More Avalanche Geekery: Helmet-Cam Footage of an Airbag Deployment

Many of you have put on the summer coat and buried your boards in the garage…but for the fully geeked-out amongst us, rejoice: more avalanche discussion and even some helmet-cam footage!

My buddies over at Backcountry Access devoted their latest blog to a near-miss avalanche in Alaska this past week. The skier wore a helmet cam and the footage shows him making turns, then crashing and become entrained in the avalanche as it begins, going under before coming back up and ending on top of the debris. You don’t actually see the deployment, but the snow turns an orange color once the bladder is inflated. (The BCA Float packs rely on a 150-liter, yellow/orange bladder for flotation.)

Give a look and see what you think. Granted, we ski below treeline quite a bit in Colorado (making trauma a greater cause of avalanches), but nevertheless, an airbag mitigates a large percentage of the most deadly phenomenon in most avalanches: asphyxiation due to burial. With a garage full of skis, money for carbon probes, cash for gas, and the works…why aren’t we all shucking our hard-earned dough for an ABS pack?

BCA offers the least expensive one, but if for some reason you don’t jive on theirs…Mystery Ranch, ABS, and Snowpulse all offer quality models, based on similar–though by no means identical–designs. I’ll get in a few tours on a BCA Float this spring…and I gotta say, next year I’m betting I’ll buy one.

You too?

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