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Best Avi Bag for Ski touring

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@GeorgeVII, I use a Mammut 30l light bag which does the job and is incredibly light compared with my old Snowpulse bag
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Arno wrote:
The best way for most people to speed up on the uphill is to reduce stops/faff rather than obsess about every last gram in their pack


@Arno, I wonder if I can post that gif of you on our recent La Grave tour... Toofy Grin
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@horizon, an excellent example of not faffing Laughing
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@Arno,
Quote:

is incredibly light compared with my old Snowpulse bag


I'm familiar with these. Like lugging a dead body around on your back Laughing Laughing
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
How heavy was the old snowpulse?

Looks like for around 30 to 40 litres the total system weight varries from approx. 2 kg to 3.2 kg.
https://skitourguru.com/en/equipment/category/5-avalanche-airbags

Wonder how many will not buy an airbag because of the additional weight but then do a multi-day tour on super wide skis with shift bindings.
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@DB, not sure but it felt like @GeorgeVII's dead body to pick up! Once it was on your shoulders it didn't feel too bad though.
The 20l ultralight bag is too small for proper touring but it's great for lift served off piste and big enough to take your skins if you want flexibility to take a quick tour to access the goods
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Here's the first Snowpulse I came across in the wild:


They felt big and stiff when you put them on, and the harness was a faff. The back length was very long.
In use you didn't really notice them though, although I'm sure you would have if you'd been hiking for your turns).
The lightest Mammut with a Carbon cylinder is pretty much like a standard shovel pack. Probably not as robust, but then I don't sack haul with these.

Here's the same bag in action. Mike's a big boy and his board was a monster, although he's from Hawaii hence the surf style.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
DB wrote:
Mother hucker wrote:
DB wrote:
Daleskier wrote:
Airbags too heavy and complicated for ski touring.............


As complicated as pulling the chain on an old toilet to flush it and only an addition 1.3 kg for something that could save your life. I've lost over double that amount getting fit for the winter - bring it on. NehNeh


1.3kg 5 day hut to a hut tour is a lot of expanded energy. I'd be kind of hoping the high alpine guide would know a bit about avi dangers and avoidance and not place me in danger.


Even experienced guides get hit by avalanches. They offer risk avoidance not risk elimination.
There's nothing or no one in this world that can tell you where the avalanche risk is on exactly every point of the terrain. There could be one unexpected trigger point that even someone with vast experience may hit.


An airbag does not eliminate risk, they just simply help you stay on top as things slow down. It won’t stop you having your legs broken as you go or being stabbed by tree roots sticking out or being killed by the cliff you get swept over.
Most folk tend to go touring when the snow conditions are less favourable ie non powder days. An airbag isn’t going to stop you being knocked unconscious by lumps of snowcrete or ice .
An airbag is for powder days in uncontrollable terrain which best avoided anyway and jumping out of a heli
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An airbag is also a good idea when you are skiing off piste on your own, and I wouldn’t really recommend that either.
If your going out with a guide any decent one will kit you out with one if they really feel you need it
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Daleskier, do you wear a transceiver when ski touring?
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
BobinCH wrote:
@Daleskier, do you wear a transceiver when ski touring?


Yes, along with a probe and shovel. They are the basic tools for rescuing somebody else if they are buried in an avalanche. I dont carry a transceiver with the idea that it is going to save me. My effort goes into avoiding the avalanche in the first place.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Daleskier wrote:
An airbag does not eliminate risk, they just simply help you stay on top as things slow down. It won’t stop you having your legs broken as you go or being stabbed by tree roots sticking out or being killed by the cliff you get swept over.
Most folk tend to go touring when the snow conditions are less favourable ie non powder days. An airbag isn’t going to stop you being knocked unconscious by lumps of snowcrete or ice .
An airbag is for powder days in uncontrollable terrain which best avoided anyway and jumping out of a heli


Never said an airbag does eliminate all risk - nothing does, but in the right conditions it can help.


http://youtube.com/v/hR7aAfuAOOQ

Broken bones and cuts heal, when you stop breathing for a long time there's no cure for that.

Living in Austria I get to choose which weekends I go ski touring. If there is masses of power I'll go freeskiing in the little resorts. After everything is tracked out and if the snow is still good days later then I'll go ski touring. I'm often ski touring in terrain where if an avalanche did occur an airbag should help.

Not interested in heli jumps, would rather earn my turns and spend my money on safety equipment and avalanche training courses.

Where we do agree is that avoidance is everything, that's why I follow the avalanche reports all season for the area I normally ski tour and for weeks before I'm going to tour in another area. Also have numerous ski touring guides with the avalanche danger clearly marked and choose the route depending on snow conditions and avalanche risk.


