Avalanches have always been a big threat to skiers and snowboarders and this has brought more attention to the business of avalanche safety.
People in search of powder regardless of the danger are pushing brands and designers to come up with better technology and solution to improve safety during avalanches.
The biggest trend in avalanche safety is the use of airbags. Avalanche airbags are all the rage amongst skiers and riders right now. Most patrollers on ski resorts are using an airbag and statistics have shown the success for the use of airbags. According to Bruce Temper, author of the book ‘Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain’,
Avalanche airbags save about 1/2 of those who would have died
Many skiers and snowboarders now consider it one of the most important parts of their snow gear.
Below are some of the best avalanche airbags on the market.
The North Face Modulator
The first ever avalanche airbag system that converts any type of backpack into a lifesaving ABS avy airbag pack. Two rectangular side pods house the airbag system and the nitrogen canister. Users can easily attach the pod’s harness system onto a backpack with shoulder straps and set up the pneumatic trigger on either the right or left side.
Black Diamond Halo 28
The Black Diamond Jet force technology uses a rechargeable lithium battery and a blower to inflate the overhead pillow. Users can deploy the bag up to 4 times on a single charge and not worry about refilling the canisters. The Halo 28 come with an easy access back panel opening, tuck away helmet holder and internal accessory pockets.
Deuter OnTop ABS 30
Deuter’s OnTop ABS 30 comes with special compression straps for mounting snowboard/snowshoes and skis on the front. In addition skis can also be adjusted diagonally with the adjustable bottom strap. The vertical straps allow users to carry ski or snowboard without interfering with the deployment of the twin airbags. Other features include spacious compartments and reinforced safety gear front. It is available in four sizes and the SL models specifically adapts to the female anatomy.
Osprey Kode ABS 42
The Kode ABS 42 feature two separate quick access compartment, one for wet gear such as shovel blade, handle, probe etc and one for dry gear like extra clothing, headgear, camera etc. It also features a built in anti-scratch pouch for goggles. The removable back panel allows users to zip off the ABS airbag system in a few seconds, making the backpack lighter instantly. Users can carry their skis on either side or diagonally or a snowboard vertically.
Mammut Alyeska Airbag Protection Vest
The Alyeska airbag protection vest features a 150 litre single chamber that wraps around the users head and torso offering maximum protection. The proprietary canister is slightly larger and more complicated to arm compared to other systems, however, it can be refilled at any scuba or paintball store.
The airbag system is designed for trauma protection, head on top and removable. Other features include flexible full-contact back system with good ventilation, 2 side compression straps, internal compartment for avalanche safety equipment, fully zipped access into the main compartment from the back, 2 front zipper pockets, diagonal, stowable ski attachment and zipped inner compartment with key clip.
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