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Avalanche risk information

The European avalanche risk scale has 5 risk levels defined by a stability assessment
and its consequences in terms of probability of triggering an avalanche.

None of the risk indices should be overlooked. In the mountains, risk 0 does not exist and the danger to which the skier is exposed,
the surfer or the pedestrian with or without rackets, increases with the value of the indices.

As the risk of an avalanche is not a measurable parameter, each index on the scale does not reflect what is going to happen,
but what can happen with the best probability, having regard to the analysis of the situation and the state of knowledge.

The flags are in place at the departures and arrivals of the main ski lifts and the bulletins at the various information points.

European risk scale Snowpack stability Meaning of the pictogram

Low risk

The overall stability of the snowpack is good. The conditions are then the most favorable for the practice of the mountain. The instability is not very marked and localized in very rare sectors characterized by a steep gradient, an environment of ridges or passes, with slope breaks.

In most cases, the risk of tripping is only considered under the effect of severe overloads. Natural avalanche activity can only manifest itself in the form of flows or small avalanches of low extent.

Limited risk

The overall stability is satisfactory but localized instability affects some slopes, the exposure and altitude of which are most often mentioned.

The risk of triggering only concerns a limited number of slopes. In general, it is only to be feared under the effect of strong overloads (group of skiers for example). The spontaneous avalanche activity also remains low.

The flows or avalanches that can occur are, in the vast majority of cases, small.

Marked risk

Instability worsens and extends to many slopes, the topographical features of which are generally described in the bulletin.

Depending on the situation, mention will be made of the most exposed areas, without forgetting that the reality on the ground, in particular after episodes of windy snow, excludes too strict localization of the sectors. The instability is then sufficiently marked so that tripping can occur under the effect of low overloads, such as the passage of a single skier.

In the event that a "natural" avalanche activity is planned, this must result in a small number of avalanches, of medium importance in the majority of cases, only a few of them being able to take a fairly large extension. .

Material damage is unlikely and remains exceptional in this type of situation.

Strong risk

Instability affects most slopes, the characteristics of which can still, but more rarely, be reported in the bulletin.

In many sectors affected by this instability, there is a high probability of tripping by low overload (passage of a single skier for example).

While the risk of accidental triggers is still strong and worrying, the same is not true for the risk of natural departures. Indeed, index 4 describes very different snow situations where the risk of spontaneous avalanches starting can be high as it can be little or even very low.

These nuances are indicated in the bulletins.

Very high risk

The instability of the snowpack is then very strong and generalized: very active, cold and windy snow episodes, sudden warming accompanied by rain affecting a little transformed snowpack ...

Numerous large avalanches can occur and reach areas with a low slope (less than 20 °). Some of the situations covered by a risk 5 are exceptionally serious.

Large-scale avalanches can have very serious consequences on both human and material levels. Pylons, buildings and roads can be affected and damaged.

In the most worrying cases, special bulletins are issued to regional and departmental security services as well as to the media (regional weather warning bulletin "avalanche", weather press releases).

Autonomous Board of Ski Lifts

817 Route d'Italie
05100 Montgenèvre
+33 (0) 4 92 21 91 73