Visible fractures radiating across the snow surface. An obvious sign of instability.
Shooting cracks are visible fractures that radiate outwards from beneath you on the surface of the snow. Occasionally these are accompanied by a collapse or “whumpf”, indicating that you triggered a collapse of a lower snow layer. Cracking snow is a clear sign of instability, especially if the cracks propagate long distances. Some fractures are thin and require a keen eye to spot, others are wider and more obvious. Shooting cracks indicate that all the ingredients are in place to trigger an avalanche, but the slope wasn’t quite steep enough to slide.