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ABS Avalanche Airbags now more popular?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

intend to buy a ABS Avalanche Airbagsystem. Seems to be more popular now in the Alps/Europe. Enjoy more and more back-country skiing and this equipment seems to offer more security to survive an avalanche they tell at their web-site.

Does anybody of you have experience on this or kind of thought about this as well and has some pros and cons?

post #2 of 7
Do these things actually float you to the top of an avalanche? or is it just something that may happen, because they have quite the hefty price tag.
post #3 of 7
There have been a lot of studies on these things and they are effective in floating objects (skiers / snowmobiles) to the top. They do not prevent the trauma deaths that claim 30% of victims and are not a guarentee against burial, but seem to significantly reduce the risk If it is inflated and if it stays on. My biggest uncertainty is the effectiveness when the ABS pack is being used to carry skis up the hill when the victim is caught. Some very good threads on this subject last year on TGR, and a number of prototype packs were provided to skiers there. The designs and air cartridges will mature and become better and lighter. Still not a substitute for good judgment, but if you can afford it, it seems to further stack the odds in your favor.
post #4 of 7
studies have shown that objects which have a higher volume to mass ratio tend to stay near the surface of an avalanche

so a bowling ball is going to sink and your favorite blow-up doll is going to float ...thank god!
post #5 of 7
I have had an ABS pack for about 5 years. It is a little on the heavy side, but high quality (Dynafit) & skis very comfortably.

My skis mount vertically on the back & do not block the side pockets where the bags deploy, so I do not think this would be a problem.

I have never met anyone else in the U.S. that has one, but I did ski with some Canadians outside of Kicking Horse last season who did.

They are widely used in the Alps. I have a friend who owns a guiding company in Val Desiere. He requires all his guides to use them & recommends them to his clients as well. He believes they save lives.

post #6 of 7

The ultimate pack?

I am looking for a solution to install a ABS avalanche system on my pack. I have an ABS Escape 30. The carrying system is uncomfortable. The ski straps are to small for my big bros. So I would rather use my BD
pack. Do you have any experience of modifying the ABS backpack? Or combining backpacks?”
post #7 of 7
I looked at couple different models at the ISSW conference last year. I tink that they will work to keep you floating higher and will reduce the chances of burial. I particuarlly liked the type that had a bag deploy on either side of the pack. I like symetry and I feel like they may help prevent trauma. I would have to say that the best strategy for surviving an avalanche is avoidance through good decision making. Be carefull that devices like avalungs, airbags, and helmets don't cause you to take bigger risks! I think that trying to modify a pack or building your own system is your right and many inovations have come from this type experimentation. I don't advise it tough.
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