Covid-19 update | Free shipping over $75
Mountain Safety

No matter how fast your transceiver skills, locating an avalanche victim under the snow is only half the battle. Your partner’s life still hangs on how fast you can dig them out.

Historically, the average extraction time for someone buried under three feet of snow has been around 15 minutes. In hard snow or with a deep burial, extractions have been known to take up to an hour. European studies suggest 90% of avy victims buried for less than 15 minutes can be revived. Once the burial time slips past the 15 minute mark, survival rates plummet. Beyond 35 minutes, studies say only 30% survive.

Just as digital beacons have improved search times, significant research has gone into devising specialized digging strategies that speed up extraction times. The importance of understanding these rescue digging techniques can not be overstated. Finding a beacon signal and getting a positive probe strike within two minutes won’t do any good if it takes you another 20 minutes to reach your partner.

This video by Backcountry Access is a good introduction to strategic rescue shoveling. The techniques described in the video have proven to speed up extraction times considerably and especially in companion rescues (only one rescuer).

You’ll also want to check out this article about the "Snow Conveyor" digging method developed by Manuel Genswein and Ragnhild Eide. The snow conveyor method is recognized as the preferred digging strategy if you have multiple rescuers. In tests, Manuel and Ragnhild’s crew has been able to repeatedly perform two-meter extractions in rock hard snow in under 20 minutes. Read about it here.

But beyond watching videos or reading articles, the best way to learn strategic digging techniques is in a professional avalanche course. Find a course close to you in this avy course directory.

Share Story
Published on
21 December 2013
1
Jul
Breaking Trail - A Conversation With Jeremy Jones & Ryan Hudson
The first step in helping make change is to listen and learn from respected voices about the issues. We’ve been working with Jones ambassador Ryan Hudson for nearly a decade, so he was one of the first people we connected with to learn about...
Jones
28
Apr
Videos
Board Hoarders - Part 2: Jeremy Jones’ Surf Series Quiver
Video By Greg Weaver. Photos by Andrew Miller. The new BOARD HOARDERS video series features Jones’ ambassadors digging into their personal snowboard collections and sharing stories about their favorite boards. In part 2 of BOARD HOARDERS,...
Jones
22
Apr
Fighting Climate Change Through Reforestation With ACCT
Since 2015, Jones Snowboards has donated a portion of our annual 1% For The Planet donation to the Costa Rican non-profit Association Community Carbon Trees (ACCT). ACCT is a rainforest reforestation organization that fights climate change by...
Jones
7
Apr
THE BIG ONE - Full Movie + Photo Gallery
In May 2019, pro surfer Ian Walsh and a talented crew of shredders including Nick Russell, Forrest Shearer, Danny Davis, Harry Kearney, Jerry Mark, Nathaniel Murphy, Clark Henarie and Eric Roepke made the push into Denali basecamp. They had...
Jones
30
Mar
Videos
Waking Dream With Pica Herry - FULL MOVIE
In the search for riding esthetic lines in the Mont Blanc Massif few can touch the legacy of snowboarder Julien ’Pica’ Herry and freeskier Sam Favret. Invade Media’s 2017 film WAKING DREAM follows these two legendary shred alpinist as they question...
Jones
21
Mar
END OF THE CYCLE: Forrest Shearer scores DEEP POW in Utah
January 2020 was a legendary month in Utah as a two week storm cycle dumped over 100 inches in the Wasatch. Forrest Shearer rallied back to his old stomping grounds to catch an epic powder filled 48 hours of shredding and splitboarding at the...
Jones