What Should You Do If You're Caught in an Avalanche?

Avalanches can pose a serious danger risk.
Avalanches can pose a serious danger risk.

An avalanche is a rapid flow of snow down a mountainside or hill. However, avalanches can also occur on any slope provided the conditions are right, meaning certain regions are naturally more dangerous than others. Most avalanches take place during wintertime but fatalities caused by the slide are recorded every month of the year. There are some factors that result in avalanches including slope steepness, weather, snowpack conditions, terrain, and temperature. An avalanche can be a terrifying experience, and therefore, the best thing to do is to avoid places where avalanches are possible. However, as that is not always practical, there are also some safety tips to take into consideration. They are outlined below.

Jump Upslope

Most avalanches are caused by human activity such as snowboarding or skiing. When this happens, snow usually begins to fall directly down. The best way to avoid being caught in such an avalanche is to jump upslope quickly. To avoid getting trapped in the slide, one should move beyond the fracture line as quickly as possible. However, one should always be very careful while taking such action as jumping out of the way of a starting avalanche requires one's brain to process the situation quickly and to in turn act promptly.

Grab Onto Something

As obvious as it sounds, grabbing on something to avoid being caught in an avalanche is dependent on the size of the avalanche. However, in smaller and less powerful avalanches it can save one’s life. While massive avalanches have the ability to rip trees and move rocks grabbing on to them during a smaller slide can help keep you in a static position while avoiding getting disoriented as the snow builds up around you.


When you find yourself being dragged down a mountain by an avalanche, you should try as much as possible to keep your head in the open air and to stay afloat by swimming as vigorously as you can in the direction of the quick moving snow.

Move Or Roll Yourself Sideways

During an avalanche, snow moves fastest at the center, and therefore it is the most dangerous spot for one to be. One of the best ways to avoid getting caught in an avalanche is to move sideways whether the slide starts above you or directly beneath your feet. It is essential to start moving as soon you notice the signs of an avalanche because the sooner you get out of the way of an avalanche the better your chances are at surviving the ordeal. While moving sideways ensure that you do not move too hastily as you might lose your footing.

The Risk Of Being Caught In An Avalanche

One of the constant worries that ski-management stations, ski-mountaineers, and powder-snow skiers face is the danger of being trapped in an avalanche. Despite your level of ski expertise, one should always be aware of the imminent dangers that avalanches pose. One winter season differs from the other such that there are winter seasons when fragile layers of snow are formed more quickly thus making slab avalanches more likely to occur. There will always be some risk of an avalanche occurring, and therefore it is essential always take responsibility for yourself if it is not possible to ensure that you put your safety in the hands of an experienced guard.


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