Avy Savvy: Shoveling Techniques

(Last Updated On: December 8, 2008)

On Tuesday, Frank and I attended the CBAC avy awareness clinic and the Crested Butte Center for the Arts. This year’s event was so popular that tickets were sold out and the center was packed jammed-full of locals wanting to do their part for avy awareness. As a fundraising event for CBAC, this was a full success.

Throughout the night, various folks involved with CBAC made presentations on avy safety, inter-mixed with the snowing of an avalanche awareness movie. Most presentations were standard for avy clinics- not really any new information, but always good information to remember. But then, a presentation was made on shoveling techniques.

All backcountry enthusiasts know how important beacon practice is. We know how knowing how to use a beacon effectively can be the difference between life and death should a friend get buried in an avalanche. We all know that probing to find the person is also important in pinpointing the buried person’s exact location, so you don’t have to shovel as much snow.

But, no one really focuses on actually getting that person out of the snow once you find them. Yet, as Tuesday night’s presenter pointed out: If you know how to use your beacon, you will likely spend more time shoveling the person out than actually finding the person.

The presenter gave a lot of good details about shoveling. Basically, the two major things I got were this:
1) You should not shovel directly above the person, you should shovel downhill of them. This will help prevent the snow from caving in on top, making ultimately more snow to shovel away.
2) You should begin shoveling one and a half times downhill from how deep the person is buried. For instance, if the person buried a meter deep, you should shovel 1.5 meters downhill.

There is more to be learned about shoveling techniques. The presenter mentioned that he got his information from the BCA website. I checked it out and found two useful articles:

Check it out. You may learn something useful 🙂

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things,Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate 🙂 Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

Latest posts by Brittany Walker Konsella (see all)

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things, Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate :) Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

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