When a slab avalanche slides a short distance and breaks down into deeper weak layers forming a stair-step pattern on the bed surface.

When multiple weak layers exist in the snowpack, a smaller, shallower avalanche may trigger a deeper weak layer, which results in a much larger and more dangerous avalanche. These types of avalanches can be especially dangerous to people because a person could trigger the smaller avalanche but then find themselves caught in the much larger and more danger avalanche.

When you deal with a snowpack that has the potential to step down into deeper weak layers, it’s important to notch back your level of exposure because of the dangerous consequences.