Are you an avid skier or snowboarder? If so, you know that there is always the risk of being caught in an avalanche. Being caught in an avalanche is a frightening experience and many people do not make it out alive. Fortunately, though, there are certain survival tools available to increase your chances of survival should you be taken by surprise by an avalanche.
What Is an Avalanche Airbag?
This safety device is used by hikers, skiers, and other outdoor enthusiasts that are often in conditions that could produce an avalanche. It is worn as a backpack, but operates like a mini-parachute. When a person finds themselves threatened by an avalanche, they simply pull a lever that inflates the backpack. The person is then lifted off of the ground, staying atop the snow that is falling around them. While this device may not prevent a person from becoming injured, it can prevent deaths.
What Is the Cost?
These safety backpacks are designed for outdoor enthusiasts that make it a point to explore uncharted territories. Therefore, when considering the cost of an avalanche airbag, it is important to consider the costs of not wearing one when you are exploring the backcountry. That being said, most avalanche airbags are sold in the range of $650 to upwards of $1000 dollars. When choosing a backpack there are certain safety features you will want to consider such as the following:
- Trauma protection
- Removable air bags
- Refill method
To help you determine what safety features will benefit you the most, you should make it a priority to speak with a professional that understands the unique nature of these devices. Buyers should remember that the cost of the backpack is often directly linked to its reputation and the quality of its craftsmanship, which can have a direct impact on how well of a job it will do to protect you in the event you are caught in an avalanche. Basically, don’t try to buy the cheapest airbag you can find. It could end up costing you more than you bargained for.
Do Avalanche Airbags Really Save Lives?
If you are part of the camp that believes avalanche airbags are simply another way for sporting companies to profit off of consumers’ fears and that they don’t really work, then you should brush up on the latest safety stats. According to The Avalanche Review, out of 100 skiers caught up in avalanches it is estimated that 33 to 75 of them would have survived had they been wearing an avalanche airbag backpack.
Why does this data produce such a large gap? This is mainly due to the fact that avalanche occurrences are more common above the tree line. In Europe, especially in the Alps, skiers often ski slopes above the tree lines. The United States does not have as many slopes at this altitude. Regardless, whether you live in the United States or in Europe, the statistics prove that these safety devices save lives time and time again.