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airbag ettiquette

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A bit of silly season nonsense.

A few years ago I crossed a guy I know, he was climbing on touring skis with his son following. "I see you have an avalanche backpack now?" I asked, "but not your son?"

"Yeah, I couldn't afford two, so I take it and test ski the slope first then the boy follows me down".

Hmmm, not completely stupid, it is what guides do but personally I would do the opposite. I would test ski the slope without the backpack which I would have given to my son who would follow me down.
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@davidof,

Bruce Tremper (of "staying alive in avalanche terrain" fame) makes the point that in all of his long avalanche experience he estimates that 90% of people who were buried were first down.*
I think that is a compelling reason for the first person to wear the bag.
So you could throw your child down first but then the 90% and the, what, 50% effectiveness of the bag argues against that.

Add in the fact that I hate the idea of my child looking down at avalanche debris and feeling that they are responsible for finding me. I don't think the fact that they will be wearing an ABS while they are faced with that makes it much better!

So I'd go with the approach your friend took.

We have two bags in our cave. If there are more than two in the group we have the bags worn by the first and last person (harder to get back up the mountain to rescue the last person).

That said, I have not yet worn the bags when skiing with my kids, except once when it has been just my son and I and we both had bags. The main reason is that I am ultra cautious on gradient and terrain when skiing with my kids. Any time I was with my children and I felt like fixing the handle would raise the question with me about whether we should ski that slope at all. I suspect that will change as they become adults.

* Tremper amusingly makes the point that he is notorious among his mates for finding that he needs to fiddle with boots or bindings at the top of a field of virgin powder so that someone else gets first tracks.
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davidof wrote:

Hmmm, not completely stupid, it is what guides do but personally I would do the opposite. I would test ski the slope without the backpack which I would have given to my son who would follow me down.


Majority, but not all, avalanches are triggered by first additional load.

However you shouldn't be changing behaviour (i.e testing suspect slopes) because you have air bag. Decision making rather than equipment keeps you alive.

More interestingly :: should children even be in avalanche terrain? (Say Cat 3 / steeper slopes). Ultimately a moral issue based on appetite for risk.
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Interesting and good question. If I went first and was buried, I'd be worried for my life. If, on top of that, I knew that I had just made my kid responsible for saving me and if they were unsuccessful they'd blame themselves for the rest of their life, I'd probably die right then and there of regret. Note I haven't even mentioned airbags yet. The logical and experienced arguments aside, I'd give the one to my kid every time....except I'd have two or not go. But that's just me, I'm not looking down my nose at anybody. I wouldn't let my kids use training wheels when learning to bike and some folks thought I was a criminal!
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I guess it's up to the individual. I'd not deny a safety device to someone I was responsible for, so I'd have two. If I had one, however, the first down gets it for reasons as above.

(Training wheels on bikes are a strange concept as they apparently slow down the learning process.)
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@Haggis_Trap,
Quote:

However you shouldn't be changing behaviour (i.e testing suspect slopes) because you have air bag. Decision making rather than equipment keeps you alive.


It's a good theory but here is the real world challenge

It's a risk 3 day but you've looked at the snow pack, read the avalanche report, looked at the terrain and the 35 degree slope you are looking down should be fine - nothing nasty overhanging it, no weak layer on this elevation, good run out.

But it's a risk 3 day and it's 35 degrees and although you (I) are reasonably competent you are not an avalanche safety professional.

In my world I would not ski that with my kids. I might well ski it with mates but I would be fixing the handle on my ABS. Question is would I ski it I had left my ABS behind? Probably not. Although I'm pretty damn sure the slope is OK I'd prefer to skew the odds a little more with the ABS.

Same situation but slope at 25 degrees probably would ski it with my kids and probably wouldn't fix the ABS handle.

Just out of interest, does anyone take a different approach and fix the ABS handle whenever there is powder?
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@jedster, Yes. If I'm going off piste, I fix the handle before I get on the first lift. I don't see the point in carrying one, and not having it ready to go. Otherwise, I would take the same approach as you in your real world description of risk assessment.
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jedster wrote:
Question is would I ski it I had left my ABS behind? Probably not. Although I'm pretty damn sure the slope is OK I'd prefer to skew the odds a little more with the ABS.


