Welcome to a special Backcountry Issue installment of Gear Spotlight from FREESKIER. Here, we provide a close-up look at the equipment and accessories that everyone should know about when heading off-piste. Can’t get enough gear? Click here to see our entire 2019 Buyer’s Guide.
This 240 centimeter Mammut probe is built of a high quality carbon fiber, allowing it to be lightweight (175 grams) but also incredibly strong, ensuring it won’t bend when you’re probing dense layers of debris. Mammut also integrated teardrop shaped tips to better pierce the snow.
The Avitech Shovel has a completely flat blade surface, which makes crafting beautiful, perfectly constructed snow pits a walk in the park. As far as digging, the heat-treated blade and shaft are strong as oxen, great for breaking up and removing snow debris. The Avitech Shovel is offered with either the weight-conscious “T handle” or a “D grip” that provides added shoveling leverage.
We’ve been using the BC Link radio for proper backcountry communication for a few years now, and love the updates BCA made to the new 2.0. The new radio has twice as much wattage as the first edition and an increased usable range to approximately six miles. The new microphone is also built to block out snow, while a raised ridge on the channel dial combats inadvertent switching. If you and a partner(s) are venturing into the backcountry, make sure you have this device on hand so everyone stays on the same page.
The Tracker 3 is a low profile, lightweight beacon that’s meant to be intuitive and ultra-responsive. In addition to specs like a 55-meter maximum range and 50-meter search width, the Tracker 3 boasts two technologies optimal for multiple burial scenarios. The signal suppression function allows a searcher to negate the strongest signal emanating from the first skier identified, and lock onto the next strongest one for continued search and rescue. Big Picture Mode identifies all transmitting signals within range and includes a directional light and distance reading to help you game plan for your multiple victim rescue. Whether you’re a novice or seasoned backcountry veteran, the Tracker 3 is a tool you can depend on.
Your Local Avalanche Forecast
Many local avalanche forecasters (the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, for example) provide a mobile app or daily email newsletter outlining the local avalanche conditions as well as firsthand observations from both snow science professionals and recreational skiers. Ensuring you have access to this information is vital before ever venturing into the backcountry. Sign up, learn how to utilize the information and bring that insight with you every day.