Learn Avalanche Safety

Backcountry Access (BCA) is North America’s leading manufacturer of snow safety equipment, including Tracker transceivers, Float airbags, shovels, probes, and BC Link radios. BCA’s mission is to save lives, not just sell products. BCA has always considered education to be just as important as the gear it makes. That’s why BCA supports avalanche education programs and forecast centers--and why the company backs up all its products with consumer education and knowledgeable customer service.

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    Avalanche Avoidance

    Learn the backcountry basics. BCA presents five key avalanche safety guidelines for skiing or riding in avalanche country.

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    Avalanche Rescue

    Our BCA avalanche rescue education series shows you how to perform an avalanche rescue if your companion is buried.

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    Avalanche Resources

    It’s all here. Avalanche Education Courses, Handouts and Videos, Avalanche Conditions, Forecasts, and more.

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    Success Stories

    We learn something new from every avalanche incident - whether it occurred in the backcountry or in-area.

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    Avalanche Conditions

    Get the forecast! Please check in with one of the North American, EU or southern hemi avalanche centers for backcountry travel advisories listed here.

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    Avalanche Courses

    Avalanche education in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland or Italy. Find an avalanche course here.

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    Avalanche Research

    Explore BCA's library of avalanche research, statistics, human factors and communication, rescue technology and techniques.

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    Avalanche Awareness Guide (Handout)

    This handout provides an overview of backcountry planning, avalanche hazards and what to do if caught.

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    Avalanche Airbag 101 (Handout)

    Research shows that avalanche airbags significantly improve chances of survival. This handout explains how to operate an avalanche airbag.

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    Beacon Searching 101 (Handout)

    It is essential to practice beacon searching regularly. This handout explains the three phases of effective avalanche transceiver search.

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    Avalanche Probing 101 (Handout)

    Always carry and avalanche probe. This handout explains proper techniques for beacon search probing, spot probing, and organized probe lines.

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    Avalanche Shoveling 101 (Handout)

    Smart shoveling is critical as it consumes most of the time during an avalanche rescue. Learn best practices for rapidly digging out an avalanche victim.

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  • Meet Backcountry Access (Video)

    Tracker avalanche beacons, shovels, probes, Float airbags and BC Link group communication radios.

  • Beacon Searching 101 (Video)

    Having an avalanche transceiver is only valuable if you know how to use one. Learn the basics of beacon searching with the BCA.

  • Avalanche Probing 101 (Video)

    This video takes you through the proper techniques for pinpointing or probing stage of avalanche search.

  • Avalanche Shoveling 101 (Video)

    When buried in an avalanche, every second counts. Learn the most efficient shoveling and rescue extraction techniques.

  • Backcountry Basics Step 1: Get the Gear (Video)

    Get the goods without getting buried! Learn about essential avalanche safety and backcountry equipment.

  • Backcountry Basics Step 2: Get the Training (Video)

    Learn about essential avalanche safety training all backcountry riders need and how to keep your skills current.

  • Backcountry Basics Step 3: Get the Forecast (Video)

    Learn about how to get weather and avalanche forecasts, how to interpret the avalanche danger scale, and how to plan your day.

  • Backcountry Basics Step 4: Get the Picture (Video)

    Get the big picture about the mountain and terrain and learn how to look for snow instability and avalanches.

  • Backcountry Basics Step 5: Get Out of Harm’s Way (Video)

    Learn how to avoid terrain traps and how to help someone out of in hazardous areas.

  • Avalanche & Mountain Snowmobiling Safety (Video)

    Backcountry snowmobiling has its hazards. Beware and prepare for avalanche prone terrain.

  • The North American Avalanche Danger Scale (Video)

    This video, produced by the National Avalanche Center, illustrates the ins-and-outs of the North American Avalanche Danger Scale.

  • Sleducation (Video)

    BCA Sled Ambassador Mike Duffy presents snowmobile backcountry safety protocol - avalanche safety education for the snowmobile crowd.

  • BCA Prevention Series Tour Planning (Video)

    Learn to read an avalanche forecast, use maps to plan a ski tour, and trailhead safety checks.

  • Installing Float Avalanche Airbag Cylinder (Video)

    This video shows you how to install a float avalanche airbag air cylinder.

  • Repacking the Float Airbag (Video)

    This video shows you how to repack your Float avalanche airbag.

  • D-2 EXT Shovel Conversion – Traditional to “Hoe” Mode (Video)

    Learn how to convert the D-2 EXT avalanche shovel from it's hoe mode to traditional shovel mode.

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    Nick Polidoro – Avalanche Airbag Save

    Nick demo'ed a Float airbag while heli-boarding in Haines, AK. Caught in an avalanche on Directors North, he was carried over two cliffs—and down 1,000 vertical feet.

