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I upgraded to this from a light aluminium low profile shovel almost a year ago and I'm really happy with it.
Small shovels are fine for occasional side country use, but once you start pushing your boundaries further and further from the fence of your local ski hill, you will quickly realise the efficiency and safety value of a bigger and more capable shovel. A bigger shovel means quicker and more efficient pit digging. The adjustable length handle means good torque on the blade and you won't have to stoop as low as with a lightweight single length shovel. At the risk of stating the blindly obvious, a person buried under snow is literally drowning and the quicker you move the snow and get to them, the more likely they are to survive. The blade also slots onto the hand end of the handle to make a hoe.
Most times I go snowboarding involves getting on a plane so there's always a compromise with size and I like the size and weight of this one.
There's a few small, but worthwhile features thrown in too, such as the slits in the blade. Loop a 120cm sling through and you've got a fairly decent anchor.
If you have holes drilled in the end of your planks you can also make a sled with the supplied nuts and bolts.
Mt Hotham is the closest thing we have in Australia to pass-style backcountry touring. Here's a GoPro still shot of some of the great lines on offer of the Great Alpine Road.
From slogging through the alpine ash in the valleys and up into the high alpine of Mt Bogong (Australia) these are bomber pants for touring.
Paused to analyse the terrain halfway up Mt Bogong. Even though the ends of my BD poles had been gnawed by pine martens from a hut trip in canada 6 months ago, they're still going strong this southern winter!
Split boarding in the Victorian backcountry.
Reflection shot during a break from heli-ski in the Tordrillos, Alaska.