transceiver:i have used the ortovox m2 (singal antenna) for the last couple years. i like it, works well, great range, etc. the backcountry access tracker (dual antenna) is known for ease of use. i know a couple dudes (copson namely) who love this tranny. it also has a better harness than the ortovox m2. analog have a greater range but are generally harder to use, and pinpoint locations. digital is less range, easier to use.. go digital - they can interoperate.
the buzz last year was on the ortovox s1 (3 antennas - pictured) - both digital and sensor controlled - so look at that one. it's the top of the line and the future they say... and after being delayed over and over again it's now on the market.
shovel:i personally like life-link gear. i have used a couple of their shovels and currently use their polycarbonate shovel. it's light and pretty good although it's harder than most square, non ridged shovels to make a good even snow pit wall. this is because it not square, and it's grooved as i said. that isn't a huge deal, more of an annoyance really. however if you are out there digging snow pits daily then get a different shovel - like the brooks-range (discussed below).
probes:it's nice to have ski poles that converts into a probe. last year i skied with the life-link variant (great tough pole). i just got the carbon pro at the end of last year - this one is the bomb, super light and it converts to a probe. having a probe in a pole makes your poles a bit heavier, so it's a trade-off of course - but life-link has figured it out and the swing weight seems perfect and feels natural. i will sometimes carry a real probe anyway... just in case, depends on the situation. i could loose a pole, etc.
if you are serious about long tours in the backcountry (ie: being exposed for days to avalanches) - get the brooks-range shovel & sled attachment
shovel w/sled attachment:the option i like and will use this year is the brooks-range backcountry shovel and sled attachment. i took the amga ski guiding course last year in jackson hole. they provided all the students with this setup a few months later. the idea is that with a bit of rope, your skis this shovel you can easily build a rescue sled. we worked with these in the class and they were far superior to any other sled configuration... i liked it a lot (you will also need to drill holes in your ski tips if you don't already have them). it's scary out there in the winter, and people get hurt.
when people like doug combs die it makes you rethink what you carry out there.
*** i'm selling some fritschi freerides on ebay