I have never been in a search & rescue situation but it is hard to imagine I would have taken my skis and gloves off to start my search. I suppose people do this because training classes never tell you that a fresh avalanche debris pile would be almost certainly impossible to negotiate on foot. Not quite sure how he saw the pole sticking out but thankfully the victim was very close to him because I don't think these two had a chance of finding the buried skier otherwise.
In our Avy I class our instructor told us that rescuers often take their gloves off. The rescuer in this video took them off when he got his shovel and probe out of his pack and forgot to put them back on. (Did you notice that toward the end of the video he looks down at his cold hands?) I know how this happens. I did the same thing when we were practicing our companion rescue in the class. Even in training I was hard to think straight. I can't imagine what it's like in a real rescue situation.
Did you notice that the rescuer in the video appeared to dig straight down on the victim instead of going down the slope and digging forward? Good reminder to practice companion rescue early and often.
A couple years ago I took the Companion Rescue class at Mission Ridge through the Pettigrew Foundation (Free class, free lift ticket, full day class! Although the Pettigrew Foundation happily accepts donations) It was eye-opening and extremely good practice. The Mission Ridge Patrollers were great instructors and set up several scenarios as we worked our way down the mountain. They made us do single rescuer beacon and digging and multi-person rescuers beacon and digging. They were pretty hard on me for taking my gloves off and made me get out my probe and shovel again with them on. Kinda tough since I usually wear overmitts, but I got used to it. I would have never thought about that if I hadn't practiced it. I am sad I haven't made it back to one of their classes for the past 2 seasons, but it is invalueble information and practice if anyone is interested for next season.
Gloves always on for my touring and general riding actions has been one of my minor self challenges for a couple years. It is amazing how difficult simple tasks can be with gloves until you force yourself to build the dexterity. Much time is wasted in the on/off glove habit, not to mention how cold your hands can get or how quick your gloves can fall off the lift :-)
Its one of several habits I've been trying to form to make my touring practice better: - split board transition steps always in the same order - gear placed in the same pack location - focus on steady breathing, relaxing mind and muscles while climbing, especially when exposure or a slip makes me tense up