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Backcountry Access Aluminum Crystal Card


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Aluminum Crystal Card

The Backcountry Access Aluminum Crystal Card helps you make an informed decision about the current snowpack conditions when you’re skiing in the backcountry. BCA printed this card with one-, two-, and three-millimeter grids as well as a cheat sheet for analyzing snow crystal types and sizes. The small aluminum card slides easily into your pocket or snow study kit.
  • Gridded sheet assists with complex snow analysis in the backcountry
  • One-, two-, and three-millimeter grids measure snow crystal sizes
  • Small aluminum card slides into pockets and snow study kits
  • Item #BCA0094

4 x 6 in
Claimed Weight
1.4 oz
Recommended Use
backcountry touring
Manufacturer Warranty
1 year

Tech Specs

What do you think about this product?


>Rating: 5

Essential for snow safety study!

I've used it several times

If you know what it's for, it works great. Take an avalanche education class if you are going into the backcountry!

>Rating: 4

Snow Pit Essentials

I've used it several times

As a beginner to ski touring, having this in my pack is awesome. Doesn't take up much space, and allows me to nerd out mid hike on all the cool stuff I learned in Avy 1 class. Staying safe and understanding my surroundings as they change is also pretty cool too!

>Rating: 5

Tools for Jewels

I've used it several times

Who doesn't love geeking out over snow crystals? This card makes examining snow easy to keep your inner science nerd alive and safe in the backcountry.

>Rating: 5

Gold standard crystal card

I love this tool. Good contrast. Grids etched with lasers, lasers man! Make good decisions out there.

>Rating: 5

My Crystal Ball

There is no better healing crystal than one that does not have to be recharged and keeps you safely out of an avalanche. It does its job, and is getting me excited to continue my avalanche education deeper into snow science. Like others have mention stick the card in the snow while you did your pit, so the crystals won't melt too quickly.

>Rating: 5


I've put it through the wringer

This is a nice and sturdy, durable card. I've brought it on a bunch of tours this year and it's been fun and super helpful to be able to see snow crystals up close. However, I have noticed in warmer temps that the crystals melt faster.

>Rating: 5

See What's Down There

I've put it through the wringer

Looking at snow isn't just for pros. The crystal card from BCA is simple, durable, and helpful. It fits easily in a snow study kit and is a great resource for determining crystal type when you are creating snow profiles. I like the aluminum design because it cools down quickly so you can get to examining the crystals without them melting under your loupe. The crystal type symbols and easy to read 1mm and 3mm grids are excellent resources for recording. The dual sided card also has markings to help determine slope angle using a topo map, that way you can avoid steep slopes during periods of increased avalanche danger.


Studying is fun

This is not what a good snowpack looks like, but it sure makes for some fun snow studying! I like the black crystal cards over clear ones because the snow grains are easier to see. I took these pictures with just the crystal card, a 10x magnifier loupe (like BCA2951 for example) and my Iphone. Almost too easy!

>Rating: 4

Good Tool

I love having this in the pack to check out crystals! I do like that it is aluminum as opposed to plastic- but you need to make sure it's not super heated up before you try and put some flakes on there. I like the durability and sturdiness that the aluminum offers. Overall, nice little tool to throw in the pack- doesn't take up much space/weight, and it's a good thing to learn how to use!

>Rating: 5

Great when you let it cool down!

This card is great! I have used plastic cards for years and finally stepped up to this about a month ago. i find that once the card is cold crystals will last much longer allowing you to get a batter view of what the conditions are like!! This is much more durable than it's plastic counterparts when pushing into icy layers, and works well a a knife measurement in your tests. This card will melt crystals if you take it right out of your pack and try to use it. Let it cool down first!!

>Rating: 4

I need plastic

There is nothing wrong with this card....but since I deal with warmer temps in general and sunny skies for the most part....I find that the metal card tends to melt the grains rather fast. I've noticed similar plastic cards not having the same problem. Again...not a knock on the card...probably just something to consider if you ski in the Southwest like I do.

Trick for your problem: this card will hold temperature longer than a plastic card, so slide it into the snow on the side wall of your pit once you have dug out, then as you are prepping and testing let the card cool then it will be good to go once you start looking at crystals!!

>Rating: 3

Good tool

Would be nice if they combined this card with an inclinometer or something. but overall it provides the info needed to study the pow.


THOSE WHO HAVE THIS CARD: Do you feel this...

THOSE WHO HAVE THIS CARD: Do you feel this is something that is truly helpful in backcountry to determine avalanche safety or is this something for the geeky gadget carriers of the backcountry? Does it come with directions on how to use the symbols?

Take an avalanche safety course if you haven't already done so. Don't rely on gear instructions to educate yourself. You need to practice. Is it useful? Yes. But it depends what type of backcountry skiing you're doing. For day trips, probably not as much as multi-day tours.