or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Why WOULDN'T you wear an Airbag when heli or cat skiing?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Why WOULDN'T you wear an Airbag when heli or cat skiing? - Page 5

post #121 of 149

Information/misinformation posted by me may be available for a limited time only. Check in often.

post #122 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post

Information/misinformation posted by me may be available for a limited time only. Check in often.



popcorn.gif  I wouldn't want to miss it, but I had to go get more popcorn.

Carry on.

post #123 of 149

To inject a frivolous note into a serious thread...

I just learned an important slang term,

 

"Going redbird"

 

Accidentally setting off the ABS in the shop.

post #124 of 149

Most cars have airbags now.  I can remember when seatbelts were made mandatory.  Beepers and shovels are required backcountry equipment,  airbags need to be added to the list, now that the technology is here.  The avilung is a terrific piece of safety equipment, as well.

I would like to see this as a law, rule and/or agreement of use of lifts on all ski areas with great backcountry that is easily accessible from the top of the lifts.  You can't fix stupid.  That's what rules and laws are for.

I would like to see airbags worn on back country snowsled riders as well, as well as folks driving their machines over rivers and lakes with thin ice conditions. There are too many deaths from avalanches, airbags can't prevent being clobbered by giant snow blocks, or being bashed by trees and cliffs, but it would give an edge and increase the odds of survival.

post #125 of 149

Wow, that's way over the top. Even if airbags were affordable and not like $800 +, why's it the resort's/government's responsibility to police skiers? And how do you enforce that anyway? You want the resort to pay to have patrollers standing around at the gates doing nothing but checking a handful of sidecountry skiers all day? If you're leaving their boundaries, safety is up to you.

post #126 of 149

I had a chance to discuss the airbags with Brad Karafil at White Grizzly.  He has 2 issues.

1) Staying on the surface may increase your speed when caught in an avalanche.  Since White Grizzly's terrain is mostly trees Brad would like to see the results of a study about whether the bags increase speed.

2) Backcountry guides (who have the most exposure risk IMHO) carry a lot of weight in their packs already in terms of safety and rescue gear.  Brad would like to see weight reduced and a good ergonomic design for professional guides to use.

post #127 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by winni View Post

Most cars have airbags now.  I can remember when seatbelts were made mandatory.  Beepers and shovels are required backcountry equipment,  airbags need to be added to the list, now that the technology is here.  The avilung is a terrific piece of safety equipment, as well.

I would like to see this as a law, rule and/or agreement of use of lifts on all ski areas with great backcountry that is easily accessible from the top of the lifts.  You can't fix stupid.  That's what rules and laws are for.

I would like to see airbags worn on back country snowsled riders as well, as well as folks driving their machines over rivers and lakes with thin ice conditions. There are too many deaths from avalanches, airbags can't prevent being clobbered by giant snow blocks, or being bashed by trees and cliffs, but it would give an edge and increase the odds of survival.


You forgot the probe. popcorn.gif

 

post #128 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

...What I am saying is that in the short time I've been around epicski, the percentage of good avy advice offered here is low compared to almost all other aspects of skiing that are posted. It's best to go where the good info is...

This came to mind while I was reading the most recent issue of The Avalanche Review that came in the mail today. Excellent journal, and I recommend that anyone reading this thread subscribe:
http://www.americanavalancheassociation.org/publications.php

Anyway, there is an article titled "Enhanced Avalanche Survival from Airbag Packs: Why Can We Learn from the Data?" It's written by Jonathan Shefftz who posts here on occasion. It points out that avy airbag data can be confusing, but (simplified somewhat) that there is an increased survival rate among airbag users. There is acknowledgement of the possibility of risk homeostasis, etc, etc.

It led me to this quote from Dale Atkins, a respected avalanche forecaster. There's a lot more to it than this one idea, and the article is very supportive of the concept that avy airbags save a significant number of lives:
Quote:
I posed the following question at the National Avalanche School: Say we had a group of 100 people killed in avalanches. If we were able to go back in time and equip each one with an airbag, how many of those lives would airbags save? The majority of people thought 30 to 50-plus lives would have been saved with airbags. This is a dangerous perception because airbags only give a slight edge to survive, but that is good enough for me. In fact, I have owned and used airbags since the mid 1990s.

When you’re able to deploy an airbag it’s really quite remarkable how well they do in preventing burials and reducing mortality, but there’s still a significant number of people that get killed with airbags. The fact is that airbags are really only going to save three additional people out of 100. That’s not really exciting news unless you’re one of those three people.

