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141 of 145 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2010
Verified Purchase
Baltimore was hit with about 80 total inches of snow this season and as the sun came out in between storms, we started getting nasty ice dams. I didn't really do anything about it (I mean, I spent 2 days shoveling out my 100 foot driveway, what am I going to do about 5 foot drifts on my roof?) until I saw that my library was flooding.

First thing to say is that the Avalanche works best when you use it IMMEDIATELY after a snowfall. The system is ingenius--you're basically sliding a conveyor belt underneath the snow and snow on your roof comes sliding down off of it. It truly works better and with less exertion than a traditional roof rake. But don't get me wrong, it's still a lot of work and you'll be exhausted afterwards.

If the snow is very wet or if you've let it sit and melt like I did, you'll have more work trying to push the head of the Avalanche through the snow. This is where my first complaint comes in. While the head of the Avalanche is very high quality metal, you get 4 fiberglass poles (which are connected with metal interlocking systems) that you can snap together to your desire length. These poles are probably designed to be as lightweight as possible, but they bend. And the longer the length (i.e. all 4 poles), the more the bending is evident. Thus, when you're pushing at the end of the handle, you want the head of the Avalanche to push straight through the wet snow, not for the pole to start wobbling and bending on you. One more suggestion I'd make to the Avalanche people is that they should make the handle end in a D-grip, like on most snow shovels (like this). For the amount of exertion put into raking the roof, making the design a little more ergonomic will save a lot of strain on your customers' hands, arms, and shoulders.

My main criticism though is that the plastic sheeting is sorta flimsy. It ripped on the first use. The poles also look like they're developing hairline cracks. If this item only cost $50 like other traditional snow rakes (or like one other Amazon reviewer paid for it back in 2005), then maybe I'd say, "oh well, it was a lot of snow." But for over $100, you'd want it to be pretty sturdy and dependable. I also agree with another reviewer that there should be a way to wind up the plastic sheeting; it's unwieldy when moving the Avalanche from one part of the yard to another, especially if you're also wading through a lot of snow on the ground.

I will say however, that I'm glad I got this instead of the Avalanche Drift Buster because I was able to use this one in reverse. I brought it up to the attic and 2nd floor windows and, by starting at the roof's bottom edge and positioning the sheet below, I could pull the Avalanche towards me and send the snow flying off. That way, I was able to reach certain places on my roof that was hard to reach from the ground.

In the end, the Avalanche worked very well for a roof rake. But there were parts of my roof that I ended up climbing up and shoveling the snow off with a traditional snow shovel. In those areas, I felt that I worked faster, with less exertion, and removed more snow (right down to the roof), allowing the sun to melt the remainder more quickly. But I have to admit that it was very dangerous, and I limited that shoveling to the parts of my roof that weren't very steep. In the other parts, the Avalanche was able to remove enough snow or at least make channels in the drifts to help aid the melting process. If the rake were below $90, or if the company guaranteed free replacement parts, I'd up my review to five stars.

If you found this review helpful, please let me know.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2009
Verified Purchase
I just purchased this with overnight delivery after getting hit with the "Blizzard of 2009". We ended up with around a foot of snow, but it piled up on the front of our house. We had a problem with ice dams last year, so I wanted to remove the snow before we had to break out the buckets and sponges.

The AVA500 comes disassembled, but goes together in several minutes. "Snap" (pop-up) buttons are used to hold the four pole segments together as well as for attaching the frame. The vinyl roll snaps into the bottom of the frame.

Usage is trivial: assemble to the desired length, unroll the vinyl, put the wheels on the edge of the roof, and slide the frame up the roof.

Oh, and stand back - this product is appropriately named. The snow literally flies down the sheet and off the roof.

Roll the frame back towards you, and repeat on the next section.

You typically only need to go up a few feet to prevent ice dams, but given how easy this was, I probably went up around eight feet.

Another plus: the wheels on the frame will prevent any shingle damage.

It didn't have a problem with two-day old snow, which had packed and melted somewhat.

