Key Snow Stability Observation Icons

What do the icons mean?

The icons are a visual compliment to the written description in the daily avalanche hazard forecasts. When highlighted in bold, they indicate the key snow stability factors that the forecaster considers are the most relevant. These have been identified from observations made in the mountains, and received weather forecast information. The icons that are not bold, are considered none key factors.

origicon1 Weaknesses developing in the snowpack due to wind transportation of snow and the formation of windslab.
origicon2 Weaknesses within the snowpack that may be present in isolated or widespread locations.
origicon3 A surface grain type that may present snowpack instability with subsequent snowfalls.
origicon4 Wet snow instabilities due to warm temperatures and/ or rainfall saturating the snowpack.
origicon5 Cornices that may present a hazard due to collapse and/or providing an avalanche trigger.
origicon5 Glide cracks (tension fractures) appearing at the snow surface due to the slow creep of the
snowpack on the bed surface (smooth slopes of grass or rock), cracks may be deep and ‘crevasse’

Avalanche release is unpredictable, avalanche activity may occur when the first cracks appear,
several days or weeks later, or not release at all. Avalanches have the potential to be large and

Sports Scotland
Met Office