Arguably the ABS making you less safe : by subconsciously increasingly acceptable risk tolerance.

At cat 3 I would probably ski your 35 degree slope too (assuming aspect, terrain, wind loading etc seemed reasonable). However it would be calculated risk which I think is unfair to expose kids too.

Fwiw : I was involved in big avalanche in 2010. Subsequently bought airbag but try really hard to not let it influence behaviour as that is a bad / dangerous habit. If i do pull handle out use that as mental cue to ask myself 'why' / 'reassess risk'.
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jedster wrote:
... Same situation but slope at 25 degrees probably would ski it with my kids and probably wouldn't fix the ABS handle.
Just out of interest, does anyone take a different approach and fix the ABS handle whenever there is powder?

What does "fixing" the handle mean? Arming it, I guess.

If I'm carrying the bag, I have the bag armed on every descents. It's a pain when using helicopters because you have to disarm/ arm
every uplift. A lot of the time if you know the conditions and the runs it's pointless, but I like not to have to think about stuff like this,
it's better to have a routine in my view.

If I'm riding something I don't like (it happens), then I'll ride with my hand on the trigger whilst looking for escape routes etc.
I don't want to have to flail for it if something slides. Overall it feels the same as before airbags. It's a marginal risk reduction for little cost.

In Iceland at the end of the season I carried a bag and didn't arm it, because the snow really really wasn't
going to slide unless someone scraped it off with a shovel and pushed it down.
It just felt silly, like arming it in a snow dome wink
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jedster wrote:


Same situation but slope at 25 degrees probably would ski it with my kids and probably wouldn't fix the ABS handle.

Just out of interest, does anyone take a different approach and fix the ABS handle whenever there is powder?


I've a BCA so handle is always "armed" but often zipped away so it amounts to the same thing - yeah there are times I don't unzip it. I try to be more disciplined but there is a lot of time you are skiing offpiste and there isn't really powder up for grabs but neither is it wet slide conditions. I haven't ever consciously done phil's thing but have sometimes rehearsed the grab before dropping in a line.
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Interesting points, thanks.
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I can see your friends logic. First person should get the backpack based on higher risk, but the question is should it be the dad or son first? Personally, I would say son as I think there is more chance the dad could perform a rescue if son buried (remember people don't always manage to deploy airbags). I wouldn't want to put a child in position of having to single handedly rescue their dad.

I think the real question is should a single adult be skiing avalanche terrain with a child? In my mind it's a recipe for disaster. Obviously I'm not refering to a 25degree slope on cat 1 day, but if the adult feels the terrain needs an airbag I'd question why they are taking a child there.
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Don't forget they are ski touring, the greatest risk is climbing unless they are able to choose a completely safe route to climb.
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You know it makes sense.
Rationally, I think the guy is right. If I had to do this then that's the way I would probably do it. I would not, though be skiing avalanche terrain with a young child.

That said, I am happy taking the children skiing where there is a significant collision risk. And, the 4 year old sitting next to me will spend a significant amount of time today on a horse. My risk tolerance for what the kids do is probably inconsistent.

Raises the bigger question: at what point do you start exposing children to potentially fatal hazards off piste? 18 seems too old.
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Re bag usage, if I am skiing off piste at all then I will have an armed bag on. The exception here is if the risk is 2 or below and I am expecting to climb for more than an hour.

Also, doing Munter and sticking to it unless there are very good reasons not to helps counteract the impact of the bag on risk tolerance. Risk based approaches debias human behaviour, who'd have thought it? That said, I mainly ski with guides now.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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davidof wrote:
Don't forget they are ski touring, the greatest risk is climbing unless they are able to choose a completely safe route to climb.


Sure but if they both get hit by an avalanche while skining up the father is in a much better position to rescue if the airbag saves him (stronger, more experienced) . Would the son be able to call the emergency services on his own? Would the son be able to activate the bag in the event of an emergency? Depending on the son's size / fitness level the extra weight could be a killer for him too.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Tue 23-07-19 10:00; edited 1 time in total
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Surely the smallest size of airbag available determines the minimum size of the child/young adult using it?
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@philwig,


Quote:

If I'm carrying the bag, I have the bag armed on every descents. It's a pain when using helicopters because you have to disarm/ arm
every uplift. A lot of the time if you know the conditions and the runs it's pointless, but I like not to have to think about stuff like this,
it's better to have a routine in my view.

