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  1. #1
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    alpine touring beginner gear

    looking for advice on gear, pretty much beginner in this but i used to be decent resort skier, i switched to snowboard when i was 18 and was doing snowboarding up until now (i am 35). want to start my kid with skiing next winter and thinking of getting new gear (or used) for next season. not a huge fan of resorts anymore but with kid, most likely most of the skiing (and hiking) will consist of resort skiing. dont really need top models, more likely just beginner models. any suggestions welcome.

  2. #2
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    Check wilderness exchange for a used set up. I like the marker duke or barron bindings. They are heavy, but if you're like me, it's more about the down then the up. Also, if you're doing resort skiing they are still great. Ebay is another good option.

  3. #3
    zrm
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    I wouldn't so much separate it into "beginner" vs "top models" so much. Unless you get into the ultra light rando race equipment, the binding systems are all pretty much general use.
    For BC skiing I'd go with some sort of a mid fat (85-100mm underfoot) fairly light ski. The really fat skis might make tricky snow conditions easier, but you're hauling around a lot of extra weight that all adds up. with every step.
    You don't have to go with ultra light mohair race type skins. Most of the skin manufacturers are pretty competitive with each other in their general use skins.
    with boots comfort is of course most important. I have the Dynafit One which is pretty light with a good range of motion and I really like the way it skis. You don't really need heavy four buckle boots unless you want to do a lot of resort skiing.

    If you're looking used, I'd look for a non abused pair of mid fats with Dynafit bindings. Unless you're counting ounces get bindings with brakes rather than leashes. If you buy used skins, don't get skins that have large sections of plush worn off. I like the BD STS tail attachment system, I'd avoid skins that have no tail hook. Don't worry too much about the glue - you can always re-glue.
    Boots with moldable liners are INO a must for all day comfort.

    Needless to say, also take the time to equip and educate yourself and your kid on avalanche safety.

  4. #4
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    Pretty much what those other guys said. Also to reiterate: there's really no "beginner level" vs. "top level" AT stuff that I've seen... meaning it's ALL expensive. Look for good used stuff to get into it though. I've had friends find really good deals for decent equipment on Craig's List even, just gotta know what you're looking for. You may give Fritschi bindings a look, it seems a lot of people covet the Marker Duke/Baron, the newer Salomon/Atomic AT bindings, and of course the Dynafit/tech stuff so the Fritschi bindings might be found a bit cheaper. Also also to reiterate: there is NO REPLACEMENT for proper Avi gear and knowledge in the backcountry.
    The older I get, the faster I was.





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  5. #5
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    how about this offer?
    he is my ht and same size feet.

  6. #6
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    Newer tech bindings are 100% fine for resort riding. I have had zero problems with un-wanted release with my Dynafit Vertical ST for 3 years now in BC and in bounds (except when they get clogged with snow). Whoever says they are bad are just believing the hype that was true about them from pre-2007. If you get some of the newer models...they're good enough for all-around use, but still are primarily designed for backcountry.

    If you plan on getting into more aggressive skiing...jumps, drops, or even just really aggressive groomers. I'd probably steer away from the tech stuff, and go with barons or fritschis or something.

  7. #7
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker View Post
    Pretty much what those other guys said. Also to reiterate: there's really no "beginner level" vs. "top level" AT stuff that I've seen... meaning it's ALL expensive. Look for good used stuff to get into it though. I've had friends find really good deals for decent equipment on Craig's List even, just gotta know what you're looking for. You may give Fritschi bindings a look, it seems a lot of people covet the Marker Duke/Baron, the newer Salomon/Atomic AT bindings, and of course the Dynafit/tech stuff so the Fritschi bindings might be found a bit cheaper. Also also to reiterate: there is NO REPLACEMENT for proper Avi gear and knowledge in the backcountry.
    The Marker, Salomon, etc bindings are seriously heavy duty bindings intended for slackcountry more than extended BC touring. Lots of people use their regular alpine boots with them They'll work, but they wouldn't be my first choice for more extended BC skiing.