They look at this list of avalanche records of airbag use for 20 some years, and really it’s quite remarkable for people that were able to deploy the airbag and it worked very well. The mortality rate was only three percent, but what they do is take that number from those that successfully deployed airbags. From 1990 to 2010, there were 262 that successfully deployed airbags and of those, seven people were killed. However, there are another 33 people that had airbags that did not, or could not, deploy, either because things happened too fast and they were tumbling around, or because of a technical malfunction. When you look at those people, quite a few of them died. Of 24 human failures, eight died, and of nine malfunctions, two died.

These numbers don’t tell of the five or six people that were killed last winter that had airbags. I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer, I just want people to have a more realistic awareness of what they can do.

All forms of technology, people overrate, and that’s very true when it comes to airbags.

The best thing to do, and it’s been the message for decades, is don’t get caught in the first place, which is also way easier said than done.

Subscribe to TAR, or wait until the full current edition is available on-line. It's got better info than you're likely to find on epic.
post #129 of 149
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

It led me to this quote from Dale Atkins, a respected avalanche forecaster. There's a lot more to it than this one idea, and the article is very supportive of the concept that avy airbags save a significant number of lives:


Quote:

The fact is that airbags are really only going to save three additional people out of 100. That’s not really exciting news unless you’re one of those three people.
[...]
From 1990 to 2010, there were 262 that successfully deployed airbags and of those, seven people were killed. However, there are another 33 people that had airbags that did not, or could not, deploy, either because things happened too fast and they were tumbling around, or because of a technical malfunction. When you look at those people, quite a few of them died. Of 24 human failures, eight died, and of nine malfunctions, two died.


I'd be interested in reading more, to understand how they came to the 3 out of 100 conclusion.  Given that only 2.6% of people who deployed an airbag died, and 30% of people who failed to deploy their airbag died, it certainly seems that more than 3 additional people should be saved.  I assume that there's additional data or assumptions being taken into consideration that are included in that quote?  I don't know, but I'm curious.  Especially given your comment preceding the quote, there must be more to it that I'm not getting.

post #130 of 149

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

I'd be interested in reading more, to understand how they came to the 3 out of 100 conclusion.  Given that only 2.6% of people who deployed an airbag died, and 30% of people who failed to deploy their airbag died, it certainly seems that more than 3 additional people should be saved.  I assume that there's additional data or assumptions being taken into consideration that are included in that quote?  I don't know, but I'm curious.  Especially given your comment preceding the quote, there must be more to it that I'm not getting.


Yeah, the article that I referenced in The Avalanche Review discusses just how confusing the data is in avy airbags, but it works through it to say that it pretty clearly shows that the airbags won't save everyone but they can save a significant number of people, and have.  The article addresses that "3 out of 100" figure but without the chart in the article and the long explanation that I'm not willing to re-type the best I can do is say that "3 out of 100" is misleading on the face of it, and most importantly there is another set of data that shows a much, much higher rate.  Maybe Jonathan Shefftz will pick up on this discussion and chime in.  

 

The Avalanche Review is (I think) subscription only during the season, then you can read them online after the season:

http://www.americanavalancheassociation.org/publications.php 

 

 

post #131 of 149

Yeah, I know it can't be enforced. And skiing with a well equipped buddy can't be monitored either.    Neither can wearing helmets. Most folks would rather put the money into adding a pair of skis to their quiver, than buy an airbag.  However, if the airbags and the avilung were rentable, and there was lots of signage about it, that would be a good start.  Beepers, probes and shovels, can be rented.  Yes, I was over the top saying it should be a law. It can only be made a recommendation with lots of caution signs at back country entry signs. 

post #132 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

Wow, that's way over the top. Even if airbags were affordable and not like $800 +, why's it the resort's/government's responsibility to police skiers? And how do you enforce that anyway? You want the resort to pay to have patrollers standing around at the gates doing nothing but checking a handful of sidecountry skiers all day? If you're leaving their boundaries, safety is up to you.