If I'm riding something I don't like (it happens), then I'll ride with my hand on the trigger whilst looking for escape routes etc.
I don't want to have to flail for it if something slides.


If you are heliskiing you are with a guide so you are outsourcing the risk management and hopefully skiing powder so I would do the same.

I quite like the discipline of standing at the top of a descent and thinking "do I want to arm the bag? Why? Should I be skiing this?".

I've never skied with my hand on the trigger. I can imagine a situation in which I would but I would be very angry with myself for getting into a situation where that felt necessary. In general, I'd climb back up rather than do that.

@Chamcham,

I disarm the bag in ski lifts. Aren't you supposed to do that?

@davidof,
Quote:

Don't forget they are ski touring, the greatest risk is climbing unless they are able to choose a completely safe route to climb.



Good point. Missed that. Yes, in that case I would give the bag to my child - they would be in as much risk as me.
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Quote:

Raises the bigger question: at what point do you start exposing children to potentially fatal hazards off piste? 18 seems too old.


I wouldn't consider taking a child off piste until they were old enough to have some of an idea about dangers, and demonstrate they were capable of using a transceiver, probe and shovel (to some effect). I realise you could take them into "safe" off-piste areas (e.g. cat 1, 25degree slope), but in my mind would just be setting up bad habits. Once they could use the avalanche equipment then I would start to incorporate "safe" off-piste with a focus on education. Gradually moving into avalanche terrain, but only in very favourable conditions and with at least 1 more adult - child skies 2nd. That way if anything happens child is not relied upon for rescue - better for child and adult that is buried. I would never put kids (or anyone for that matter) in any avy situation approaching "dicey", but I'm rather cautious.

I'm not sure why 18 seems too old? They have their whole lives ahead of them to ski, I can't imagine waiting a few years to hit 18 is going to drastically decrease enjoyment. I wouldn't put an age on it though, some children mature a lot quicker/differently than others. There are probably 14 year olds I'd rather take out than a dumb 21 year old.

The other option of course is to go to north America where you can ski avy controlled "off-piste" without the worry. (I realise there have been in bounds slides before but the risk is so low I don't really consider it).
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People conflating several different subjects. At least the following I've identified:

#1 - skiing off piste and touring with children
#2 - if there is less airbags than skiers who has the bags and what order do you ski in
#3 - does having a bag affect the decision making process of what slope to ski

Whilst there may be some overlap I think it's clearer to discuss each individually - though obviously it's an open thread, I am not suggesting anyone has to comply!
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jedster wrote:
@philwig,


Quote:

If I'm carrying the bag, I have the bag armed on every descents. It's a pain when using helicopters because you have to disarm/ arm
every uplift. A lot of the time if you know the conditions and the runs it's pointless, but I like not to have to think about stuff like this,
it's better to have a routine in my view.

If I'm riding something I don't like (it happens), then I'll ride with my hand on the trigger whilst looking for escape routes etc.
I don't want to have to flail for it if something slides.


If you are heliskiing you are with a guide so you are outsourcing the risk management and hopefully skiing powder so I would do the same.

I quite like the discipline of standing at the top of a descent and thinking "do I want to arm the bag? Why? Should I be skiing this?".

I've never skied with my hand on the trigger. I can imagine a situation in which I would but I would be very angry with myself for getting into a situation where that felt necessary. In general, I'd climb back up rather than do that.

@Chamcham,

I disarm the bag in ski lifts. Aren't you supposed to do that?

@davidof,
Quote:

Don't forget they are ski touring, the greatest risk is climbing unless they are able to choose a completely safe route to climb.



Good point. Missed that. Yes, in that case I would give the bag to my child - they would be in as much risk as me.


99% of the time I ski offpiste I have my (Mammut/RAS) airbag with the handle out and ready to go. I don't put it away on lifts... Actually never thought of that. Part of my thinking is to always have it ready - to the point where it's almost forgotten about (not in terms of forgetting I can pull it, mind) and try to remove it from the risk calculation completely.

