Avalanche Control
Snow slides are a fact of life in the Cascade Mountains. An avalanche happens when weaker snowpack layers cannot support the layers of snow above.

WSDOT avalanche control technicians work to reduce the potential hazard using all available experience and tools. This means operating a comprehensive program to control when and how to bring down unstable snow.

Each winter, WSDOT stations specially-trained avalanche control teams at Hyak, near the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass summit and at Berne Camp, near the US 2 Stevens Pass summit. The teams work to reduce the avalanche hazard as well as the number and duration of highway closures.

Active avalanche control is when crews intentionally trigger an avalanche. To do this, WSDOT stops traffic and triggers the avalanche. Avalanche control must be done during heavy snowfall. However, to be most effective, active control work is done just as the snow is becoming unstable; but before it slides. Whenever possible, the control work is scheduled outside of peak traffic hours.
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