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Received this announcement from Life-Link, looks intersting...

Jackson Hole, Wyoming- Life-Link will distribute the ABS (air bag system) backpack in North America beginning this winter. " The ABS system is the only tool backcountry travelers have to actively prevent themselves from burial in an avalanche. The question is would you rather be on top or on the bottom?" says John Scott, Vice President of Life-Link International. With the growing popularity of backcountry winter sports and an increase in avalanche fatalities over the past few winters, this system is sure to attract those who want to and / or need to travel in avalanche prone areas, yet remain as safe as possible from the risk of being buried.

The ABS backpack is designed to keep the skier above the surface during an avalanche by increasing the volume and surface area to help "float" the victim to the surface during the avalanche and as the snow settles. The airbags stow conveniently in the backpack until the trigger handle on the shoulder strap is pulled. Within 2-2.5 seconds the Nitrogen-air cartridge is activated, deploying two, 75 liter, air bags out of the sides of the pack. The system can be reused over and over by simply folding the air bags back up into their backpack pockets, inserting a new cartridge of Nitrogen Air, and replacing the Trigger handle (the cartridge and handle come as a package).
Approximately 2/3rds of buried avalanche victims are recovered dead while statistics have shown that 90% of non-buried victims survive avalanches*. There have been over 30 documented cases in Europe where the ABS backpack has saved lives. Only time will tell if the ABS system is as popular in the U.S. as it is in Europe. With the growth of backcountry powder skiing taking off across the country, many skiers and snowboarders will be investigating this new avalanche safety tool and stacking the odds, as high as they can, in their favor.

*Statistics provided by ABS Lawinen Airbag System reports #