  8. #8
    zrm
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    It would work. It's not a particularly lightweight setup, the boots especially are not what I'd call svelte AT boots. If that's not as important to you and the boots fit, or can be made to fit it would be a decent deal. If you really get into BC skiing you'll probably eventually want to upgrade but you gotta start somewhere and this is less than half of what a set up with decent quality new gear would cost.

    Personally though I'd hold out for something lighter but that's just me. I'm not a total weight weenie Neither my AT or tele set up(s) are light compared to the real light weight stuff, but a couple pounds on your feet make a big difference when you're slogging out the vertical.

  9. #9
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    I'm gonna be the guy who asks:

    Are you planning to spend the $1000 for beacon, probe, shovel and avy education?

    If not - just get yourself some alpine gear, not AT gear.

  10. #10
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    SS, i only have one life, dont I. . responses here made me reevaluate and i am going to hold on till next fall/winter do more research, save up a bit and get what i really want.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by brankulo View Post
    SS, i only have one life, dont I. . responses here made me reevaluate and i am going to hold on till next fall/winter do more research, save up a bit and get what i really want.
    Forget SS, he's in it for the instant satisfaction...NTTAWWT...you do what you wanna do. I'm on your page, except I'm going full tele. Have been piecing together bits since 2 years ago (only have bindings right now). This summer will be boots and skis. First year on tele will be in resort. But the end goal is to not have to buy a season pass and just go trucking in the BC. I just can't imagine that, having had over 17 years on alpine, switching to free-heel will be THAT difficult...but I guess this coming winter will tell

    Edit: and I still anticipate SS will have probs keeping up w/ me, even free-heeling
    Naysayers never apologize. Critics go to their grave thinking everyone else is wrong.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pau11y View Post
    <snip>, except I'm going full retard.

    Edit: and I still anticipate SS will have probs keeping up w/ me, even free-heeling


    Never go full retard...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post


    Never go full retard...
    You couldn't keep up w/ when I had shin issues/Lange-bang...had to hold back to keep from waiting at the lift base for full-retard ever...
    Naysayers never apologize. Critics go to their grave thinking everyone else is wrong.
    ╭∩╮( º.º )╭∩╮

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pau11y View Post
    You couldn't keep up w/ when I had shin issues/Lange-bang...had to hold back to keep from waiting at the lift base for full-retard ever...
    I think you underestimate teh telemark.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    I think you underestimate teh telemark.
    We shall see won't we? Maybe the old dog has new tricks...Name:  smiley_moon.gif
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    Naysayers never apologize. Critics go to their grave thinking everyone else is wrong.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pau11y View Post
    We shall see won't we? Maybe the old dog has new tricks...Name:  smiley_moon.gif
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    [snork]

    Damned free heel forest faeries.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    [snork]

    Damned free heel forest faeries.
    Come SS, join the dark side!
    Naysayers never apologize. Critics go to their grave thinking everyone else is wrong.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pau11y View Post
    Come SS, join the dark side!
    Hell will freeze over prior to any nonsense like that.

  19. #19
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    Wanna get to this level...

    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Hell will freeze over prior to any nonsense like that.
    Naysayers never apologize. Critics go to their grave thinking everyone else is wrong.
    ╭∩╮( º.º )╭∩╮

  20. #20
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    Alpine is for people who can't telemark.
    Golden Bike Park

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  21. #21
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pau11y View Post
    gotta find my old world telemark mogul championships video from 1992.

    My bump *** days are well in my past but I still find it more comfortable to ski bumps free heel rather than locked. Go figure.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbabuser View Post
    Alpine is for people who can't telemark.
    And telemark is for people who...

    Oh, never mind. It's too easy.

  23. #23
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    I have been messing with different setups and think I have finally found something that will stick. I use alpine gear for resorts. For out of bound skiing I use some madshus annom tele skis with tele boots and touring tele bindings. I'm not that great at tele but if you can alpine ski you can probably do well enough to have fun on tele. The skis have waxless bases like an xc ski and they do pretty well without the need for skins. I'm not going off easy trails that are mostly rolling terrain and low chance of an avalanche. It's also nice to be able to use the setup to xc ski with my wife. I can't stand regular xc skis and these have a lot of the same benefits and you still have some control.