Only negatives I can see so far are:
- No easy way to wind up the roll (it's only eight feet, but still, a knob would have been a good idea)
- The vinyl will eventually rip and need to be replaced; it's reasonably thick but will eventually catch on something.
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2010
It works as advertised, as long as it is completely calm out. I found it extremely frustrating to use when there is even the slightest bit of crosswind. The plastic blows to the side and folds over and makes it nearly impossible to use. Also, the plastic tears very easily. After the first use I had numerous rips and tears from catching on the corners of shingles near roof edges. You can cut the plastic and then reattach, but you then lose that much reach up the roof. I had 6 tears anywhere from 6 inches to 6 feet from the head of the unit. I will probably have to replace the plastic, which according to the manufacturer's website is about $30. I was being careful, so my guess is that I will have to replace the plastic roll every time (or every other time) I use the unit, so you may want to take that into account. A simple switch to a fiber reinforced, tarp-type material would probably prove much more durable. A couple of simple changes and this would be a 5 star rating; however, living in Minnesota, I see me spending somewhere around $120 a year just to replace the plastic rolls. Not a good situation.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2010
Verified Purchase
This looks like great idea so I bought one, even with overnight shipping as a warm up is coming. As I pushed it up the roof on a low section, to "cut" the sides of the snow as instructed, the plastic coupler broke in two rendering the unit useless. I thought the amount of force I was using was reasonable and not excessive. I called Avalanche directly and they apologized and said they'd send a replacement coupler and I'll have it in 48 hours. So thought this was great idea but not so sure if the plastic couple that holds it all together is weak. I'll update once I get the new coupler. Be gentle if you get one of these. (Got replacement coupler as promised, but snow melted so no chance to try again yet).

Update 2.17.15 Getting questions, guessing from all the east coast folks with lots of white stuff on the roof. I'd say this is a great system, company sent me replacement coupler immediately after purchase and said they had one bad batch of couplers which they upgraded, has been fine. Works best with snow that is not too crusty. It will slide down in chunks as you glide cutter up your roof line, as opposed to pulling it down with traditional roof rake.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2013
Verified Purchase
The roller was too thick to push through the snow on my roof. I tried unrolling it to make it thinner but it still wouldn't go through the snow. It wouldn't work on the top layer either which was at most a day old. A standard metal roof rake worked, but I'll probably go with the Phillips Snow Cutter.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2009
Verified Purchase
Just recieved this today and took it out to use it. Went together easy, was easy to move on the roof and the snow came down just like it's supposed to. I still have 3" of ice up there, but at least the snow is off. I agree with the other review, it would be nice if there was a knob or something to help rewind the slide, but I'm still very pleased with it.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2011
The Avalanche weighs a ton with the fiberglass handles. The biggest issue is the plastic chute. If it hits the edge of a metal roof, a nail, a screw, or just about anything, it rips to shreds. Replacement is over 30 bucks. The owner of the company feels no responsibility no matter how new your item is. There are no warning labels. Buyer beware!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2011
Verified Purchase
With the amount of snow we have received in Minnesota this year, I needed a solution to remove snow from my roof. I wasn't going to risk standing on the roof or damaging shingles. This proved to be a worthy solution. Does everything it advertises. Only disappointment is the slide ripped after one use. Instead of buying the replacement slide off of the manufacturer's website for $25, I bought a roll of Gorilla tape and it fixed it without a problem. I would recommend this to anyone looking to remove snow from their roof.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2011
We used this unit in north Idaho on a manufactured home with a metal roof. Unit is very heavy, especially with extension poles. Definitely not for the petite or elderly. The coating on the extension poles fell off after the first use. The flapper on the end of the pole jammed and came off. The unit would get stuck in crusty snow and jam. We no longer use it and purchased a different one.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2015
Verified Purchase
I purchased this last fall in anticipation of winter snows. We finally got about 4 inches of snow, so I got to use the Avalanche for the first time today. I'm in New England, my house is a 'Cape' that often has ice dams if we don't rake the roof.

(I may update this review after we get a deeper snow. )

I have a mostly good impression of the device, with some qualifications.

Weight: the device is heavier than my old aluminum roof rake. I was initially concerned about that, but most of the effort you expend here is pushing it up the roof once per pass. By comparison, the roof rake needs constant effort to tug some snow down and then push the rake back up. Lifting the Avalanche off the ground onto the edge of the roof can be awkward due to the weight, the pole handle bows noticeably.

Snow removal: big positives here. Once up the roof, it works well. The snow does indeed break off in chunks and come sliding down quickly. I felt that, net, I was doing way less than half the work I would with my old roof rake. Also, I'd say the roof got done in a 25% of the time. (Given, it was only 4" of snow.)

Only negative here is that when moving from the first path of snow to the next, moving the Avalanche to the side for the next pass was a bit awkward. The slide would sometime become folded over, best to straighten it out. (Maybe needs a weight on the bottom edge?)

Handle and "optional" handle kit: this prevented me from giving a better score on this review. My roof forms ice dams higher up than just at the gutter area and the Avalanche would not have been valuable without the extra handle kit - it would've reached maybe half way up.

Really, the extra handle lengths should've been included, instead of being an extra $50.

Longevity: I wonder about the slide sheet, but I didn't have any problems today. The rollers' surface that was in contact with the roof is more abraded than I would've expected, but we'll see over time.

Dislikes: rolling up the plastic slide is not easy. The little plastic crank handle that came with it isn't very effective, it slips on the roller shaft. And I'll bet it gets lost within a month. Why couldn't the manufacturer throw 3 or 4 in the box?
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