Climbing back up very much depends where you are... There are plenty of places/situations where that would put you at more risk than skiing down on eggshells...
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boarder2020 wrote:
I wouldn't consider taking a child off piste until they were old enough to have some of an idea about dangers

Not sure where this statement gets you really. There is so much vagueness. What do we mean by off piste for a start. Off piste can be anything from a 5 degree slope off the side of a piste, up to a 35 degree narrow couloir. And what does "idea about dangers" really mean. Do you mean they know avalanches happen, that there are sometimes hidden cliffs or that they fully understand the confluence of slope angle/shape, snow pack and weather conditions? And in essence if they are with a responsible adult it's the adult that assess the dangers - whether the child has an idea or not.

boarder2020 wrote:
and demonstrate they were capable of using a transceiver, probe and shovel (to some effect).

But the question is ultimately whether they have the physical and mental ability in reality. My kids went to an ava park when they were something like 11 & 9 and understood the concepts of what was happening. And where able in these artificial conditions to undertake a search and find. And to start a dig. In reality they wouldn't be capable. Which is why they would only wear a transceiver and have no probe or shovel.

boarder2020 wrote:
I realise you could take them into "safe" off-piste areas (e.g. cat 1, 25degree slope), but in my mind would just be setting up bad habits.

I don't see that myself. We talk a lot to our kids about safety, not just off piste put on piste too. I don't think believe because they don't have a shovel, that they'll never carry one or assume it's not needed. We explain to them why they don't have one.

boarder2020 wrote:
Once they could use the avalanche equipment then I would start to incorporate "safe" off-piste with a focus on education. Gradually moving into avalanche terrain, but only in very favourable conditions and with at least 1 more adult - child skies 2nd. That way if anything happens child is not relied upon for rescue - better for child and adult that is buried.

I agree with the general line of thought - although I am not sure about the term "Gradually moving into avalanche terrain". That is to say a lot of terrain has the potential to avalanche under specific circumstances. I guess what you mean is more potential to avalanche - I think we are mainly talking slope gradient here. If the weather/snow pack is against you that is what is going to make the difference.

I would never put kids (or anyone for that matter) in any avy situation approaching "dicey", but I'm rather cautious.

I'm not sure why 18 seems too old? They have their whole lives ahead of them to ski, I can't imagine waiting a few years to hit 18 is going to drastically decrease enjoyment. I wouldn't put an age on it though, some children mature a lot quicker/differently than others. There are probably 14 year olds I'd rather take out than a dumb 21 year old.

The other option of course is to go to north America where you can ski avy controlled "off-piste" without the worry. (I realise there have been in bounds slides before but the risk is so low I don't really consider it).[/quote]
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@Layne,
As far as I can work out you are saying you would give your child the airbag but they wouldn't have a shovel and probe Puzzled

Doesn't it make sense that the person who is more likely to be able to resuce the other* wears the airbag so there's a better chance of them both surviving?

* either because of avi training/experience and/or fitness.

The OP was talking about touring. When skiing around the sides of the pistes or not too deep into the backcountry there are generally many more escape routes (up, down or across). The avi warning levels, snow reports, weather forecasts etc are all very generalised. Sometimes the local conditions catch you out deep in the backcountry and there's no easy way out. e.g. Tracking back could mean skiing down in darkness through a dense forrest.
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Quote:

Not sure where this statement gets you really. There is so much vagueness


The whole thing is quite a gray area. I guess I would begin by telling young kids they had to stay on the piste and leaving it is dangerous. Gradually trying to explain some of the ideas and concepts of why it's dangerous. I would have a hard time defining exactly what or when I felt a child knew "enough". I certainly wouldn't expect them to make any decisions or have an in depth knowledge of conditions or what causes avalanches, that is for the adult. It's about educating them to know that there is danger and what some of the dangers might be. Vague I know, I think it would just be one of those things that you know when you get there.

Quote:

But the question is ultimately whether they have the physical and mental ability in reality. My kids went to an ava park when they were something like 11 & 9 and understood the concepts of what was happening.


