6. Can the causes of avalanches be influenced by human behaviour?

Avalanches are always caused by an external stress on the snow pack, They are not random or spontaneous events. Natural triggers of avalanches include additional precipitation, radiative and convective heating, rock fall, ice fall, and other sudden impacts; however, even a snow pack held at a constant temperature, pressure, and humidity will evolve over time and develop stresses, often from the downslope creep of the snow pack. Human triggers of avalanches include skiers, snowmobiles, and controlled explosive work. The triggering stress load can be either localized to the failure point, or remote.

Figure 9 - Skier triggered slab avalanche. Source: www.jhunderground.com