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.
Your transceiver leads to the probe, your probe leads to the shovel, your shovel leads to your friend. These three items are the most vital part of any backcountry skiers’ equipment; you should never step into the backcountry without them. With so many options on the market, finding the right avalanche safety set up can be difficult. To help clear the confusion and aid you in the decision, we have assembled a guide to walk you through everything you will need to know when purchasing avalanche safety equipment that could save your life.
In the event of an avalanche, a probe will help you not only pinpoint the exact location of the victim but measure the burial depth too, reducing potential life-saving rescue time. In conjunction with an avalanche transceiver and shovel, the probe is an essential piece of safety kit.
The idea of escaping into the wilderness, away from the crowds to enjoy untouched powder is becoming increasingly popular. People are branching out further and further off piste to find the hidden, untouched treasures of the mountains, but where do you start when beginning you first backcountry adventure?