I took my AST-1 and so now I'm curious as to where and with what method you did your depth tests. How much time do you take to do it?
Usually we choose a slope that is representative of the slope we are thinking of skiing. I mainly do compression tests. Might do an ECT if worried about deeper persistent weak layers. Never do rutshcblocks. In 5-10 minutes i can check snow density, figure out layers, and do two compressions tests. Faster if I am only digging shallow looking at a specific upper layer.
I don't actually dig a lot of pits. We did three this whole week. One early in the week to figure out local layers and a couple later in the week once conditions changed and I wanted to see how the new snow was bonding to older layers and we were panning to ski steeper slopes. I might dig more if there is spotty distribution of a persistent weak layer due to surface hoar.
Snow tests are only one part of my avy assessment and decision making process to ski a slope... the terrain, weather over the past few days, field observations, avy forecasts, other local avalanche activity.
Years/decades ago, I considered the Rutschblock to be the ultimate test but now I would rather do more compression tests in the same or less time than one Rutschblock, using the duplicate tests to verify the first test or identify whether the results are really varying (and use the most conservative result).
Hmmmm.... now that you have your AST-1 and you seem to have a company setting you up with backcountry gear, you need to come on a ski trip... :)
There may be an opening for our trip at the end of March/beginning of April near Kimberley... but you would have to put up with sharing AR stories, enjoyable workouts, great views, plus a good sleep every night and good food... the best of all worlds :). It can be quite enjoyable if you can tolerate the company (but you already know about that ;)