I hear what you are saying regarding making them mandatory but I think the not affordable argument is dubious.  Yes, they aren't cheap but the same people who say they can't afford them tend to have a lot of other expensive gear.  A bunch of different skis in the quiver.  A collection of Arc'teryx jackets, etc.  It is a matter of priority not affordability.

post #133 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by winni View Post

Yeah, I know it can't be enforced. And skiing with a well equipped buddy can't be monitored either.    Neither can wearing helmets. Most folks would rather put the money into adding a pair of skis to their quiver, than buy an airbag.  However, if the airbags and the avilung were rentable, and there was lots of signage about it, that would be a good start.  Beepers, probes and shovels, can be rented.  Yes, I was over the top saying it should be a law. It can only be made a recommendation with lots of caution signs at back country entry signs. 


Renting things like a probe, shovel, and beacon doesn't help much with the prerequisite frequent practice. 

 

post #134 of 149

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Renting things like a probe, shovel, and beacon doesn't help much with the prerequisite frequent practice. 

 

Good point, and pertinent because using an airbag effectively would seem to require a certain amount of familiarity.  The manufacturers that I've seen recommend popping one off for practice before you take it out.  
 

 

post #135 of 149

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post


I'd be interested in reading more, to understand how they came to the 3 out of 100 conclusion.  Given that only 2.6% of people who deployed an airbag died, and 30% of people who failed to deploy their airbag died, it certainly seems that more than 3 additional people should be saved.  I assume that there's additional data or assumptions being taken into consideration that are included in that quote?  I don't know, but I'm curious.  Especially given your comment preceding the quote, there must be more to it that I'm not getting.

 

Look at users, not successful deployers.  That's where you're losing the math.  And, adjusting for the inevitable increase in risky behavior, you likely get to roughly a wash for any total increase in safety at the user-group level. 

 

It again does not mean that for an individual they can't increase that individual's safety, and certainly at the user group level some random individuals will be saved by them, but it's important to also remember the people who expect a real chance of a slide and take the risk because they are "geared up" and then die.  In terms of deploying one effectively, I think most people have an idea that they'll set off a smallish slab and initially get 2ish seconds of either skiing on the slab before they lose their feet, if they can't ski off entirely, or at least a couple of seconds of sort of hip checking.  Getting hit by a large slab from above, immediately knocked down, and carried over a rocky spine into trees, is not what people think they're signing up for. 

post #136 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

Look at users, not successful deployers.  That's where you're losing the math.

 

I don't think you're right, unless I misunderstand what you're saying.  Care to explain further?  Bob even states, in response to my question:

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

[...] the best I can do is say that "3 out of 100" is misleading on the face of it, and most importantly there is another set of data that shows a much, much higher rate.

 

post #137 of 149

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

 

I don't think you're right, unless I misunderstand what you're saying.  Care to explain further?  Bob even states, in response to my question:

 

 

 

 

I'm suggesting you look at the actual math.  http://www.nsp-pnwd.org/Avalanche/17_RescueTechnology.pdf  "...airbags are only marginally more effective at saving lives..."  What you are not getting is the basic math.  The basic math is in conflict with PC assumptions.  Gear is not a cure-all.  It is what it is. 

 

 

 

 

post #138 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

 

I don't think you're right, unless I misunderstand what you're saying.  Care to explain further?  Bob even states, in response to my question:

 

 

 

 

I'm suggesting you look at the actual math.  http://www.nsp-pnwd.org/Avalanche/17_RescueTechnology.pdf  "...airbags are only marginally more effective at saving lives..."  What you are not getting is the basic math.  The basic math is in conflict with PC assumptions.  Gear is not a cure-all.  It is what it is. 

 

 

 

 

You should try to find and read the TAR article that I referenced above - it speaks directly to that document you referenced and how Atkins conclusions underrepresent the actual survival rate.
post #139 of 149

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post


You should try to find and read the TAR article that I referenced above - it speaks directly to that document you referenced and how Atkins conclusions underrepresent the actual survival rate.

 

http://www.wildsnow.com/3736/airbag-overview/

 

Here's a good, available online, very recent discussion, including by extensive contributions by Shefftz again giving a thorough presentation of data, including a good discussion at the end of risk homeostasis.  Again, the math does not indicate much benefit.  It's pretty clear that they give you a huge edge up in avoiding burial, if successfully deployed.  What's not clear is whether that gives you much benefit overall.  It looks like there may be some slight benefit at least, but because of people taking greater risks because of these packs, there needs to be a large benefit for the packs to actually increase safety in the aggregate.  Group results don't apply to individuals, and risk homeostasis isn't inevitable at the individual level, but at the group level it pretty much is. 

