Adding an extra buffer in terrain selection to allow for surprises or incorrect assessments.

Credit: Crested Butte Avalanche Center

When dealing with higher danger and persistent or unusual avalanche problems, avalanche forecasts often advise travelers to give themselves a wide buffer or margin for error. This means drawing a line in terrain management where you feel safe and then stepping back from that even further. This might involve choosing lower slope angles, less consequential terrain, denser trees, or a greater distrust with your snow assessments than you might normally be used to. Conditions are such that surprises can be expected, or consequences will be severe if you encounter a rare exception.  Wide margins of error are appropriate when avalanches might propagate wider than expected, break dangerously deep, or give no feedback before getting triggered.