    One thing that I have experienced with BC skiing so far is the barriers to get don't involve gear. I have hadv such a hard time getting advice out of people. I'm not sure if they don't want people to crowd out their sport or they just want to be elitist bit it's been difficult. I guess they forget that at one point they were in the same boat until they got a break. Or maybe I just haven't met the right people.
    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    If I told you I saw a unicorn ****ing a leprechaun trail side, you'd probably be suspicious.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by skaredshtles View Post
    and telemark is for people who...

    Want big quads
    ftfy
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbabuser View Post
    ftfy
    You know how you can tell someone that telemarks?

    Oh... don't worry - they'll tell YOU.


  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    You know how you can tell someone that telemarks?

    Oh... don't worry - they'll tell YOU.

    Bah, I'm a snowboarder, anyway.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbabuser View Post
    Bah, I'm a snowboarder, anyway.
    Good heavens!

  28. #28
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    I only ride park
    the drugs made me realize it's not about the drugs

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by WKD-RDR View Post
    I only ride park
    Heh. At least you're not a splitboarder.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Heh. At least you're not a splitboarder.
    nah. I've upgraded.

    the drugs made me realize it's not about the drugs

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by WKD-RDR View Post
    nah. I've upgraded.

    Oh look - a Snurfer.

    WTF... so you take some crazy weird FOLDING skis for the up and surf down?

    That is pure GOLD.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Oh look - a Snurfer.

    WTF... so you take some crazy weird FOLDING skis for the up and surf down?

    That is pure GOLD.

    Approach skis are not really new, but folding type is.
    MTN Approach Ski System (w/ Backpack) - Snowboard Shop > Snowboards > Splitboards

    Ridiculously overpriced though... could prob make my own
    the drugs made me realize it's not about the drugs

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeopleForScience View Post
    One thing that I have experienced with BC skiing so far is the barriers to get don't involve gear. I have hadv such a hard time getting advice out of people. I'm not sure if they don't want people to crowd out their sport or they just want to be elitist bit it's been difficult. I guess they forget that at one point they were in the same boat until they got a break. Or maybe I just haven't met the right people.
    I personally am really particular about who I'll ski in the backcountry with. I'm really new to backcountry travel and as such have also been looking to others for advice, etc. But trust is a huge issue for me so I am very selective about who I'll go with or really even listen to. I would guess that people who are more experienced have similar feelings, and this is what you're likely experiencing. I doubt that it's an elitist attitude (at least most of the time) but rather a cautious one.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by WKD-RDR View Post
    Approach skis are not really new, but folding type is.
    MTN Approach Ski System (w/ Backpack) - Snowboard Shop > Snowboards > Splitboards

    Ridiculously overpriced though... could prob make my own
    Bah - they know that snowboarders nowadays are middle-aged tycoons. They'll get away with it.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker View Post
    I personally am really particular about who I'll ski in the backcountry with. I'm really new to backcountry travel and as such have also been looking to others for advice, etc. But trust is a huge issue for me so I am very selective about who I'll go with or really even listen to. I would guess that people who are more experienced have similar feelings, and this is what you're likely experiencing. I doubt that it's an elitist attitude (at least most of the time) but rather a cautious one.
    Yup. $hit like this makes a lot of "experienced" BC skiers/boarders rightfully cautious about partners:

    CAIC
    CAIC
    CAIC
    CAIC
    CAIC

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Bah - they know that snowboarders nowadays are middle-aged tycoons. They'll get away with it.
    true story.
    It appears snowboarding is in its twilight, as are most of the riders.
    Can Snowboarding Be Saved? | Snowboarding | OutsideOnline.com
    the drugs made me realize it's not about the drugs

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Yup. $hit like this makes a lot of "experienced" BC skiers/boarders rightfully cautious about partners:

    CAIC
    CAIC
    CAIC
    CAIC
    CAIC

    a little different than goin for a trail ride, eh?
    the drugs made me realize it's not about the drugs

