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.

  • Avalanche Shoveling 101 (Handout)

    How to Excavate an Avalanche Victim

    While shoveling may seem elementary, it consumes most of the time during an avalanche rescue.  Excavate immediately downhill of the probe strike.  In avalanche burials deeper than one meter, start the excavation downhill about 1.5 times the burial depth. By shoveling downhill from the probe, there will be less snow to move and you will not compact the snow over the avalanche victim’s limited air pocket.

    Avalanche debris is often firm, so chop the snow into blocks, then scoop.  Try “paddling” rather than lifting each shovel full of snow.  Avalanche professionals recommend sturdy, aluminum shovels over plastic in real avalanche debris.

    Download Avalanche Shoveling 101 Handout.

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