Big thanks to Backcountry Access for sponsoring this avalanche education content. Check out the additional plethora of avalanche safety resources on their website.
Remember RECCO, the tiny radar transponders you’d find attached to ski boots and jackets a few years ago? I thought that stuff had died — apparently not. MountainZone.com reports the North Shore rescue team in Vancouver, BC is high on the system. “More people are skiing with this type of device now,” says a member of the rescue group.
Let’s get real here. To locate a person wearing a RECCO, you need an expensive and bulky radar unit that’s best operated from a helicopter. In other words, if you’re in a bad way, e.g., buried in an avalanche, you’ll probably be dead before anyone finds you using RECCO. Nonetheless, go to the RECCO website and you see the emphasis their marketing places on avalanche safety. I can see this device as being useful for finding people who are lost in the wild, especially children, but to even use it in the same sentence as the word “avalanche” is disingenuous.
It’s useful to be sure, but other than in isolated cases RECCO is not a live avalanche rescue device.