An overly simplified explanation of what often causes an avalanche is when the gravitational pull on a snowpack is heavier than the stability of the snowpack, forcing the snow to slide down a slope. Weather, human activity, terrain, and snowpack are all factors that can increase or decrease risk. Here are 10 signs of avalanche risk provided by Colorado Avalanche Information Center and avalanche.org.

Editor’s Note: Reading this short list does not count as ‘avalanche safety training.’ If you’re wanting to safely enter the backcountry, consider taking an avalanche safety course. This list is by no means exhaustive and avalanche risk can exist even when it isn’t in the forecast. Always check the Colorado Avalanche Information risk forecast before any adventure.