The vulnerability and orientation of terrain to wind effects.

Credit: Crested Butte Avalanche Center

Wind exposure describes how a slope is affected by winds, which commonly act to redistribute snow via erosion and deposition. Wind exposure can change over the course of hours to days to months with changes in wind directions and wind speeds. Paying attention to the patterns of wind transport, wind erosion, and wind loading is a fundamental skill for managing avalanche hazards. 

Although wind exposure has seasonal patterns, its characteristics fluctuate regularly due to changing wind speeds and direction. Credit: Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center

A recently wind exposed slope, indicated by the rippled snow texture. Credit: Sawtooth Avalanche Center