After you determine the location of an avalanche victim by using your probe, note the approximate depth at which the victim in buried. This will determine the best method for shoveling the person out of the snow. Leave your probe in the snow and begin digging.
If the person is buried less than 1m – 1.5m, just start digging.
If the victim is buried deeper than 1.5 meters, start digging at least 1 meter down the slope from the victims location. You should usually dig about 1.5x the burial depth down the hill from the victim. In other words, if the victim is buried 2 meters deep, start digging for them 3 meters downhill.
When you begin digging on the downhill side, you are forced to move less snow, and moving a large amount of snow can be done much faster. The key is to dig “Into the slope” rather than “Down to the victim”, because this is the most efficient rescue method.
It is also important to dig using a horizontal digging motion instead of thrusting your shovel downward into the avalanche debris. Again; digging “Into the slope” and not “Down to the victim”. This motion is less likely to collapse any air pockets that the avalanche victim was able to form underneath the snow.
Don’t Go For Help – An avalanche victim’s chances for survival will decrease significantly after being buried for 20-30 minutes. Mountain Rescue services will usually take close to an hour to arrive in full force, so you are your partners best chance at being rescued alive.
Don’t tie your shovel to your the outside of your pack with an intricate knot system. Make sure that you can access your avalanche gear easily and quickly when you really need it.