Do Avalanches Happen at Ski Resorts?

Avalanches do happen at ski resorts, but resorts almost always have avalanche mitigation control in place to prevent this from happening. It’s rare, but it does happen when conditions are right and there is enough snow. 

My name is Christine, and I’m an avid lifelong skier. I love everything about the sport and pay attention to all the latest trends and news relating to it. I’ve done some research to learn more about ski resort avalanches. 

This post will take a closer look at if avalanches happen at ski resorts. I’ll provide you with some examples of this occurring and also tell you why it’s pretty rare. My goal is to help you understand that skiing at the resort is usually safer than in the backcountry. 

Let’s get after it. 

Key Takeaways

  • Avalanches can occur anywhere where the conditions for them exist, and this includes ski resorts. But they are rare events at ski resorts. 
  • Most ski resorts do some sort of regular avalanche mitigation, which helps prevent slides from happening in-bounds and keeps the skiers safe and out of harm’s way. 
  • Large amounts of snow and rapidly changing temperatures, among other factors, can increase the avalanche risk at a ski resort or anywhere else conditions for them exist. 

Do Avalanches Happen at Ski Resorts? 

Avalanches do happen at ski resorts, but they happen far less frequently at these locations than in the backcountry. Avalanches can happen anywhere the conditions for them to occur exist, and this includes the ski resort. 

But even though avalanches can occur at ski resorts, it’s not common at all. Your chance of danger from a slide at a ski resort is very minimal, and this is because the resorts have a lot of measures in place to prevent this from happening. 

Nearly every resort in the world has some sort of avalanche mitigation in place. This typically involves trained professionals ensuring that the resort and all its runs are safe for the public before the runs are opened. 

Resorts often deal with avalanche risks by triggering avalanches when there aren’t any skiers around. This is done by throwing avalanche bombs or other control measures that trigger the avalanche. 

Triggering an avalanche at a resort might sound crazy, but this prevents the slide from occurring when skiers are around. This is a daily occurrence in some locations, and in other spots, it only happens a few times a year.

Should You Worry About Ski Resort Avalanches? 

I can recall only a few in-bounds avalanches occurring at ski resorts, and I’ve been skiing for decades. I’m sure there are plenty of avalanches that I don’t know about, but there really isn’t that much danger related to avalanches occurring at the resort.

If there is a great enough avalanche danger at a resort, it probably won’t allow skiers or snowboarders access to it. The resorts don’t want to deal with the added liability and risk, and safety is one of their top priorities with that in mind. 

If you duck a rope and go somewhere outside of the resort that is closed, you are in much more danger of potential avalanches than within the resort boundaries. You should never go into closed-off terrain because of this. 

And if you want to go backcountry skiing, there is always a risk of avalanches. You need to be prepared by having avalanche equipment, including a shovel, beacon, and probe, whenever you go backcountry skiing. 

Identifying potential avalanche danger is critical for all backcountry skiers, but it’s good information for every skier to know about. If you are worried about avalanches at the ski resort, consider taking an avalanche class to become better informed. 


Here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to if avalanches happen at ski resorts. 

Which ski resort has the most avalanches? 

Colorado is the most dangerous state for avalanches, and that means that there are several ski resorts here where avalanches can occur. But it depends on how much snow has fallen and other conditions to decide which resort has the most.  

How do ski resorts prevent avalanches? 

Ski resorts prevent avalanches by doing avalanche mitigation work. This involves trained professionals and ski patrollers assessing the avalanche risk within the resort boundaries and doing things such as dropping bombs to prevent large slides from occurring. 

Do avalanches happen on piste? 

Avalanches do happen on piste, but it’s not as common as in the backcountry. You are much less likely to encounter an avalanche on piste or at the resort because of the safety and prevention measures in place. 

Can you avoid avalanches? 

Knowing how to spot avalanche chutes and understanding avalanche conditions can help you avoid them. But if you spend time skiing in the backcountry, you are more likely to encounter an avalanche than at the resort. 

Final Thoughts

Avalanches can occur at a ski resort, but this is pretty rare. Most resorts have very capable avalanche mitigation efforts in place that limit the chance of a slide occurring in bounds. This keeps you much safer at the resort. 

Avalanches can happen anywhere there is enough snow and the conditions are right. Taking an avalanche training course is highly recommended if you want to feel safer on the slopes. 

Have you ever seen or heard of an avalanche happening at a ski resort? Let me know in the comments below.

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