I said use them to some extent. Again more about education. If they could switch their beacon to receive, get there probe in the right kind of area, and use a shovel that would be enough for me to take them off-piste to "safe" areas. Obviously I wouldn't expect them to be able to rescue someone at this point. But they at least understand some basic theory and know going off piste is dangerous and what to do in the event of an avalanche. Even though we wouldn't be in areas that can avalanche.

Quote:

I don't see that myself. We talk a lot to our kids about safety, not just off piste put on piste too. I don't think believe because they don't have a shovel, that they'll never carry one or assume it's not needed. We explain to them why they don't have one.


There are many ways to skin a cat. I don't doubt that your kids are learning and that you can teach them that way. It's just my personal preference that anybody going off-piste out of bounds always has the gear to form that habit. I see too many adults that go out of bounds on a "safe" day without equipment as a "one-off" and it becomes a habit because "nothing bad happened last time". It's easier in my mind if it's a black and white - you only go out of bounds with the equipment.

Quote:

I guess what you mean is more potential to avalanche - I think we are mainly talking slope gradient here. If the weather/snow pack is against you that is what is going to make the difference.


Yes I mean slopes 35-45degrees, but only with very stable snowpacks. Basically slopes I had 99.9% confidence in. Even then I would want 2 adults as I don't think kids can be relied on in such a stressful situation. It would essentially be two adults responsible for each other and both sharing responsibility for the kid (kid always skis second).
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DB wrote:
@Layne,
As far as I can work out you are saying you would give your child the airbag but they wouldn't have a shovel and probe Puzzled

Doesn't it make sense that the person who is more likely to be able to resuce the other* wears the airbag so there's a better chance of them both surviving?

Sorry for the misunderstanding. None of my family have airbags. I am as yet unconvinced that would be of benefit enough to justify the cost. By that I don't mean there aren't circumstances under which the timely deployment of an airbag may save a skier caught in an avalanche. What I am saying is that for my and my party I am not sure. My children, 11 and 13 last season, have so far only worn a bleeper because I don't believe they would be capable of undertaking a rescue. Me and the wife will review and discuss each year. I myself, as generally the lead skier would most likely be the first to have one. But I question things such as would it make me push to ski more prone slopes, would I deploy it effectively, would it always save me and simply whether this is a road to go down. Without wishing to drag up another debate, I don't wear a helmet either. That perhaps tells you more about my personality. I don't believe I am reckless, I am by nature cautious. Which is perhaps why I, in some ways, feel more comfortable without. Hope that makes sense.

DB wrote:
The OP was talking about touring. When skiing around the sides of the pistes or not too deep into the backcountry there are generally many more escape routes (up, down or across). The avi warning levels, snow reports, weather forecasts etc are all very generalised. Sometimes the local conditions catch you out deep in the backcountry and there's no easy way out. e.g. Tracking back could mean skiing down in darkness through a dense forrest.

Accepted. I haven't ski toured with my children as yet.
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Quote:

The OP was talking about touring


Yes but this covers a whole range of things, including just outside the resort to well out in the backcountry. I would suspect 1 adult with a child is not too far from the resort or road, simply due to the average child not having the leg strength and fitness do such a long tour.
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boarder2020 wrote:
db wrote:

The OP was talking about touring

Yes but this covers a whole range of things, including just outside the resort to well out in the backcountry.


I don't think there's one rule for all. e.g. The youngest person to scale everest was 13. Father and son could mean a 70 year old Father with his 40 year old son although the 70 year old may still be fitter and/or more experienced.


boarder2020 wrote:
I would suspect 1 adult with a child is not too far from the resort or road, simply due to the average child not having the leg strength and fitness do such a long tour.


As far as I know they don't make avalanche airbags for children. If the child is lucky it will get a small adult size which is probably suitable for someone around 5" 7". The additional weight (approx 2 kg) and it being oversized probably won't work well.
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DB wrote:


As far as I know they don't make avalanche airbags for children. If the child is lucky it will get a small adult size which is probably suitable for someone around 5" 7". The additional weight (approx 2 kg) and it being oversized probably won't work well.


The son in my example was around 12/13 so maybe too small. Interesting point.

