Avalanche Gear and Equipment

Backcountry Ski and Snow Board Safety Equipment


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Avalanche safety equipment for the backcountry skier and snowboarder. This includes equipment used to locate and rescue avalanche victims as well as safety equipment used to mitigate avalanche risk.
Avalanche Beacons

Description: The avalanche tranceiver "beacon" is a short range radio transmitter and receiver which will allow one buried in an avalanche to be located. Each beacon functions as a transmitter while in the backcountry on the international standard for avalanche beacons, 457 kHz. In case of an avalanche which buries a member of your party, the beacons can be switched to "receive mode" to locate the missing individual. The beacons operate in two modes: send (transmit) and search (receive). Typically they will show signal strength to indicate distance and signal direction. The transceiver will also emit an audible beep when in receive mode. Modern transceivers often employ multiple antenna to provide a directional indicator.

The first step in an avalanche rescue is to use the beacon the pick up a signal. Rescuers then use the distance and direction indicator to locate the vicinity of the victim. When close to the burried victim, rescuers use the avalanche proble to locate the victim.

Manufacturers Links:

Also worthy of mention: Spot - Not a true avalanche beacon because it does not transmit/receive 457kHz but instead uses satellite messaging technology and GPS. Used by back country skiers and hikers to get located by recuers.

Arva Avalanche beacon

Arva Avalanche Tranceivers: EV03+, Axis and Link

Pieps Avalanche beacon

Pieps "Vector" Avalanche Tranceiver (with GPS, rechargeable batteries)

BCA Avalanche beacon

BCA Avalanche Tranceiver

BCA Avalanche beacon video:
Demonstration of testing BCA Avalanche beacons.


Beacon Checker:

BCA Avalanche beacon checker

This BCA Beacon checker helps promote safety by placing this checker at the backcountry access point where tranceivers are used. This checker detects whether the beacon is transmitting. Green = OK. Features sensitivity control, audible buzzer and outputs for loudspeakers, gate latches, etc.

Avalanche Beacon Training:
BCA Avalanche beacon training

Beacon training for practice using avalanche beacons tranceivers. This BCA "Training Park" features 4 or 8 permanently buried transmitters wired to the control panel. Eases training by easily switching buried beacons to change training scenarios.

Recco tags:

The RECCO advanced rescue system uses a hand held transmitter/detector radar system capable of detecting the echo from the small antenna reflector built into many of todays ski helmets, ski boots and ski clothing. The reflector is a non-powered device which does not degrade over time. The RECCO system resides in the domain of the ski resort ski partol or professional mountain rescue teams and is not a substitute for the companion rescue avalanche beacon.

The detection range of the current 9th generation of RECCO detectors is approximately 200 meters through air (hence it can be operated from a helicopter) or 30 meters through snow. It is also capable of detecting the standard 457 kHz avalanche beacon.


Recco antenna tag detector (9th generation product of this system)

RECCO: Advanced rescue technology

Avalanche Probes:

Manufacturers Links:

Avalanche Rescue Equipment:

Manufacturers Links:

Avalanche gear

Typical back country touring pack with Avalanche rescue equipment

Arva Avalanche gear

Arva "Rescuer 22" Freeride safety pack - quick release zipper


BCA shovel:
BCA backcountry shovels - features a saw or collapsible probe in the handle.

Breathing Devices:

Manufacturers Links:

Black Diamond Aqualung backpack

Black Diamond "Avalung" series backpack: Fresh air is delivered from the backpack and CO2 is expelled through an exhaust port in the lower rear part of the pack away from the body. Claims to extend your survival once buried, from 15 minutes to up to one hour.

Avalanche Floatation Devices:
BCA avalanche floatation:
BCA Avalanche floatation device

ABS Avalanche floatation device

ABS Avalanche floatation device


Also see Avalanche Training, Education and Information

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