Avalanches are created by a slide of a top weak layer of snow collecting more snow as it slides down the mountain. Avalanches can be caused by several ways. One way are when weak layers of snow form when snow crystals cannot bond. The weak layers are below strong layers of snow causing a collapse. Avalanches tend to go in cycles and directions, usually following a path of the wind direction.
In order to forecast an avalanche, one needs to measure temperature, wind conditions, snowfall and weather forecasts. The forecasts can tell you how risky an avalanche can be based on the “B” system rating.
Rescuing a person can be difficult since you do not know how when an avalanche will stop. When the avalanche does stop, snow and ice sets up like concrete. A “500” avalanche can last for four to five days long. Making rescue almost impossible for people buried by snow.
In order to be careful to avoid an avalanche follow these important rules:
Be careful to follow on safe terrain not terrain that is to steep.
Look for tender spots, problem areas, and the place where the slope angle suddenly increases.
Note slopes that have slid, what the bed surface slope angles were.
Think about the consequences of your actions. Be careful in your skiing, hiking and mountain climbing.
Be prepared for the worse. Have a rescue plan ready and carry avalanche equipment (a beacon, a shovel)
If you are stuck in an avalanche take this advice:
Call out to other people in your party and quickly close your mouth so you don't swallow snow
If possible get rid of gear this way you can stay above easier
Act like your swimming to stay above and use a lot of effort to get to the side
When the snow seems to slow down thrust any parts of your body so others can see you
Before the snow stops put your arms or hands in front of your face
If buried stop fighting and relax to preserve oxygen