We’ll start with the ‘holy trinity’ of transceiver, shovel and probe; no snowboard backcountry mission – or ski, for that matter – should be attempted without all three. Transceivers may seem prohibitively expensive, but they last for a long time and pay for themselves with their first use. Shovels and probes are cheaper, although forking out a little extra cash will get you lighter options with more features.
“While you can never eliminate all risks, there are other things you can do to improve your odds”
Even with those three, there are still risks, and while you can never eliminate them there are other things you can do to improve your odds. ABS Airbag backpacks can keep you near the top of an avalanche, and an AvaLung will increase the amount of time you can survive when buried. Other items such as 2-way radios may help you avoid getting in any bother in the first place, so are definitely worth considering too.
One thing you can’t buy is knowledge and experience. Books, videos and websites are available to help you brush up on backcountry basics regularly, and avalanche safety courses run all over the world throughout the winter months. Get clued up, then grab yourself some of this stuff:
All photographs by Sami Tuoriniemi
Production: Ed Blomfield / Mike Brindley / Andrew Duthie / Sami Tuoriniemi