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker View Post
    I personally am really particular about who I'll ski in the backcountry with. I'm really new to backcountry travel and as such have also been looking to others for advice, etc. But trust is a huge issue for me so I am very selective about who I'll go with or really even listen to. I would guess that people who are more experienced have similar feelings, and this is what you're likely experiencing. I doubt that it's an elitist attitude (at least most of the time) but rather a cautious one.
    For sure and that makes total sense. But I see it like this - I will be out either way trying to figure out this sport. You can only learn so much from an avi class, like anything safety comes from experience. So we could go skiing together (I'm not suggesting that we should, although I would not turn it down as you seem like a nice person) and you could pass on some of your experience and we are both safer. Or we could go out separately and happen upon the same location where my inexperience triggers a slide and we are both in a bad spot.

    Based on my experience so far with this sport the second option seems to be where it will go with the current system of I will only ski with people that I trust. And its only growing in popularity.
    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    If I told you I saw a unicorn ****ing a leprechaun trail side, you'd probably be suspicious.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by WKD-RDR View Post
    Approach skis are not really new, but folding type is.
    MTN Approach Ski System (w/ Backpack) - Snowboard Shop > Snowboards > Splitboards

    Ridiculously overpriced though... could prob make my own
    why would you need to fold your skis and store them in backpack when its time to make a camp for a night? am i missing something here?

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by WKD-RDR View Post
    true story.
    It appears snowboarding is in its twilight, as are most of the riders.
    Can Snowboarding Be Saved? | Snowboarding | OutsideOnline.com
    I'm already hearing the snowboarders regularly telling the ski groms to "get off my snow"...

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by brankulo View Post
    why would you need to fold your skis and store them in backpack when its time to make a camp for a night? am i missing something here?
    Because the buffoon writing that copy has never actually been backcountry skiing/boarding?

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeopleForScience View Post
    For sure and that makes total sense.
    Yep. Glad you recognize it.

    But I see it like this - I will be out either way trying to figure out this sport. You can only learn so much from an avi class, like anything safety comes from experience. <snip> Or we could go out separately and happen upon the same location where my inexperience triggers a slide and we are both in a bad spot.
    If you don't learn how to *not* do this from your avi education... then... uhhh...

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by brankulo View Post
    why would you need to fold your skis and store them in backpack when its time to make a camp for a night? am i missing something here?
    to make room for that hot girl you took on her first "tour".
    the drugs made me realize it's not about the drugs

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    If you don't learn how to *not* do this from your avi education... then... uhhh...
    and that's how you get ants
    the drugs made me realize it's not about the drugs

  45. #45
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    Hey brankulo.

    Skis: Get something chubby but not at the expense of weight. Those Volkl's you posted are great skis for resort, but are not going to be very forgiving in backcountry crud, nor will they tour great b/c they're not terribly wide or light.

    Bindings: I've been a huge fan of Fritschi's. The bindings on that setup you posted are classics! Very easy to unlock and re-lock (not in a bad, safety compromising way), have a high DIN if you like that, are bombproof. But if you go elsewhere I suggest avoiding anything that slides on a plate mounted to the ski to lock in place. They accumulate snow and ice and become a pain to re-lock.

    Boots: You can buy used but if you'll really be touring and skiing its best to pony up the cash for a new, custom fit pair. I'm a huge fan of Scarpas b/c I have a high, narrow arch but wide toes. But Lowa, Dalbello, and Salomon all make great boots.

    Skins: I've always preferred Black Diamonds. As long as you take care of them by the book they last, don't ball up (meaning, they don't accumulate little ice balls on their surface when you're climbing), are easy to trim to fit your ski, and are appropriate weight.

    Beacon: Nowdays they're all really good, but can be very different, so if you can, try to demo as many as possible before plopping down the cash. I think Bent Gate, REI, Neptune, and others rent or have demo programs.

