Plastic avalanche shovels have earned a bad reputation. Although polycarbonate (Lexan) blades are nearly unbreakable, they tend to flex which makes them bounce off hard snow. When seconds count, a shovel that cannot attack avalanche debris is almost worthless. Aluminum blades are stiffer so they chop much more effectively; although larger than plastic blades, these don't necessarily move snow any faster since they have shallower sides (a constraint of metal forming).
The new Indigo Snow Logic shovel overcomes the weakness of previous polycarbonate models and the design limitations of aluminum. Similar in size to the Life-Link that has been around for ages, the blade has much greater structural reinforcement. Applying full bodyweight barely flexes this blade while other plastic blades bend easily. Slightly deeper walls also provide more volume for shoveling. And a well-designed flat surface on the bottom is ideal for smoothing out the wall of snow pits for evaluating conditions.
The Snow Logic is super-fast to assemble with a little practice (there's a little trick that's easily figured out). Borrowing an idea from Ramer, the handle never has to be removed from the shovel blade; most others separate the two for transport and losing either half renders the shovel useless. The extendable aluminum handle is indexed so that pushbuttons always align. Even the gull-wing grip is an improvement over normal T-grips since it fits the hand more comfortably.
At 23 ounces (670 g) for the Standard Snow Logic with the extendable handle (why anyone would buy a non-extendable handle is a complete mystery), the shovel is reasonably light without sacrificing performance. This is the first plastic shovel we've tested that truly rivals aluminum models and, indeed, has some distinct advantages.
SNEWS Rating: 5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $40
For more information:www.indigoequipment.com