His dad was having a serious avalanche incident[1] for every 100 touring days when I saw him but that is probably not relevant to the discussion, some people are just unlucky.

[1] outside rescue having to be called.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I do agree with @boarder2020 that when you go far offpiste (out of sight from the piste) with children there should really be two adults with one leading and another at the back. It's better for an adult to help a fallen child by skiing down - from a time and weight distribution point of view than have an adult booting or skining up to help. Again a lot depends on how well the child can ski and how strong he/she is, a local child who is out in the mountains a lot is likely to be much better/stronger than other children.
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@boarder2020,

I think you'll find that if your kids ski from a young age and do lessons then they will have been taken offpiste by their instructors with absolutely no gear or training by the time they are 11 or 12.
That was certainly true for my kids.
I was OK with it for a long time until their instructor started taking them on terrain I would definitely want transceivers etc for. Now the instructor had a many years of experience of the local avalanche history but still.

From the first day I skied off piste with my kids I have spoken to them about why we are skiing the lines we are on and why we are not on other terrain we can see. I have been rigourous about managing slope angle, terrain traps, ridged vs open slopes etc to keep risks negligable. They understood the principles of avalanche rescue but I chose not to train them because of the implication that I expected them to be able to act on that training which I absolutely did not.

We would have missed out on some fabulous and safe skiing over the last few years if I had kept them on piste. They have absorbed a lot about risk management over that time. We haven't toured yet but likely will next year - they'll be 17 and 15.
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"Normal" (Exceptions may apply) minimum age for cat / heli skiing in Canada as part of a larger adult group is 14. I don't know the logic but presume it is a combination of physical ability and maturity to handle risks / react well in a crisis.

I've personally toured with younger both guided and unguided in Canada. However the ratio of adults to children has been high (couple of kids and 5+ adults) and the days have been more mellow. I.e cat 1,2 terrain on low or moderate risk days only. The days are also shorter because they just lack stamina. Everyone carries beacon, probe, shovel as it's just good practice.

IMO if less airbags than skiers (doesn't matter kid or not) then person at the front should have bag both up and down. Even climbing first person on the slope more likely to trigger avalanche.

I personally don't have an airbag yet. If / when I get one I'd like to think that I would never ski something that I wouldn't have skied without it but don't know.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
sweaman22 wrote:
...(Exceptions may apply) minimum age for cat / heli skiing in Canada as part of a larger adult group is 14...
It depends on the operator. I think that the reason kids are restricted is logistics more than safety: the operator can't afford to slow down/ annoy a helicopter full of guests.
If you rent the machine you can take who you like (even dogs), although they'll not take people who manifestly aren't going to be able to ride to places they can't be extracted from easily.
Places where the skiing is closer/easier (eg daily heli) can be more flexible.
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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?
@jedster I mainly ski north America for the reason I can ski avy controlled "off-piste". I certainly would agree that sticking to pistes is missing out on a lot of fun.like I said there is no real "right way" it's a gray area with lots of if, buys, maybes, and probably plenty of different methods that work equally well for different people.

I would ask though how many adults were skiing with you and your kids? It's fine not teaching them how to perform a rescue, but what if you were the one burried?
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@boarder2020,

You missed my point or misread my post - I haven't trained them in avalanche rescue. To this point I don't think they should have that responsibility (they are not ready for it). I manage the risk with a lot of conservatism about where we ski to ensure I won't be buried - described above.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Well you either take them in terrain that has the possibility to avalanche (however small that may be) or you stick to non-avalanche terrain (e.g. 25degree slopes) in which case are still missing out on a lot of fantastic skiing.

I don't see why you wouldn't train them at that age? Its just another life skill. If you don't train them now it will just be something they have to learn in future. Of course training them doesn't mean you have to put them in a position or expect them to use those skills. No different to a teenager learning lifeguarding skills, cpr, etc.
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boarder2020 wrote:
Well you either take them in terrain that has the possibility to avalanche (however small that may be) or you stick to non-avalanche terrain (e.g. 25degree slopes) in which case are still missing out on a lot of fantastic skiing.