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Tue 17-11-20 8:20; edited 1 time in total
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Daleskier wrote:
An airbag is also a good idea when you are skiing off piste on your own, and I wouldn’t really recommend that either.
If your going out with a guide any decent one will kit you out with one if they really feel you need it


Yes I always try to go ski touring in a group or do a very low avalanche risk tour. If the snow is right (powder day) I will sometimes take a day off work and ski alone offpiste but only in full view of the lifts and only on flatter terrain (under 30 Deg), even then I'll hook up with others especially if I see another skier / boarder alone offpiste.
Tend to only use guides for glacier terrain (e.g. 3000 and 4000er's in Austria and Switzerland) tours up to 3000m altitude I will do with friends, sometimes I will lead the group. As mentioned earlier, many rucksacks/airbags don't fit me well so I don't want a guide to kit me out with whatever they have in the hire shop. I want my own airbag that I can set up for me and get used to (another advantage of the scott bag is you can adjust the position of the "pull thingy" to suit the size of the rider).
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
On the subject of guides kitting skiers out with airbags there is one major problem in that the skier/boarder needs to be completely dialled in to where the handle is on the shoulder strap, and the action of pulling it should be reflex. This is not possible if your guide has equipped you with a bag you don't know (or different to on you have previously used before). There is also a considerable cost implication (which will obviously be passed on to the clients) in terms of purchasing, maintaining and servicing the airbags.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
On that first point there is a video somewhere out on the net of a base jumper falling past the camera repeatedly grabbing for the pilot chute and not finding it - they were on a borrowed rig which had the chute located in a slightly different location...
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Ultimately there is no right or wrong answer.
I've got a Norrona loften 30(quality is amazing as one would expect with Norrona) RAS bag loads of features, some pointless in my view & a mammut ultralight bag which I claimed to buy for my wife. Thats a super little bag however it is fraying around the edges though, avi kit extra fleece some gels a baguette and your full with that one. A couple of years ago Spyderjon loaned me his scott bag which I liked a lot but I couldn't get hold of one due to them selling out or I'd have had that over the Norrona.
I'm not going to comment further on where and when I use them though as that's everyone personal choice
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
offpisteskiing wrote:
On the subject of guides kitting skiers out with airbags there is one major problem in that the skier/boarder needs to be completely dialled in to where the handle is on the shoulder strap, and the action of pulling it should be reflex. This is not possible if your guide has equipped you with a bag you don't know (or different to on you have previously used before). There is also a considerable cost implication (which will obviously be passed on to the clients) in terms of purchasing, maintaining and servicing the airbags.
Some heli operators kit everyone out and the bags are mandatory. My images above are from Eagle Pass, who operated that way.
There is obviously a cost, but the retail price of these has fallen steeply recently and people in the business aren't paying retail.

I'm not really in favour of operator-provided bags because I like my lightweight Mammut best, and if people choose not
to use a bag, that doesn't affect my risk (unlike if they were to choose not to take other safety gear, which may be needed to rescue me).

Even so, I've never heard of anyone have trouble finding the handles. I don't think that's right.
If you are safe enough to buy a new bag, you're safe enough to use a new bag lent to you.
To me, the main difference in practice is how you stow the handle, not where it is or how you pull
it - they are all right where I expect them to be, and I do check each run.

It's a bit like transceivers - they're all different, but all the same.
And often provided on a loan basis, with a tiny bit of specific training.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@philwig,

Regarding pulling the avi bag handle, I' not so sure. If lucky we might get an acoustic or even a visible warning of the avalanche but suspect in many cases by the time the rider realises they are in an avalanche they have been hit by it and can only see white. They could well be tumbling over and over in the snow. There have been cases of people dying in avalanches with an airbag that they have not been able to release, this may be down to them not being able to locate the handle. Often on the chairlift or just before dropping into a descent I'll close my eyes and go for the handle as quickly as I can as a way of training so that even in a white out I can locate it.

Transcievers are even more work to get used to although they are getting easier to use. The first avi course I did around 16 years ago, three of us had bought all the kit. Shovel, probe & the latest and greatest transceiver available. A rucksack was buried under the snow and we were all put through an avi search test. One guy offered to go first. He pulled out an ancient Ortovox transceiver which only appeared to work with an acoustic sound (no display). We laughed at his contraption. He located the rucksack very quickly whereas we were still all flapping around in the snow 30 mins later.

Shovels - I'd bought the avi gear all together so while the transceiver was good the other two items were cheap. My first shovel was plastic, the first test was like trying to cut frozen fruit with a plastic knife. Quickly replaced with a metal one. I also learned later that there are specific techniques for shoveling snow both for a single rescuer and in a group.

