Snow avalanches are a major natural hazard, endangering human life and infrastructure in mountainous areas throughout the world. In many countries with seasonally snow-covered mountains, avalanche-forecasting services reliably warn the public by issuing occurrence probabilities for a certain region. However, at present, a single avalanche event cannot be predicted in time and space. Much about the release process remains unknown, mainly because of the highly variable, layered character of the snowpack, a highly porous material that exists close to its melting point. The complex interaction between terrain, snowpack, and meteorological conditions leading to avalanche release is commonly described as avalanche formation. It is relevant to hazard mapping and essential to short-term forecasting, which involves weighting many contributory factors. Alternatively, the release process can be studied and modeled. This approach relies heavily on snow mechanics and snow properties, including texture. While the effect of meteorological conditions or changes on the deformational behavior of snow is known in qualitative or semiquantitative manner, the knowledge of the quantitative relation between snow texture and mechanical properties is limited, but promising developments are under way. Fracture mechanical models have been applied to explain the fracture propagation, and micromechanical models including the two competing processes (damage and sintering) have been applied to explain snow failure. There are knowledge gaps between the sequence of processes that lead to the release of the snow slab: snow deformation and failure, damage accumulation, fracture initiation, and fracture propagation. Simultaneously, the spatial variability that affects damage, fracture initiation, and fracture propagation has to be considered. This review focuses on dry snow slab avalanches and shows that dealing with a highly porous media close to its melting point and processes covering several orders of scale, from the size of a bond between snow grains to the size of a mountain slope, will continue to be very challenging.