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    Austin Porzak – East Vail Chutes Avalanche Airbag Save (Video)

    “First of all in no way shape or form do I think being in an avalanche is cool or something to be proud of. It’s scary and should be avoided at all costs."

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    Levi Sanders – Float 8 Save

    The decision to climb was a sketchy one. A 6 foot wall of snow cracked. His Float 8 deployed kept him afloat, as he and his 400+ pound snowmachine slid down the avalanche.

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    Richard Merritt – Alpine WY Yamaha Sled Avalanche Airbag Save (Video)

    "The avalanche spun my sled out from under me, so I pulled my Float trigger." Listen closely to the background dialog as Richard anxiously waits for help.

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    Joel Flack – Tracker2 Save

    I was completely buried while exiting "Butt Crack" in Summit County, Colorado. We were both using Tracker2s. My partner located me in less than one minute, and excavated me in less than five...

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    Hunter Schleper – BC Link Helps Prevent Avalanche Burial (Video)

    Hunter Schleper receives radio alert to dodge this avalanche. Amazing video - listen and watch what happens.

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    Daron Rahlves – Alaska Avalanche Airbag Save (Video)

    Rahlves decision to pull his BCA avalanche airbag saves him from falling into a crevasse and getting buried.

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    Guy Pope-Mayell – New Zealand Avalanche Beacon Rescue (Video)

    I never saw the avalanche coming. Next thing I know, I am buried two meters deep. “This is it,” I thought.

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    Meesh Hytner – Snake River Avalanche Airbag Save (Video)

    I was able to deploy my Float shortly after the crown of a snow cornice broke. Dramatic to watch.

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    Dan Caruso – BCA Tracker Avalanche Rescue

    After an epic morning of powder skiing, we traversed across a small face to access some spines. It was right in the middle of the ski area, but deadly.

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    David Frederikson – Avalanche Airbag Save

    This is the kind of "hat trick" we suggest you avoid. Girdwood, AK snowmobiler David Frederikson has deployed his Float airbag three times in avalanches.

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    I was skiing a west-facing slope near Scotties Bowl in late December when a slab broke off a few feet above me. I immediately deployed my airbag and attempted to self-arrest.

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    Filip Popov – Bulgaria Avalanche Airbag Save (Video)

    At first I thought the avalanche was too small, but when I could not see the sky anymore, I got scared and pulled the trigger.

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    Bob Turgeon

    Believe it or not, I’ve had to use my Tracker twice. Both times I was skiing with a Heli-skiing company. I picked up the signal before guide, so I ended up doing the search.

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    Fer Barrios

    I descended an exposed slope in the Pyrenees when a crown broke above me. I was buried five feet deep with no air pocket. I felt like I was dying until I heard voices calling my name.

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    Janina Kuzma

    The avalanche hazard was high and we were just trying to get out of there. Our rescue was fast and efficient. I had the right beacon, probe and shovel, and knew how to use them.

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    Jeff Swaan

    Jesse got stuck High Marking and the whole hill came down on him. He was buried almost five feet deep. If it weren’t for that avalanche beacon, Jesse would be dead.

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    Jason Anthony

    Practice really paid off. I popped out of my binding and pinpointed my partner to less than a meter with my Tracker2, not even bothering to probe before I started shoveling.

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    Jeff Nass

    We knew the hazard was high but thought we could ride it out. This was a mistake. Don`t ever assume you can ride out of an avalanche. A minor snow sluff can turn into a real snow slide.

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    Ken Wemp

    We got them both out alive. The reality is that having multiple signals on the surface is actually more difficult than having multiple victims buried beneath the surface.

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    Matt Potratz

    I triggered a large avalanche, which pummeled me through rocks and trees and buried me. Thanks to my BCA Tracker avalanche transceiver, I was quickly located.

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    Randall Stacy

    I was a 16-year-old kid who knew very little about the backcountry. I was buried for eight minutes and I was dug up by friends. The BCA Tracker saved my life.

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    Rick Johnson

    The snow slide totally took us by surprise. We'd skied this line hundreds of times before and never had had a slide. I didn't panic. I went through the beacon search like a robot.

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    Spencer Curran

    As a novice 17 year old kid riding in the backcountry for the very first time, I was able to use the Tracker DTS avalanche transceiver with ease and save a life.

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    Todd Weselake

    After realizing I was certainly dead, I must have passed out. Having a well-trained friend with a BCA Tracker avalanche beacon saved my life that day on Mt. Proctor. It's quite a story.

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    W.D. Frank

    To save me from my near-death burial in an avalanche at White Pass, WA, my ski partner used his Tracker to find my Tracker as I lay face down and unconscious under 3 1/2 feet of snow.

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