Gliding Snow

/Gliding Snow
Gliding Snow 2017-10-20T13:21:13+00:00

Glide avalanches are a special type of full depth avalanches. They can happen both in dry or wet snow, but always in smooth terrain. They are self-triggered, very rarely human triggered.

Tactics: Avoid glide prone terrain

Duration: hours – days

Typical signs

  • Glide crack sor glide avalanches in similar slopes
  • Wet glide avalanches are related with high temperaturas and sun radiation, or rain and fog
  • Big snowfall over unfrozen ground

Typical distribution

  • Smooth slopes: rock slabs and steep grassy slopes overall
  • Wet glide avalanches start at low altitude and sunnier slopes
  • Dry glide avalanches are more unpredictable, they can trigger even at night


  • Avoid glide prone terrain when these avalanches are shown in the bulletin
  • Do not stay under the cracks, many end up triggering
  • Wet glide avalanches are more frequent in the afternoon

Glides are a particular kind of avalanches, which behave differently to others. They are hard to forecast and hard to control.

Slow gliding of snow generates a tensile fracture, which can become an avalanche immediatly, stay open hours/days before the avalanche triggers or never generate an avalanche.