Probe - The first time I had to use my probe under pressure was around 3 years ago on an avi training course. It was like trying to assemble a cheap tent pole. I managed to locate the dummy which was buried under approx 1.8m of compacted snow by a piste bully very quickly. Unfortunately I couldn't get my act together with the probe and someone else in the group probed instead. We still got the dummy out in under 15 mins (the time the chances of survival start to drop rapidly). Again this item was replaced with something more expensive that I can now assemble with the flick of a wrist.
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DB wrote:

Regarding pulling the avi bag handle, I' not so sure. If lucky we might get an acoustic or even a visible warning of the avalanche but suspect in many cases by the time the rider realises they are in an avalanche they have been hit by it and can only see white. They could well be tumbling over and over in the snow. There have been cases of people dying in avalanches with an airbag that they have not been able to release, this may be down to them not being able to locate the handle. Often on the chairlift or just before dropping into a descent I'll close my eyes and go for the handle as quickly as I can as a way of training so that even in a white out I can locate it.


+1 for the whole muscle memory thing. I remembered there's been some research done on this for airplane disasters, so I dug out the below:

"World leading aviation safety expert Professor Ed Galea, of the University of Greenwich, has studied over 2,000 survivor reports and compiled a unique database. "Surviving an aircraft crash is not a matter of fate. You can help yourself getting out of an aircraft quickly, and so there are things you can do to improve your chances of surviving," says Professor Galea. He has discovered what all these survivors were doing that got them off the plane alive and his findings are extraordinary. Time and time again many of the passengers struggled to undo their seatbelts."

"This might sound ridiculous, but it's very serious: Remember how to undo your seat belt. Galea's research has shown that in the heat of the moment, even airline employees have been known to get this wrong.

"Your mind goes almost into autopilot. So when you go to release the seat belt you're not really thinking about that," he says. "And what's your most common experience in undoing a seat belt? Its in your car. And how do you undo your seat belt in your car? You press a button." In a plane, you lift a latch. If you can't undo your seat belt then, you can't evacuate and your chances of survival plummet.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/5402342.stm and https://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=2619382
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
DB wrote:
... Often on the chairlift or just before dropping into a descent I'll close my eyes and go for the handle as quickly as I can as a way of training so that even in a white out I can locate it.
...
Transcievers are even more work to get used to although they are getting easier to use. ... We laughed at his contraption. He located the rucksack very quickly whereas we were still all flapping around in the snow 30 mins later.
<shrug> I've only used bags where the handle sits where I want it to be. There isn't a lot of scope to get that wrong.

I don't ride stuff I think will slide, but things don't always work out as planned.
If I'm scared, I'll ride with my hand on the trigger - easier for snowboarders than skiers.

Transcievers... not quite the same thing. Everyone in a group needs to know how to turn off all the transceivers in use.
The interlocks on transceivers are all different. The Arva5 for example will definitely catch out anyone who isn't told how to turn it off.
The worst-case scenario is you'd rip out the batteries.

I used the Ortovox F1 transceivers from their first 89/90 season. They were a huge step up from the old
Pieps (yellow things with an earpiece). It took Ortovox and others a fair time to improve upon a skilled F1 user, but
that was then and this is now.
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@philwig,
I take your point, once heard of an avalanche just off the side of the piste in St Anton. While a few people were searching spectators turned up at the side of the piste nearby. They couldn't get a signal from the skier who was buried because of the interference from the spectators who were wearing transceivers above. A searcher had to climb back up to the piste and tell people to turn off their transceivers or move on.

If someone is struggling to turn off a transceiver because they are not familiar with it then I can't see them being very successful in locating someone else under an avalanche. In a real life situation I wouldn't like to have to search for someone with a transceiver I had not used before.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
offpisteskiing wrote:
On the subject of guides kitting skiers out with airbags there is one major problem in that the skier/boarder needs to be completely dialled in to where the handle is on the shoulder strap, and the action of pulling it should be reflex. This is not possible if your guide has equipped you with a bag you don't know (or different to on you have previously used before).......

And 10% of the population are lefties like me and, IIRC, all of the gas packs on the market are right hand pull only, or at least they used to be and I've not kept tabs on them for a couple of seasons since the E1 system came out which is ambi.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Avalanche rescue.
One skier two boarders. One boarder not hit by the avalanche. Boarder with airbag only part buried, skier around 1.6 metre under the snow.


http://youtube.com/v/l7Gei33I2yE
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.

http://youtube.com/v/5ZUau1J5vig
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http://youtube.com/v/8p_3u5luQUI
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I finally went for the Mammut pro X 35L (already have Mammut system). 400g more than the Light 30L but with some nice additional features worth losing an extra pound round the waist for
https://www.mammut.com/uk/en/p/2610-01820-0001/pro-x-removable-airbag-30/
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