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...