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pit, taken 2019-03-11 || Canon Canon EOS REBEL T2i | 32mm | 1/500s @ f/7.1

This is how you evaluate the safety of a snow slope: dig a pit in it, then probe with first your finger—is it loose and powdery underneath something denser? Danger. But if not, you try again with a pencil, then finally with a blade, noting the composition of the layers.

There are steps to do after that, but this is a good start to knowing whether it's safe to proceed.