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Getting ready for next winter...

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Not to start another debate similar to the one about helmets in the general skiing section but..

This past winter has become regional law in one Italian region (I've heard that in Switzerland that's been law for quite a while) precisely the Piedmont (Piemonte) a text which mandates compulsory carrying of the APS

(Italian acronym for  Arva Pala Sonda, Arva=Beacon, Pala= Shovel, Sonda=Probe) equipment when skiing off-piste/freeriding...The law dates Jan 14th, 2009...

Link for those of you which know the language..



While hardly brand new, dating January, this opens up an entire array of possibilities to discuss...

0) Agreeing that anyone serious about freeriding/AT in the backcountry has already the equipment and consider

    carrying it compulsory without the need of a law

1)Since it's a regional law, it has no value outside the regional boundaries, so, it is not "law" in the other Italian regions (Valle d'Aosta, Lombardia, Trentino-AltoAdige, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia just to name the regions on the Alpine arc)

2)Often, one region acts as a pathfinder for all the others and/or for a national law

3)If the above were to become true and I see no reason not to, given the mediatic campaing about "La montagna assassina" (the killing mountain) that every winter is being held, consider that the text mentions

"off piste" (let me rimind to the reader  that the term "off piste" here identifies anything which is not groomed)


What troubles me most it point 3...already I've read (in another nl forum) that policemen in one resort placed themselves at the "exit" of the most known offpistes (ski routes) and were inspecting people for the proper equipment....

If official will start to apply the law verbatim we could end up in a situation where to ski the Canalone in Madesimo (and its variants) which would be considered in-bound according to the american "system" but it is off-piste here, one will need to carry the full APS set or risk sanctioning...


So, what am I doing? Get ready.

Of course I'll built up the equipment once again.

 I've started off buying a shovel, light enough (an "entry" level ortovox model made of lexan...palstic, weight is an issue for me,  more than for others and for the offpiste I'll be doing, it'll be more than enough) besides, it'll come handy while driving in winter (I plan to keep it aboard my car the whole season, just in case of need, I remember readying a thread here about it)

Next on the list is the probe...240 or 320 ?

I'll let last he beacon. hoping in a Christmas present, but which model should I look for? Ortovox again (e.g. S1)? 

I took avalanche safety courses back in the late '80, when beacons where still relatively new and clumsy to operate, but I still have memories of that course,  I guess a refresh won't do any harm...

What else?


post #2 of 3

What about a good backpack?


As for beeps, I'm not an expert, but they are very expensive pieces of kit. I have trained on and used (but not in earnest) Ortovox transceivers. They seem fine to me, if you know how to use them, but obviously not the fastest if you are trying to minimize search on multiple burials (but there's no excuse for that: you should be skiing risky slopes one at a time.) I saw a web advert for Ortovoxes at 219E. That seems like a good price to me for someone who isn't a mountain guide or ski patroller.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Well, my Boblbee, albeit a bit heavy, is good enough as backprotector and to carry stuff.

That's why I'm looking to save as much weight as possible on other stuff (plastic shovel...)...

But I'm eyeing a Black Diamond ("bandit" is  the model name I think) with integrated avalung... at about 130€ seems good, no?

I was talking to a colleague yesterday (who's also a well renownd mountain guide here) and was discounting both of my choices, especially about the shovel.

I've read extensively and agree that a plastic shovel might not be the best choice when it comes to dig uot people form an avalance...but, hey, it's a starting point for me, and if things go the way I think, I will never venture

to real AT / skin-land terrain, but stick to "inbound" (as in "lift serviced terrain") off-piste.

My colleague also, discounts the avalung on ground that if one is caught by surprise by an avalanche, there will be not enough time (despite how good one's reflexes might be...) to take it and put it into the mouth.

He's been caught twice in an avalanche and says that only in one he might have had time and was in a position (floating on top of it, face turned upwards and with arms "free" enough to "work"), on the second one...he stil, thanks his beacon. Operative instruction about avalung says that one should be ready beforehand, before crossing avalanche prone terrain, so, I don't really buy that "not time enough to get ready". Of course this also implies be very knowledgeable about the type of terrains and how one should plan a route.

As for the beacon, I recommends the Barryvox pulse (sold here in europe by Mammut) which cost is about

350€ (mrsp on mammut website...)...

For this one, I see no reason to save money as it might well save life (mine) or others...So I'm already campaigning for a Christmas gift wish list...



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