method. Before we explain how that works, we will go and stick our noses back into the snow!

Watch the Avalanche Basics tutorial!

How does a weak layer form in the snowpack?

The snowpack structure is something like a Black Forest cake – but often even more unstable! It is made up of numerous different layers that are formed over the course of the winter as a result of different weather conditions and transformation processes. The main factors determining the avalanche danger are always the snowpack structure and the bonding between the individual layers. Watch how a weak layer can form here!

Get to know the five avalanche danger levels!

The avalanche bulletin is THE basis for every tour plan! It provides detailed information about the snowpack structure, dangerous areas and the weather. We will explain the five-level scale and show you what you need to pay attention to!

Show me the danger levels!

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The graphical reduction method!

This tool allows you to make a rough estimate of the avalanche risk for your tour before you leave the house. It takes into account factors such as danger levels, slope steepness, conditions and slope aspect. Ultimately, the graphical reduction method cannot see into the snowpack; only you can do that and only you can evaluate the danger in each new situation and make the appropriate decisions.

Recognize the danger signs in the field.

Terrain features have an effect on avalanche formation because they determine the effect of wind direction and speed and, hence, the amount of snow blown by the wind. With a bit of experience and a lot of alertness, you can select a safe route. Find out how to identify potentially dangerous areas!

Show me the signs in the field!

Learn more about avalanches through the ten main danger patterns defined by the Tyrol Avalanche Warning Service.

Weather patterns occurring over the winter often repeat themselves. Rudi Mair and Patrick Nairz, both seasoned professionals at the Tyrol Avalanche Warning Service, recognized this phenomenon and derived ten consistently recurring avalanche danger patterns from it. With their help, you can become an expert, too!


You've absorbed all of the information in this chapter and are now a real Freeride expert in AVALANCHE BASICS? You know which way the wind is blowing and where the sun is shining? Then take part in our contest and win an ORTOVOX ABS backpack or another one of our super prizes.

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