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Snowpulse Avalanche Airbag?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Ive seen a few vidoes of the avalanche airbag and their quite intriguing. Im planning on skiing all backcountry by laramie next year instead of shelling out for a crappy ski area season pass, im a tad worried about avalanche conditions on some of the slopes and will have a transponder probe and shovel with me and friends but i was wondering if these were very effective. Looks like a great design to me.

post #2 of 12

I saw a program on TV where one of the boutique Helli ski companies were using them. The fact they looked like water wings when deployed pretty much explains their buoyancy objective.

post #3 of 12

I've never actually seen one but I talked with a wealthy person who had used them heli skiing in Europe.  He said they were common and pretty much required over there.  Said research proves their worth in keeping you towards the surface of an avalanche and also provides some impact protection if swept into a solid object.  The guides were careful to explain the disastrous effect of accidently deploying one in a crowded helicopter or snow cat. (Rip cord inflates them). Seems odd that there hasn't been much publicity about them here if they are the good idea they sound like.

post #4 of 12


Originally Posted by tromano View Post

Have you guys heard about the ABS packs that inflate and  prevent burial? 

I have had one for 6 or 7 years.  Mine is the medium/plus size & has room for all the essentials for a days outing.  They make one smaller, but there is not much room for extra stuff.  They also make larger models.  The pack itself is made by Dynafit, very durable, well thought out & well made & skis very well.  The downside is that it is on the heavy side.  It is also a pain to ship the deployment canister anywhere.  The only dependable way to get it anywhere is ground shipping, or making arrangements to pick up a canister at your destination.  When I tried to get one in AK I was surprised that the outfit I skied with had never heard of it.  In Europe they are quite popular & as stated in the link provided by kramgunderson:  Avalanche Airbags ($1000), on the other hand, reduce avalanche mortality rates from about 35% to 1.3%!!!  So they are proven effective.  In my 2 recent trips to interior British Columbia I skied with a number of Canadians who also had ABS packs.  I have never skied with anyone in the US who has one, although I am sure they are around.  There is still no defense against many of the other things that can get you though!

A small selection from my life insurance policy (the BC Tracker is for my less prepared partners if the need arises):

This is the inside of the pack.  The balloons are stored in the yellow striped area.  There are velcroed panels on the sides, like an air bag in your car, they explode out of these panels.  The white thing next to the canister is the hand trigger which is removable to avoid accidental deployment while on the lift or other places where it would create havoc.  The handle attaches to a tube on the shoulder strap of the pack, & the canister is connected in an internal pouch at the top of the pack:


Here is a link to search results for ABS packs:




You could also do a search on the TGR site.


post #5 of 12

I believe the Snowpulse is a newer version of the original ABS system.


post #6 of 12

Here's a North American airbag from BCA (the Float 30) that's getting great reviews and is much less expensive than the European ones: http://www.backcountryaccess.com/airbag

post #7 of 12

Hey just saw this and Like the OP, I am also new to BC and just added an S-1, probe and shovel to the life insuance kit (like that).  This is very interesting as anything that can improve your odds that dramatically seems like a worthy investment in the long run. If anyone has this one another, all info is good. 4ster, thanks for the info and links. i will go over to TGR to search. I am assuming slide zone is best?  Good stuff over there for sure.


Another question:  4ster, I see you have the m2 in your pack. I just got one for training (orto sold me one used for training) is that still a good option to give to others skiing with you so they at least have a way to be found?

post #8 of 12


Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

Another question:  4ster, I see you have the m2 in your pack. I just got one for training (orto sold me one used for training) is that still a good option to give to others skiing with you so they at least have a way to be found?

Sure, they both send the same signal.  I find the BC Tracker has an easier to use search function, so that is usually my loaner.


Disclaimer:  Remember the best way to stay out of an avalanche is being able to evaluate the snowpack, make educated decisions & stay out of potential slide zones.



post #9 of 12

Cool, and your disclaimer is dead on (literally) this is just the last line of protection really.  Good to post that. I think some think a transceiver is a cure-all to avi danger.

post #10 of 12

The movie Ten showed a snowboarder caught in a giant avalanche wearing one.  He lived relatively unharmed-amazing.  


Saw some on skiers last winter out in Lake Tahoe-looked a bit bulky.  


They do add weight and decrease pack space and that is a negative as that would limit them to day tour use.


Still seems like a lot better idea than the avalung.  


I am interested to see how the BCA pack holds up as it drops the price significantly.  


I know the head is the most important thing, but the head says do not ski slopes between 25 and 45 degrees with unconsolidated snow; but the soul says to the head, " do the best job evaluating and keeping me safe, but yippee I am gonna ski me some 25 to 45 degree unconsolidated snow."

post #11 of 12


If it was me, I might be more inclined to loan out my S1 and keep the M2 for myself.  If you are loaning a beacon out, then odds are that the person is not that used to using it.  I have an M2 and feel it works very well, but I also have purchased a second beacon so I can practice.  Getting used to flux lines greatly improves using the M2.  I would think I would want the S1 in my inexperienced partners hand looking for me wearing the M2.  And me with comfort following flux lines on the M2 looking for my partner.


If you are concerned about the M2 you can send it in to Ortovox for service-I believe it is a relatively small fee like $25

post #12 of 12

interesting idea.  I actually bought the m2 from orto direct as a training device (used) but I am sure it works just fine.  I was training with the S1 this weekend. My wife hid the m2 and I tracked it down. The S1 is very inuitive although when she hid it between 2 houses, the signal seemed to be bounced, it took a little practice but I figured out how to interpret the signal and it worked pretty well. Going slow is a big help.  I hope I never have to use it. Until I can get to a course, I found some helpful online vids on TGR.  

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