It seems like a shovel, probe and transceiver is seen as mandatory equipment for most off piste skiers these days. You still see people ducking the ropes at the ski resort who blatantly don’t have the kit, but for your dedicated off piste skier the transceiver is turned on in the car park and left on all day.

The majority of our courses and trips include an avalanche pack free of charge although most of our regular skiers have their own kit. You can rent an avalanche kit from us if you’re skiing on your own too.

There’s a little bit of pre-season maintenance and check ups that it’s worth thinking about before your packing for the ski trip.

Firstly, you should have removed the batteries from the transceiver at the end of last season. This prevents any corrosion or battery leakage. Alkaline corrosion looks like a fine white powder, if you have any of that then the transceiver needs to go to the manufacturer for testing. Do not ignore this!

If you’re putting in fresh batteries then (following the manufactures recommendation) you should use high quality disposable alkaline batteries.

  • High quality batteries last so much longer than budget ones that it works out cheaper.
  • You should never use rechargeables as the power can drop off without warning and the transceiver struggles to give an accurate battery indicator reading.
  • Unless explicitly written by the manufacturer lithium batteries are not recommended. This is because unlike alkaline batteries the power drops sharply when the charge is running low. So your transceiver might appear to be working but the range or transmitting power might be seriously compromised.
  • More geeky battery chat on the Mammut website here.

We send our transceivers for diagnostics and testing every three years. There are various service centres in the UK and you can check with whoever you bought the transceiver from. If you’re not sure then we’d recommend Facewest who will service Ortovox and Mammut transceivers.

Before every ski tour or off piste day we perform a full group check with our avalanche transceivers, and if you have access to a second transceiver then this is a good idea at home too.