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ProView – Backcountry Access Snow Saw

This winter season, the Backcountry Access (BCA) 35 cm Snow Saw has become a staple in my ski touring pack. Whether I’m performing formal snowpack observations for our local avalanche center, teaching an avalanche course, or heading into the backcountry with friends, I’ve made it a habit to carry this snow saw in my ski touring pack. 

Backcountry Access Snow Saw

Product Description: The 35 cm snow saw cuts both snow and wood. It is the ideal length for isolating snow columns for stability tests and comes equipped with a protective sheath to prevent it from ripping or scratching up your gear.

Offer price: MSRP: $55.00

  • Quality
    (5)
  • Features
    (5)
  • Fit
    (5)
  • Durability
    (5)

Summary

This winter season, the Backcountry Access (BCA) 35 cm Snow Saw has become a staple in my ski touring pack. Whether I’m performing formal snowpack observations for our local avalanche center, teaching an avalanche course, or heading into the backcountry with friends, I’ve made it a habit to carry this snow saw in my ski touring pack.

Overall
5

Pros

  • Cuts snow, ice, and wood well
  • Lightweight
  • Low-profile
  • Easy to fit in my pack.

Cons

  • Sharp! (Not really a con – just use with care)

Features

Part of the reason I always pack the BCA snow saw is that it’s lightweight, low-profile, and easy to fit in my pack. At 35 centimeters in length, it meets the standard for an avalanche snow saw, and like all the other BCA gear I’ve used, this saw offers the highest level of functionality. For one, the stainless steel blade is razor-sharp. In the Pacific Northwest, it’s not uncommon to find some pretty serious ice or crust layers in our snowpack. A couple of weeks ago, we had a week straight of snow, rain, and re-freeze cycles, resulting in an absurd number of crusts stacked up in our upper snowpack. As luck would have it, it was my turn to head out there and dig into our snowpack and identify every layer as part of a full snow profile for our local avalanche center. Let’s just say I was super thankful to have an incredibly sharp blade to cut through all those crusts. 

This snow saw can also cut through wood. Why would anyone want to cut through wood while backcountry skiing? Well, if you are in an avalanche rescue scenario and you’re trying to get to someone buried under the snow, it’s not uncommon for trees or limbs to be among the avalanche debris. Depending on the specific situation, it might be easier to cut through a tree limb rather than try to dig around it to reach an avalanche victim. Aside from this type of scenario, if you’re spending a night out, whether on purpose if you’re snow camping, or in an unplanned scenario, like if someone in your party is injured and you’re waiting for rescue, you could use the BCA 35 cm Snow Saw to cut wood for a fire. No matter the situation, having a saw in your pack that can perform multiple functions is never a bad idea. 

On the topic of functionality, the BCA 35 cm snow saw also has 1 mm and 3 mm grids right on the blade, so that if you’re studying the snowpack and you forgot your crystal card or don’t have it right on hand, you can use the saw to examine the snow grain size. The side of the blade also has centimeter markings to help cut snow columns accurately while doing pit tests. 

The blade handle can attach to a ski pole (either the BCA Scepter or other adjustable ski poles) to become an extended saw. I did not use this functionality while testing the saw, but I think it’s a great added benefit and could see this being useful for isolating large columns. The strong handle is easy to grip when sawing through a thick crust or wood. Since the saw is so sharp, I love that it comes with a bright orange blade cover that easily snaps into place over the razor teeth and is easy to keep track of in a snowpit.

For these reasons, I would highly recommend the Backcountry Access 35 cm Snow Saw to any backcountry skier or rider. 

Shop the Backcountry Access Snow Saw on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro
alli miles
Alli Miles
Marketing :: Ruffwear

Alli is a backcountry skier, ski mountaineer, climber, and ultra runner in Bend, Oregon. On weekdays during work hours, you’ll find her in the marketing department at Ruffwear. Outside work hours, you’ll usually find her in the mountains near Bend or at Smith Rock, accompanied by her furry adventure pal Riggins.

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