 

View it as similar to modern dynamic climbing ropes.  Great gear, that still leaves safety up to individual decisions.  Am I more likely to die bouldering without a rope, or slab climbing while attached to a very high-tech safety device that may not help me because of my decision to climb slab? 

 

 

 

post #140 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post


You should try to find and read the TAR article that I referenced above - it speaks directly to that document you referenced and how Atkins conclusions underrepresent the actual survival rate.

 

http://www.wildsnow.com/3736/airbag-overview/

 

Here's a good, available online, very recent discussion, including by extensive contributions by Shefftz again giving a thorough presentation of data, including a good discussion at the end of risk homeostasis.  Again, the math does not indicate much benefit.  It's pretty clear that they give you a huge edge up in avoiding burial, if successfully deployed.  What's not clear is whether that gives you much benefit overall.  It looks like there may be some slight benefit at least, but because of people taking greater risks because of these packs, there needs to be a large benefit for the packs to actually increase safety in the aggregate.  Group results don't apply to individuals, and risk homeostasis isn't inevitable at the individual level, but at the group level it pretty much is. 

 

View it as similar to modern dynamic climbing ropes.  Great gear, that still leaves safety up to individual decisions.  Am I more likely to die bouldering without a rope, or slab climbing while attached to a very high-tech safety device that may not help me because of my decision to climb slab? 

 

 

 

I can see where this could go the way of helmet threads.
post #141 of 149

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post


I can see where this could go the way of helmet threads.

 

Very similar.  The difference is that very few people on here ski BC on a self-sufficient basis, so for most people it's a moot point anyway.  Also, it is interesting to see Shefftz getting attacked in the WildSnow thread for not being enthusiastic enough as to the likely benefits of airbags.  Device PCness does seem able to spread from helmets to other gear.  That thread also exercises considerable discretion in discussing recent facts that point to risk homeostasis.  Discretion is not a bad thing, but it is inevitable that there will then be voices playing down the phenomenon. 

post #142 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

Device PCness does seem able to spread from helmets to other gear.  That thread also exercises considerable discretion in discussing recent facts that point to risk homeostasis.  Discretion is not a bad thing, but it is inevitable that there will then be voices playing down the phenomenon. 

Just look at the name of this thread.
post #143 of 149

Only thing that will keep me from using one, is the hassle of flying commercially with one?

post #144 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

Only thing that will keep me from using one, is the hassle of flying commercially with one?

Shouldn't be a problem: http://www.wildsnow.com/3736/airbag-overview/

Scroll down to air travel.
post #145 of 149

good article!  I see it was written in 2010. I am interested in knowing if any other manufacturers have a adopted the air container system that is used in the ABS/snowpulse systems to avoid the issue with the TSA. As we all know you never know what kind of agent you are going to get and which rules they are going to enforce that day.  

post #146 of 149

I've been Cat assisted snowboarding for 8 days in my life. In December 2013 on my 8th day of cat boarding in my life a guy from Europe was buried above his neck by a slide. Judging by his standing position and where his ejected ski was found about 2 feet below the bottom of his leg I would say that the airbag pulled him up and prevented his head from being buried. Even without the airbag he probably would have lived but he probably wouldn't have skied the rest of the day. I would say that the guide in this case was was not making conservative decisions. He was skiing where he wanted to ski and was not taking into consideration the size of the group and the width of the actual chute. Only the first 3 guys would have got a good line. He should have dug a quick pit as this slope was IMO not comparable to where there visible pits were dug. Damn surface hoar. I will certainly be getting an ABS pack next time I go out in the back country.

post #147 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post


Shouldn't be a problem: http://www.wildsnow.com/3736/airbag-overview/

Scroll down to air travel.


 Ok, I should have said getting my cannister filled after flying commercially.  Most of my trips are short and burning a day trying to get it filled in remote areas is an issue. 

Even in Aspen, were the local BC club has a deal with the fire department, it's not like you can just walk in anytime and get it filled.  Plus there's no standard fill system at this point.

 

Some of the self filling prototypes look promising, but for now I just use mine at home.

post #148 of 149

White Grizzly Cat Skiing has used Mammut SnowPulse PAS packs since December 2013 (35 and 45 litre Pro packs for guides, and 22 litre packs are supplied free of charge to all guests.)

post #149 of 149

Interesting post above.  In 2012 White Grizzly was on the fence whether airbags would be a net positive in their primarily tree skiing terrain. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Why WOULDN'T you wear an Airbag when heli or cat skiing?