A mountaineering expert says two young Canadian tourists walking the Kepler Track probably would not have even heard the avalanche that claimed their lives.
The bodies of Louis-Vincent Lessard and Etienne LeMieux, who have yet to be formally identified, were yesterday found 300 metres below the track amongst the snow.
The death of the two 23-year-olds has made headlines in their home country.
Speaking to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a co-worker, Dominic Denault Pilon, paid tribute to Mr Lessard.
"He was really, really nice, really adventurous, really intelligent. He was actually somebody who really enjoyed doing outdoor activities, skiing, hiking, cycling. He was a lot of fun to work with. He was passionate."
Federated Mountain Clubs president Robin McNeill, who was climbing in the area when the men were found at the weekend, said avalanches were common in Fiordland in winter.
"This time of year the predominant type of avalanche would be a powder snow avalanche that accumulate higher up and then just releases coming down the slope.
"Probably not giving much warning, in fact probably none, probably silent, so it's the luck of the draw."
Avalanche expert Andrew Hobman said the chances of surviving a powder snow avalanche were low.
"If you've actually been buried inside it, unfortunately you succumb to asphyxia. So you breathe out your Co2 and then breathe it back in again and you form a little ice mask which means you can't access the oxygen in the snow. So by breathing that in and out you pass out quite quickly."
He said avalanches were notoriously difficult to predict and even people who knew what they were doing could get caught out by them, including himself.
"My skis were flicked off and I was being tumbled around and then quite quickly came to a complete stop, completely buried and really couldn't move anything at all.
"I couldn't tell which way up I was, and just had to lie there and wait and hope that people had seen me get caught and they were going to come and rescue me."
Police do not believe the men called into the local Department of Conservation office to check on conditions before they set out on their walk three weeks ago.
The man in charge of that office, Grant Tremain, said while they did not close tracks in Fiordland over the winter, they did pull up some bridges and stop supplying gas to the huts.
He said in winter trampers were expected to be more self-sufficient and able to handle the alpine conditions on the Kepler Track.
"The highest point's up around 1400 metres and although that doesn't sound high, with the terrain in Fiordland, it makes it challenging up there at this time of the year.
"We can experience big changes in the weather quite quickly."
The deaths followed the drowning of an Indonesian tourist last year who was attempting to cross a river on the Milford Track in winter.
But despite this, mountaineer Robin McNeill said the Great Walks should remain open over the winter months.
"What about the other walks?
"There's lots of walks that are avalanche prone. It's just not practical and would ruin a lot of the fantastic opportunities the mountains offer at this time of the year.
"Providing you go with the right gear and in the right conditions and the snow's not going to swallow you up."
The bodies of the two Canadians are in Invercargill waiting to be formally identified.