I just read two more people were caught up in avalanches on Friday. They were rescued, but we already lost a number of people to a preventable situation.

Here's some Red Flags to the possibility of an avalanche.
Source Avalanche.org

1) If there have been avalanches, more are possible.

2) Signs of unstable snow as you travel. Cracking or crumbling snowpack. Whumping sounds. Hollow drum like sounds when walking on snow.

3) Heavy snowfall or rain in the past 24 hours. It can makee the snow unstable, even if it's unny.

4) Wind blown snow loads leeward slopes even if it's not snowing.

5) Significant warming temperatures.

6) Persistent underlying weak ares. These can be hard to detect. Check local avalanche advisories.

More on Avalanche Awareness

All that is necessary for an avalanche is a mass of snow and a slope for it to slide down. For example, have you ever noticed the snowpack on a car windshield after a snowfall? While the temperature is cold, the snow sticks to the surface and doesn't slide off. After temperatures warm up a little, however, the snow will "sluff," or slide, down the front of the windshield, often in small slabs. This is an avalanche on a miniature scale.

More Avalanche resources
National Geographic

American Institute For Avalanche Research and Education