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Avalanche Airbags

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Avalanche Airbags

Avalanche Airbags

Avalanche airbags are safety devices designed to help skiers and snowboarders stay on top of an avalanche, increasing their chances of survival. Over the years, technology has made great strides in improving avalanche airbags, making them easier to use, more reliable, and more effective in emergency situations. Airbags are now considered an essential piece of equipment for backcountry travel, in addition to: beacons, shovels and probes.

One of the goals of the SENDY team is to make essential life saving technology such as airbags more accessible for those who need it, so no one risks their life unnecessarily.


How does an avalanche airbag pack work?

How to Choose an Avalanche Airbag Pack | evo
If you're wearing an airback pack when caught in a slide, you’ll pull a handle attached to the shoulder strap and a pressurized cartridge or electric fan inflates the airbag, which helps to keep you near the surface of the avalanche and more visible to rescuers. Airbags are designed to increase your chances of staying on or near the surface of an avalanche debris flow, significantly improving your chances of survival. 

Design: one major improvement in avalanche airbags has been in their design. Modern airbags are more compact, lighter, and easier to wear than older models. This makes them more comfortable for skiers and snowboarders to wear, which increases the likelihood that they will carry and use the airbags in an emergency. Additionally, many airbags now feature intuitive user interfaces, making them easier to activate, even under stress.

Performance: another major improvement in avalanche airbags is their performance. Newer airbags are equipped with larger canisters, which provide more lift and keep the skier on top of the avalanche longer. Additionally, many airbags are now equipped with dual airbag systems, which provide additional lift and stability in an emergency. Some airbags even have the ability to re-inflate in the event of a secondary avalanche, providing extra safety and peace of mind.

Auto-trigger: one of the biggest advancements in avalanche airbag technology is the use of airbag systems that are triggered automatically. This is important because many skiers and snowboarders may not have the time or ability to activate their airbags manually in the event of an avalanche. Automatic trigger systems are designed to activate the airbag in an emergency, increasing the chances of survival.

Batteries: improvements in battery technology have also played a significant role in improving avalanche airbags. Modern airbags are equipped with rechargeable batteries, which are more reliable and last longer than older, disposable batteries. This is important because skiers and snowboarders need to be able to rely on their airbags in an emergency, and having a dead battery can be a life-threatening situation.

Skiers, snowboarders and sledders should invest in the latest avalanche airbags to ensure their safety in the backcountry/avalanche-prone areas.


Reputable Avalanche Airbags:

The effectiveness of an avalanche airbag depends on the design, deployment system, and your ability to deploy it in an emergency.

Here are some of the most effective avalanche airbag brands and models known for their reliability:

ABS (Avalanche Balloon System): ABS is one of the pioneering brands in avalanche airbag technology. They offer a range of airbag packs with a dual airbag system, known for providing excellent flotation and helping users stay on top of avalanche debris. The ABS TwinBag system is well-regarded for its reliability and effectiveness.

Mammut: their Snowpulse technology is used to produce high-quality avalanche airbags. These packs are known for their durability and the Snowpulse inflation system's effectiveness. Check out the Mammut Pulse Barryvox and Mammut Light Protection Airbag systems.

Black Diamond: their JetForce Avalanche Airbag System uses a fan-based inflation system. It's known for being rechargeable, making it practical for multiple deployments during a single trip. The system is user-friendly and reliable.

Ortovox: the Ortovox Ascent and Ortovox Diract series are designed for performance and reliability. They use a compressed air cylinder for inflation and are known for their ease of use.

BCA (Backcountry Access): BCA produces a range of avalanche airbags, including the BCA Float series. These airbags use a compressed air cylinder for inflation and are recognized for their affordability and effectiveness in keeping users afloat during avalanches.

Scott Sports: the Scott Alpride system uses a cartridge-free, dual-airbag system. This system is known for being lightweight and easy to use.

Arva: a respected brand in the avalanche safety industry, their Arva Reactor and Arva Access airbag systems are known for their effectiveness in keeping users on the surface during avalanches. Built like a vest, it won't feel like a backpack.

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When choosing an avalanche airbag, consider factors such as your intended use, pack size, weight, and ease of deployment. Remember that having the airbag is just one part of avalanche safety; proper training, avalanche awareness, and decision-making are equally crucial. 


Practice deploying the airbag to ensure you can do it quickly and effectively in a real emergency. Avalanche airbags should complement your overall avalanche safety knowledge and gear, not replace them. Always travel with a group, carry necessary avalanche rescue equipment, and make informed decisions based on current avalanche forecasts and conditions.


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