The release area at the top of the avalanche path.
Credit: Crested Butte Avalanche Center
The start zone is the portion of the avalanche path where an avalanche releases. Start zones are located at the top of an avalanche path and are characterized by terrain steeper than about 30 degrees that lack dense forest cover.
The start zone is the upper part of an avalanche path where the avalanche initially releases from. Credit: Crested Butte Avalanche Center
Start zones are generally steeper than about 30 degrees, lacking dense tree cover. This photo shows slope angles of an avalanche that caught a group of skiers. Credit: Utah Avalanche Center.
Avalanches can release in gladed terrain. In general, and depending on canopy type, if tree spacing is wide enough to easily link turns together, there is potential for an avalanche to release.
Start zones aren’t always near ridgetop or mountain top. Avalanches can release on small terrain features at low elevations too. Credit: Crested Butte Avalanche Center