Best Avalanche Beacons
Do you love to ski in the backcountry? Hike up brutal mountains to make those elusive fresh tracks in a blanket of fluffy white powder? Drop into uncharted ski territory? Ski back bowls and occasionally duck the ropes at your favorite ski area?
If you are a powder junkie, big mountain skier, and/or freerider, it’s likely that you have already or need to invest in a trusty avalanche beacon.
Here’s a short run down on all the different beacons out there, because when it comes to buying a device that may just save your life one day, you want to do your research.
Looking to buy one? Here are some choices:
- Pieps DSP Avalanche Transceiver (buy)
- Pieps Freeride Avalanche Beacon (buy)
- Mammut Pulse Barryvox Avalanche Beacon (buy)
- Backcountry Access Tracker DTS Beacon (buy)
- Ortovox S1 Sensor Avalanche Beacon (buy)
- Ortovox Focus Avalanche Beacon (buy)
- Ortovox M2 Avalanche Transceiver (buy)
Remember that having a good beacon with you will really only serve its purpose if whoever you are skiing with also has an avalanche transceiver that can receive the signal. Of course, when heading out into the backcountry it’s always a good idea to stick with others, test out the snow before you bomb down the hills, and always carry a shovel and probe. Check daily snow reports and remember that big dumps after a dry spell can mean avalanche city.
Avalanche beacons aren’t cheap, but pretty much none of the equipment that allows you to bomb the backcountry is. Backcountry skiing is only for the most serious skiers who like to venture out beyond the ski area boundaries in search of the truly rugged terrain and hidden powder stashes. While these beacons may set you back a couple hundred bucks, that’s nothing compared to the $800 skis you’re rocking or the $400 coat. Plus an avalanche beacon may some day save your life.
For all those backcountry skiers and powder fiends out there, do you have an avalanche beacon? Which one is your favorite?