    Other considerations: don't skimp on your shovel or probe. Certainly you want something light weight, but don't do it at the expense of strength. There's no worse feeling than snapping a shovel and realizing that could've happened when you really needed it.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsmarg View Post
    Bindings: I've been a huge fan of Fritschi's. The bindings on that setup you posted are classics! Very easy to unlock and re-lock (not in a bad, safety compromising way), have a high DIN if you like that, are bombproof. But if you go elsewhere I suggest avoiding anything that slides on a plate mounted to the ski to lock in place. They accumulate snow and ice and become a pain to re-lock.
    Myself and hundreds (thousands?) of Marker Duke/baron/Tour and/or Salomon Guardian users would probably disagree with your speculation that the "slides on a plate" type of bindings accumulate snow and become a pain to relock. Granted, I am not super-experienced, but I have not experienced this with my Marker Barons. That said, I prefer the ergonomics of tech bindings for actual touring.

    Quote Originally Posted by rsmarg View Post
    Other considerations: don't skimp on your shovel or probe. Certainly you want something light weight, but don't do it at the expense of strength. There's no worse feeling than snapping a shovel and realizing that could've happened when you really needed it.
    Quoted for truth. Although this is a review of just one particular shovel, I think the article raises some good points to keep in mind when shopping for a shovel: G3 AviTECH Shovel Review : Gear Genius
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  47. #47
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    What's the word on the slops with the avi ABS/air-bag backpacks?
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve-71 View Post
    What's the word on the slops with the avi ABS/air-bag backpacks?
    The slops? What, are we talking about hogs here?

    Well, airbags can save your life, there's no doubt about that. There are a lot of BUTs (capital letters though) with them, not only the mechanics of their use, but how they effect the human factor in decision making.

    Air bags are not a 100% ticket to survival.
    First: There have been more than a few instances of airbags being shredded when deployed by trees and the wearer either didn't survive or was injured.

    Second: Air bags work best in broader, unconfined avalanche paths such as open bowls where the run out can spread out. They are less effective in narrow couliors or terrain traps where you can expect deep and confined debris piles or where you may come to a stop while more snow is piling in on top of you.

    Third: Air bags can give you some protection from blows to the head, neck and back, but there is a limit to this and your extremities are still vulnerable.

    Fourth: You still have to have the time and ability to deploy the bag. Some people have been buried without deploying their bag. Those who survived said they either couldn't get to the cord as they were getting pummeled, or they were caught unaware. There have been some people recovered dead who had not deployed and they of course, tell no tales.

    Fifth: They are expensive and they are bulky. Of course, the retort to that is :my life is worth it". Hard to argue against that but none the less, the point is you start adding up all the gear and all of a sudden BC skiing starts to become a rich mans sport.

    Sixth: Yes, air bags can save your life but they don't take the place of making good choices in the backcountry. In the avalanche professional community (of which I used to be a part of) here is a mixture of appreciation for the availability of a device that can save lives and unease with something that might give people an inflated sense of security - "air bag (or avalung) courage" if you will.

    Everybody has their own "level of acceptance of risk" in the BC. Over an almost 30 year BC skiing "career" mine is and has never been very high. Losing friends and acquaintances, digging out bodies and doing accident reports will do that to you. If I had a high risk tolerance and jumped into high risk terrain, I would probably own one. If wearing one has you upping the ante as far as terrain, snowpack, and human factors because your wearing one though, in the end you're probably no safer wearing it than you were before.

    Bottom line: Don't get caught in the first place, The dragon will kick your puny a$$. It doesn't care if you're a novice or an "expert" or if you're wearing an airbag. There's no substitute for learning and practicing good, sober, judgement.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    <snip>
    First: There have been more than a few instances of airbags being shredded when deployed by trees
    I am having a tough time understanding why a tree would be wearing an airbag.

  50. #50
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    Great info, thanks zrm!

    Hopefully we'll see prices come down. I see ABS packs pop on steep and cheap for $650 or so which isn't too bad.

    Hopefully as sensors get better we'll see auto deployment. Guess it'll be pretty hard to determine if the user is just falling vs in an avalanche.

    Maybe remote control deployment via a spotter could be useful in some situations.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

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