Avalanche problems have become an essential part of avalanche risk communication. Identifying the avalanche problem type is an important step in the hazard assessment and risk management process as not all avalanches are the same. Knowing what type of avalanche you are dealing with has direct implications about the types of terrain to favour or avoid, the likely size of avalanches, which observations are most useful, and how long the problem is likely to persist. Explicitly identifying the character of the avalanches that are of concern is used widely among avalanche professionals in Canada and is an important part of the information provided in public avalanche bulletins.

In 2010, Avalanche Canada published the Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain field book to provide recreationists with a framework for integrating avalanche problem types in their risk management process (click here for a video that introduces the field book). Roger Atkins, Karl Klassen and Pascal Haegeli, the authors of the field book, wrote a series background documents that describe the nature of the different avalanche problem types in great detail. These documents provide an excellent resource for better understanding the nature of avalanche problem types and their value for assessing and managing avalanche risk.

Thanks to Avalanche Canada for allowing us to link to these documents on their resource page.