A durable shovel and correct shovelling technique can dramatically reduce rescue time and can also be used for checking snow stability. During an avalanche, the once-fluffy powder, packs together quickly making digging into it harder as it becomes more like shovelling concrete than snow. As a result, a proper avalanche shovel along with methods such as a chopping and dragging are better, more efficient avalanche rescue techniques, than standard shovelling.
Although plastic shovels are available, metal has the best strength-to-weight ratio making more efficient and successful for snow removal. Aluminium is often used.