Nearest-neighbour models for avalanche forecasting have made little use of snowpack properties; however, slab thickness (H), slab load (Load) and a skier stability index (Sk38) have proven useful for regional avalanche forecasting in the Columbia Mountains, western Canada. This study explores 21 meteorological, snowpack and elaborated variables including Sk38, H and Load. A daily skier instability index (DSI) is developed as a response variable using skier-triggered avalanche activity on persistent weak layers and stability ratings at the end of the day. In rank correlation analysis, Sk38, Load, previous avalanche activity, H and some meteorological variables were highly ranked. The physical explanations are discussed. In classification-tree analysis, Sk38 was ranked as the most important variable and used in the development of the tree structure along with Load. Besides Sk38 and Load, snowpack thickness, the number of previously triggered avalanches and H have potential to predict DSI. Further we included once all 21 variables, and once all variables except Sk38, H and Load in nearest-neighbour models. Comparing the performance of these models shows that Sk38 along with Load and H have high potential to forecast the DSI on a regional scale.