Knowing the proper shovelling technique can save you tens of minutes if you’re trying to get someone out of a 150cm deep hole! But you need the right tool – not all shovels are created equal.
A good shovel balances lightweight with strength. It has to fit in your pack, but within reason bigger is better. Plastic isn’t good – plastic breaks in cold temperatures and hard avalanche debris! An extendable shaft is important, especially to get leverage for digging. A flat top that provides a platform for stepping on is valuable when chopping blocks.