Doesn't really work like that - for me at least. There isn't avalanche terrain[i] and non-avalanche terrain[/i]. I've always been of the mind, no matter who I was skiing with, that you assess everything in the moment and if you are feel less than confident you don't do it. The "confidence" bit can not be quantified - it's a judgement call each time. I think what jedster might be saying and certainly the way I think is that I'll add in a children factor i.e., a little extra caution. TBH, my wife isn't an overly gnarly skier so in actuality the "missing out" isn't that great.

boarder2020 wrote:
I don't see why you wouldn't train them at that age? Its just another life skill. If you don't train them now it will just be something they have to learn in future. Of course training them doesn't mean you have to put them in a position or expect them to use those skills. No different to a teenager learning lifeguarding skills, cpr, etc.

I tend to agree but I don't think it's that big of a deal.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
clarky999 wrote:
99% of the time I ski offpiste I have my (Mammut/RAS) airbag with the handle out and ready to go. I don't put it away on lifts... Actually never thought of that. Part of my thinking is to always have it ready - to the point where it's almost forgotten about (not in terms of forgetting I can pull it, mind) and try to remove it from the risk calculation completely.


I don't have anywhere near the off piste experience of any of you and I don't own an airbag, so forgive me if this sounds gaper-ish, but I always assumed that as an airbag is there to help in the same situation that a beacon is, that you'd have it ready (armed?) at the same time as you have your beacon turned on.

I've always been taught to turn the beacon on and put it on before starting skiing in the morning, and not to turn it off during stops in case you forget about it. Is the airbag any different? With the possible exception that you might catch the handle on something in a crowded restaurant or similar.

From my own point of view I can't see an airbag changing my decision making - I really don't want to get caught in an avalanche, with or without an airbag. Similarly, wearing a seatbelt doesn't make me drive more aggressively.
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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!
I've had an Airbag since 2006 (should really replace it soon, just can't decide with what type of airbag). I'd agree that the airbag should be armed at the same time as your beacon/transceiver.
Mine is an old ABS where you attach / detach the handle. If I'm in skiing terrain where it might get caught (e.g. tight trees with low branches) I'll put the velco strap over the handle to stop my bag getting prematurely pulled. Toofy Grin I try to remember to do the same in cable cars for the same reason.
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As someone said earlier, children of a given numeric age can be very different in mental maturity and physical strength. It's up to the parent to decide whether their kids are mature and strong enough to be expected to be a rescuer.

The same can be said about a petite woman whether she's able to dig as efficiently as a burly man. I suspect not. And some individual adults (men or women) are more together mentally in an emergency while some others tend to panic and useless.

That's what training is suppose to help for all (assuming adults), to make the process more "routine" so everyone can perform it even under stress. For that reason, I don't see the point of NOT training a 15 or 17 year old.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
One should never ski with a son (or daughter) and an airbag.

The choice is obvious: either ski with the airbag or ski with the child. Not one of each. A child is not an accessory and I personally don't know how I'd live with the consequences of an avalanche that took out my son or daughter (buried, suffocated) but left me floating on the surface. And if the scenario was reversed, how does one imagine the child would face the future without a parent, knowing that they floated and survived?

Many years ago on this site I advocated the use of brightly-coloured trailed avalanche cords that can help rescuers locate a buried skier ... whether or not a transceiver is used. The words of Colin Fraser in his classic book [i]The Avalanche Enigma[/b] [John Murray, 1966) are worth emphasising (again):

Quote:
The avalanche cord was thought of in the early 1900s by Eugen Oertel, a Bavarian mountaineer, hence the name 'Oertel Cord' by which it is sometimes known. The use of the cord has met with ridicule at various times and in [i]Snow Structures and Ski Fields[i/] Seligman, although he personally 'inclines to its use', quotes someone else who wrote: "The vision of a line of sturdy mountaineers tripping intricately across a snowfield like embarrassed macaws in pursuit of each others' scarlet tails may give as some pleasurable moments." My comment is that, today, those who know avalanches and whose jobs expose them to danger are delighted to look like 'embarrassed macaws' in return for the almost 100% chance of speedy rescue which the cord offers. Ideally, every skier embarking on a tour should carry one in his rucksack.
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