What is an avalanche and how can I protect myself from them?

Avalanches are flows of snow and ice, which pose a significant hazard in some parts of the world at particular times of the year:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avalanche

The National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) of the USA gives futher details on the conditions which lead to avalanches and provide tips on how to avoid them or survive them if you get caught:

http://nsidc.org/snow/avalanche/

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