Here's a link to the other Drone thread on Epic.
The prototype drone can carry a 17lb pound payload and already has sensors to measure snow depth and water content. That's a lot of capacity for additional sensors. Do we already have have odor sensing technology to replace avy dogs? If not, there's a research project. A heat sensor might be able to locate a fresh victim. Cops already use similar technology in police helicopters. Ground penetrating radar ought to be able to easily find a victim not buried at ground level. What's the weight of those things? A drone ought to be able to do a beacon search much more rapidly then a human. The thing could drop dye packs on suspected locations. If a dual antenna beacon is more accurate and the thing has a seven foot size, would a 3 antenna beacon with more distance between the antennas be even better? Video could help partially buried victims or lost gear clues on the surface quicker even if only manually viewed by an operator team. Pattern recognition software might be even better. A sound sensor might also be useful.
Looking at on the victim technology and speaking of sound sensors, would it be possible to embed sensors in outer clothing or an avy pack that could detect the pressure of a burial and activate a beeping sound alarm? What about a voice activated trigger? Avalanche snow sets like concrete but if rescuers can shovel through it, could a small robotic device drill to the surface? That could be voice activated or automatic. Such a device could deploy a location identifier when it reaches the surface and might even be helpful to get fresh air/vent CO2 better than an avalung.
Looking at areas like the Cottonwood canyons in Salt Lake where there is a relative concentration of skiers in the backcountry, could sound sensors on balloons detect avalanches and triangulate their locations (we already have similar technology to locate gun shot sounds in urban areas and there has been some research on avalanches producing infra sound)? At the least that could help forecasters. At best it could trigger the deployment of drones to the area to investigate if there is human activity and potential victims. On the previous link, it mentions the detection of infra sound (below what humans can detect) 10 seconds prior to release. Although that can of warning lead time is probably only going to occur for non-human triggered slides, a device that could detect and identify such sounds and then sound a human audible warning (I'm thinking radar detector type technology here) might be an idea worth looking into,
One nice thing about science fiction is that sometimes the wacky ideas later turn out to be doable. Another nice thing is that dreaming up the ideas is entertainment. The bottom line here is that there is no shortage of potential research subjects even though they may seem a bit ridiculous.