Avalanche danger cannot be taken too seriously because a wall of moving, suffocating snow leaves few survivors in its wake. The best way to avoid an avalanche is to be knowledgeable of avalanche conditions and reroute your trip to avoid them. Avalanches occur when loose snow or a slab of snow starts moving down a slope. Avalanches are triggered by a variety of slope, snow and weather conditions; many times they are triggered by human impact. Slope conditions to watch out for are steep slopes or smooth, open slopes. Short slopes can be as dangerous as long ones. Leeward slopes are dangerous because wind-deposited snow adds depth and may create unstable slabs of snow.
Avoid avalanches by staying away from mountainous terrain after heavy snowfall or prolonged periods of high wind. Avoid crossing steep side hills or entering narrow, steeply side canyons. The safest routes are on ridge tops and on the windward side, away from cornices. The next safest route is out in the valley, far from the bottom of a slope.
If you are caught in an avalanche:
If you are a survivor, you are a victim's best hope of survival: