We provide the full selection of Avalanche Snow Shovels from leading avalanche safety brands, please see the full range and models we provide at Snowsafe :
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After a Transceiver has located the victim and the Probe has located the depth of the victim, The shovel is used to dig out the snow to recover the buried skier or snowboarder. You must ensure that your snow shovel has strength aswell as quick and easy access in the case of an avalanche, you can store these shovels to the inside or outside of your avy pack.
For more information on Avalanche Snow Shovels please check out the Shovel FAQ’s at the bottom of the page.
Having the correct shovel and shovelling technique is a crucial, yet often overlooked, part of avalanche rescue. After all, it is no good locating a victim very fast if it then takes you an hour to dig them out. A lot, of course, will depend on the type of snow in the avalanche as well as the depth of burial, but being armed with a strong shovel and being practised in using it is vital.
Statistics show that over 90% of victims buried in an avalanche will still be alive after 15 minutes. After this, however, the chances of survival plummet dramatically - after 45 minutes only around 25% are pulled out alive. Time really is crucial in an avalanche rescue and quite literally every second counts.
Avalanche debris can often set rock hard immediately after it comes to rest and the rapid deceleration involved when a slide stops will compress down the loose snow into a solid mass. This hard snow can make for very tough and tiring digging, especially if the victim is buried far beneath the surface. With a flimsy shovel you really will be struggling. The main dilemma when choosing a shovel is strength versus size and weight. You should carry your shovel every time you venture off the marked trails so obviously a light and compact one will be preferable. However, if you ever have to use it, you are really going to want it to perform.
The plastic Ortovox shovels are among the lightest shovels available and their lexan blades are very tough.
However, if you don't mind a bit of extra weight, nothing quite matches a large, strong aluminium blade when it comes to digging. Ortovox, are perfect for shifting large amounts of snow fast with their burly blades with long telescopic handles. The Deploy 3 and Deploy 7 by Black Diamond are also powerful aluminium shovels with telescopic handles.
Shovelling is commonly an area where a lot of time is wasted during an avalanche rescue. It is often overlooked in avalanche safety courses as well. Any avalanche rescue practise should involve not only transceiver use but also probe and shovel use as well.
Obviously the ease or difficulty or the shovelling faze will depend a lot on the hardness of the snow, the depth of the burial and how many people are digging. Extracting a victim by yourself under 2 metres of hard set snow is going to be very hard work for example. But a good shovel and a proper technique will go a long way to helping you - madly flailing at the snow is not an efficient approach.
There are two main techniques for shovelling. The cone technique involves digging straight down around the probe. This is a technique is ok for shallow burials but has some notable disadvantages especially on deeper burials. That is you are right above the victim so run the danger of trampling their airway and compressing down the snow around them increasing the risk of suffocation.
The more measured technique is terrace shovelling. This involves beginning your dig at a point one a half times the burial depth (your probe will indicate this to you) downhill from the probe. Although this technique involves removing more snow, means that you approach the victim from the side rather than above negating many of the problems of the cone technique. Also it is a much easier system for two people to dig in tandem and it is far easier to remove the snow from the hole.
Once you have located the position of the person buried in the snow, using your transceiver and probe, the shovel is then used to dig the person out of the snow. Shovels can also be used to create kickers or dig out the car on a powder morning. Due to the need to carry a shovel at all times in the backcountry, they are designed to be compact and lightweight without compromising strength and performance.
Shovels can either be made of plastic, steel, aluminium or carbon. The force of the avalanche compresses the snow to make it incredibly dense and hard. It can be extremely difficult to shovel through the snow, necessitating a strong shovel. It is essential to recover the person as soon as possible, as their chances of surviving drop dramatically the longer they are buried for. Therefore, it is necessary to have not only a decent shovel, but also know how to use it and the most effective shovelling techniques.
Deciding which shovel to buy comes down to weight, size and strength. It is vital that you take your probe, shovel and transceiver with you every time you venture off of any marked ski trails; therefore you need a shovel that will fit in your bag and is light enough for you to carry each time you are out. A plastic shovel will be much lighter and thus easier to carry; an aluminium shovel will be stronger, though, and this can be vital when faced with the hard, packed snow of an avalanche, though they are heavier. For the ideal compromise, there are lightweight metal shovels available on the market.
We have added the differences between all models brands and models we supply.
The classic Ortovox Badger shovel is the lighter non telescopic version of the Beast, the lightweight shovel comes with high side walls and non slip grooves, a centering aid in the shaft socket acts exactly like the beast, the difference between the two is size.
The slightly lighter and shorter badger shovel holds the same blade volume of as the Beast as (2500cm cubed), The Badger has a shorter shaft then the Beast at 16 cm.
Over the years the Ortovox Beast has served very well and has a been ergonomically designed over the past few seasons. The telescopic aggressive shovel has a T grip and offers a quick lock system in the case of an avalanche.
Made from innovative materials and cutting edge production methods to achieve a high end weight to ridgety ratio.
With ridged high side walls and rubberized grip, this will help you shovel out a buried victim in seconds, the quick lock shovel will allow you to stow this shovel inside or outside of any avy backpack.
The blade can be used for an emergency rescue sled.
Weighing just 710 g, the 250 Litre Scoop is a popular choice for off-piste enthusiasts.
