A Shovel Named Desire

| September 8, 2008
Avalanches shovels are a matter of personal choice and with so many out there, it is hard to go wrong.  The most important thing is to carry one – after that, if it works good, it is good.  I consider a well-made shovel to be a quality tool and am very particular about what I look for in them.  Probably the biggest mistake a skier can make with shovels to get a small, cheap one in order to save weight and cost.  Save weight in your ski/boot/binding set-up and think of a shovel’s price in terms of what your friend’s life is worth.  An extra $40 is well worth it and a good shovel will last a long time.

What I look for:

– A good sized METAL blade with high sides
– The joint between the blade and the handle should be precise – no wobbling
– I prefer a “D” handle as you can use it with mittens and clip it to your pack.

A shovel is only as good as its individual parts.
A shovel is only as good as its individual parts.
A flat back on the blade helps prevent scalloping when digging pit walls.
A squarish, flatter top edge to the blade gives a better boot contact surface. Rounded shapes are sexier, but your boot glaces off of them.

An extendable shaft is a back-saver for big excavating jobs. Being able to use it with or with out the extension is a nice feature.

Help support StraightChuter.com and get a solid Backcountry Access Chugach Pro EXT Shovel from Backcountry.com! Click on the photo below…


Category: 02 Gear

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

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