Prep Your Gear: Outfit for Avalanche Safety

Equip yourself with safety gear and practice proper techniques.

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Outfit For Survival

>> Avalanche beacon

This GPS-size trans- ceiver sends a signal that other transceivers can detect. If a skier is buried by a slide, his companions switch their beacons to “receive” and zero in on the victim. Wear the beacon near your body (beneath insulating layers). Need to brush up on your skills? Many ski areas have hide-and-seek-style parks where you can practice homing in on the signal.

>> Shovel

Use a metal-edged shovel— aluminum is sturdy and lightweight—with an extendable shaft (go long for leverage, short for tight spaces). Try Brooks-Range’s serrated-edge Sharktooth Longneck Mini Pro ($55).

>> Telescoping probe

Poke these 80- to 128-inch-long poles into debris to pinpoint an avy victim. One cubic meter of snow can weigh more than 880 pounds, so the more precisely you can locate a victim, the better.

>> Inclinometer

Most people misjudge angles, but a precise slope estimate may indicate increased (or decreased) avy risk. Measure steepness by aligning this compass-like tool with the hillside.