The Ortovox Kodiak Shovel is the one of the only shovels out of the Ortovox range with a D Grip, most ortovox shovels have the traditional T handle.
Unqiue to the Kodiak shovel is the clearing function whereby the head of the shovel reattches at a 90 degree angle to function like a hoe, you will be able to build small kickers for free skiing or snowboaders who love to catch some air.
The ridged shovel is made out of a tempered aluminium and has a shovelling volume of up to 3.1 litres, this is the largest out of all of the Ortovox shovel range.
A Sharpened edge and upper non slip ridges will stop from your boots sliding in an avalanche emergency situation.
The frictional connection between the shaft and blade is virtually indestructible, saving critical seconds when used to save your companion's life.
Weighing just 790 g, the shovel will allow you to stow this within any avy pack including the Dakine Backpack range.
Designed exactly the same as the standard Kodiak, The Kodiak Saw Shovel is new to season 18/19, the automatic locking saw handle will allow you to cut through deep icey snow and create a perfect snow profile, We highly recommend the Kodiak Saw shovel for those who head out on tours lasting several days.
The Kodiak Saw Handle is not compatible with the Kodiak shovel.
Ortovox Kodiak Blade Comparsion :
The Ortovox Pro Alu shovel is very similar to the Kodiak shovel with minor differences such as the scoop size and handle. The Pro Alu and pro light both offer a T handle grip.
The Pro Alu III shovel offers two shovelling methods, the standard shovel and the 90 degree clearing hoe function for creating jumps or digging out a victim.
Made of a strong torsion-free aluminium-magnesium alloy which creates an extremely durable and hard wearing shovel blade.
Non slip groves will stop you from sliding when digging out a victim, added shaft rubberized grip.
An ergonomic handle ensures a good grip for both left and right handed users.
By far the best feature on the Pro Alu III is the Pocket spike facility, easily slot the two piece mechanism together to create an ice axe, The sharp forged axe head is made of a hardened AL 7075 T6 Material, the Shaft spike is made out of an AL6061 T6 aluminum and will attach to the shovel handle.
Unfortunately the pocket spike is not compatible with this seasons new Pro light shovel, however the blade is compatible with the Pro ALU III shaft.
The New Ortovox Pro Light shovel is one of the lightest shovels on the market, weighing only 440 g, Completely designed for weight conscious skiers or boarders.
The practical switchover function makes it easy to switch from left handed to right handed.
Like most of the Ortovox shovel range the extra added non slip groves and rubberized grip has been integrated in order for you to quickly dig out a victim without slipping
Also high side walls have been added in order to offer 2,1 Litres of snow, like most Ortovox shovels the Pro Light and Pro Alu have been designed to be stored within any avy pack, especially the Ortovox rucksacks.
Like no other shovel out of the Ortovox range the Pro Light offers pronounced center ridge and a cut out blade, this will reduce weight but still keep ridgitiy at its best.
Due to the Pro Light being compatible with the Ortovox Pro ALU III Shaft We highly recommend this shovel for weight conscious skiers or boarders who venture out on long days or several day excursions.
Please see Ortovox Shovel Comparison Table Below :
Unlike the highly technical Ortovox shovels, the Mammut Alugator ranges have a more simple approach, the Mammut Alugator Ride shovel has been made of a robust aluminium material with maximum efficiency when moving snow.
The Alugator Ride offers a T grip handle and telescopic stem which makes it easier for digging out a victims in the case of an avalanche. Also included is the Oval Telescopic shaft with integrated grip zone.
Designed for space saving, the shovel will go into almost any avy backpack snowsafe sell, We highly recommend the new 14 Litre Spindrift pack from Mammut.
The Mammut Alugator light shovel is the lightest shovel out of the mammut range and weights at only 475 grams, which is very close to the Ortovox Pro Light.
With also featured non slip ridges and quick locking system, this shovel is ideal for professionals wanting a small and compact space saving shovel to fit within there avy rucksack.
The more advanced out of the Arva range, The Arva Guard Shovel has been developed for those who like simple and easy to use equipment, the robust shovel is made of a anodised aluminium material which is highly durable and will allow you to cut through large icey snow blocks.
One of the only shovels on the market to supply a Y shaped handle, the blade can be attached to handle in order for you to run stability tests or use your shovel as hoe to create snow jumps or cabes.
The Y-shaped handle also has a integrated spike on the side which will allow you to break up hard snow. Like most shovels on the market the telescopic shaft is a oval shape.
The Guard has slighly raised sides to prevent snow falling off when digging out a victim, Boot ridges have been added to stop you from slipping.
Weighing only 520 g and has a compact length of 45 cm.
The Access TS shovel is very simple and ideal for amateurs or professionals wanting lightweight avy essentials, with very similar features to the Guard, the small differences are the T-Grip handle and offers a telescopic shovel length of 72 cm.
Both shovels will fit within any avalanche rucksacks.
For more comprehensive comparison information please feel free to call one of our specialists on 01273 737676
The shovels can be dismantled to make them compact and easy to fit into any avy pack. The handle on the shovel can be removed to allow you to pack in the handle and blade separately. Every backcountry backpack has its own integrated avy tool compartments where you can store your shovel and probe. All backpacks at snowsafe have been designed especially for avy equipment.
Please see the following avy backpacks we supply :
We highly recommend carrying a Recco Reflector when skiing off-piste.