Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:18 pm Posts: 486 Location: New Castle, Colorado
I would consider the following for selecting Avalanche Gear?
Beacons: Consider getting the beacons that both you and your BC touring partner will use. There plenty of good beacons on the market. See http://beaconreviews.com/transceivers/, A lot of Guides Services here ues the Tracker because ease of use.
IMO I would not get the probe that fits in a shovel handle, because the one I had and returned was to flimsy! Nor would I bother with the avalanche Ski pole/probe. Get something that is strong and quick - no brainer to assemble.
Shovel: Yes get the biggest aluminum Shovel (not plastic) you can yield, but also that will fit in your ski pack! I was politely told on a by our avalanche instructor for Avalanche 1 course; "that the shovel and probe must go in the pack and not strapped to the pack. Since then, I been on several more avalanche courses and seminars and have heard the the same from different guides and instructors; ""shovel and probe must go in the pack and not strapped to the pack" spoken to other avalanche students. So make sure the probe and shovel can fit in your ski pack's snow safety pocket.
Get a large metal shovel. Beacons prefs vary from person to person. Get a 3 antenna digital one. The Tracker 2 gets high marks, Jackson Hole and many other professional ski patrols use them. Ortovox S1 is nice, the 3+ looks easy to use... Check out a bunch, see what looks most intuitive to you. The thing about beacons is that the one you know how to use to find a buried partner the fastest is the best. It could be an old single antenna analog, or the newest slickest 3 antenna beacon. As long as you can find you buddy fast, that is what matters. So find one that looks the most intuitive to you. Check wildsnow.com for lots of reviews.
So, large metal shovel, long probe and a good beacon that you PRACTICE WITH!!! If you don't know how to use it is just a piece of plastic with flashing lights that makes an annoying beep. You can practice with a buried beacon, or many ski areas have training parks. BCA usually sponsors them. google BCA beacon training park, or just check BCA's website for more info.
Bottom line, PRACTICE with whatever beacon you buy so if you must use it, you can do so effectively and quickly.