Arva is to transceivers what Hoover is to vacuum cleaners and what Thermos is to flasks … well, in France at least. In the UK, Arva has just touched down yet its easy-to-use format and advanced technology – making it quick and informative – have seen its two models snapped up by leading retailers Snow and Rock and Cotswold Outdoor.

With the death toll in France due to Avalanche topping 54 to March 2006 (Ski Club of Great Britain), transceivers are becoming a key piece of an off-piste enthusiast’s kit. Worn strapped close to the body this radio device transmits during the day and is only tuned to “receive” to pick up the signal of a buried unit.

Arva’s Evolution+ and ADvanced models aim to make the transceiver easy to use so that the goal of saving lives is maximised: going for help without first searching for buried victims could be the difference between life and death with chances of survival halved after the first 15 minutes (Ski Club of Great Britain).

Arva’s Evolution+ is easy-to-use and has a battery power indicator which flags up battery life of 20% and below [at this level it can cope with half an hour in receive mode and 48 hours in transmit]. Arva’s Evolution+ has a scan function that comes into its own in a multiple victim search: it can visually indicate distance and direction of buried units making search and rescue quicker and easier. Two antennae and advanced digital technology enable the device to search for up to five victims in a 40m radius.

Arva’s ADvanced transceiver mirrors the Evolution+ and offers the user the choice between digital and analogue technology (a plus for the experienced who have been used to using analogue devices). Unusually it scans nine bands – from 0-+35 metres - so that rescuers can pinpoint where the unit has been buried. A speedy 16-bit microprocessor makes searching fast.

Arva Evolution+ SRP £170; Arva Advanced SRP £210.