Anyone who Ventures far into backcountry mountains—or even skis off-piste at a resort—should know what they’re getting into. Slides kill more than 150 people worldwide every year, doing in snowmobilers, skiers, and snowboarders. But carrying the right gear (and taking a safety class) will make those epic, swooshy descents safer. These tools will help you get rescued—or save a teammate—in a snowfall emergency.
A folded bladder inside the Mammut Light Removable Airbag 3.0 embiggens you once it’s deployed, so ideally, you’ll float at the top of a snow stream. Yank the handle on your left shoulder to trigger an air canister and inflate the nylon balloon in three seconds.
The three antennas in the Black Diamond Recon BT unit transmit and receive radio signals on a dedicated frequency. Start the journey into treacherous terrain with it in “send” mode; your friends will set theirs to “search” if they need to track you down.
It takes some poking around to find a buried traveler. The aluminum Ortovox ALU 320+ PFA probe snaps together like a tent pole to be more than 10 feet long. Your buds will plunge it into the snow until it taps your body, gear, or pack.
The aluminum blade on the 1.6-pound Backcountry Access RS EXT avalanche shovel clicks into its 2-foot handle. The tool has two configurations: a traditional spade for scooping, and a hoe for moving chunks away for even quicker dig-outs.