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The Avalanche Forecast


Details tab

The details tab in the avalanche forecast contains extra information to help plan your day in the backcountry. The information here is more technical but it is worth learning how to understand it because it will help you with your daily process.

Avalanche summary

This lets you know what recent avalanche activity has taken place in the region. Forecasters use this section to discuss activity relevant to the current conditions. They may also talk about expected avalanche activity trends in the forecast period.

An avalanche in Eagle Pass.
Avalanche Canada

Snowpack summary

This is where the forecasters discuss the various factors in the snowpack that are driving avalanche conditions. Common topics include layering, the depth of weak layers, and bonds between layers. Forecasters will often add their thoughts about how the snowpack is expected to evolve during the forecast period.

An avalanche professional digs a snow pit.
Jennifer Coulter

Weather forecast

The weather shapes the state of the snowpack and the weather forecast signals the next phase in the snowpack's evolution. This section includes a brief overview of the expected weather for the next three days, including information on the primary factors driving avalanche formation—precipitation type, amount, and intensity, wind speed and direction, temperatures, freezing levels, and solar radiation. You will often see information about timing and uncertainties here as well.

Image from the Mountain Weather Forecast
Environment & Climate Change Canada


Forecasters rate their confidence on a three-point scale: low, moderate, or high. This rating is determined by the quantity and quality of the data they have used to produce the forecast. When confidence is low or moderate, a short explanation is generally included to help users better understand the factors influencing this reduced confidence.