The annual mass of snow moved by avalanches was observed at 45 avalanche paths over a period of 19 years by measuring the volume and density of each individual avalanche. Several other methods to estimate the total annual avalanche mass were applied but they were found less efficient owing to inaccuracy and difficulties in timing.
For the data set, the yield ratio, i.e. the percentage of snow removed annually by avalanches, had a mean value of 11.2% and a 30 year maximum of 30.9%. The yield ratio varied strongly among avalanche paths and yearly, and could not be explained satisfactorily. The exposure to wind, inclination of the avalanche track, control by artillery, and the winter weather can all have an influence on the value of the parameter.
The temporal variability of avalanche yield is erratic but weather patterns frequently associated with high or low yield ratios could be identified. High values are usually associated with large avalanches triggered by major weather events in the late part of the winter.