While you've likely used a shovel to clear off the sidewalk or driveway, you've probably never used a shovel to save someone's life. This is exactly what a backcountry shovel is designed to do; therefore, choosing and carrying a shovel is extremely important. In addition to an avalanche beacon and probe, the shovel is one of the big three backcountry skiing and snowboarding essentials.
Tips & Warnings
Before going into the backcountry, receive the proper avalanche training.
Practice using your beacon, probe and shovel before venturing into the backcountry. Bury a beacon in the snow, find it and dig it out. Practice and improve your speed and efficiency. Your gear is only so good as your ability to use it.
Never travel into the backcountry alone; your gear is useless unless someone else equipped with the same gear is with you. Most likely you will not be able to dig yourself out and will require outside rescue from companions.
Article Written By Joe Fletcher
Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.