Know how to use your gear.
Credit: Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content Pool

Avi (avalanche training) courses will take you through beacon search drills and teach you proper digging techniques to extract a buried body, but you can practice throwing out your probe in your own backyard or driveway. Have the most experienced leader in your group do a beacon check before heading into an exposed area by flipping their beacon into search mode as each person passes by, just to make sure everyone is beeping. Travis recommends carrying a medium- to large-sized shovel if you want it to actually move snow around. "They make some really tiny shovels these days that are useless," he says. "When you have a shovel blade that's basically the size of your hand, you might as well just doggy dig."