Saturday, 22 December 2012

Avalanche Airbag Thoughts

I have been selling and doing demos of the BCA range since they first came out. This year there has been a huge interest. Partly because research and evidence all supports the fact that the probability of surviving an avalanche as a skier especially is vastly improved if you have one. Maybe as much as 90%+. The fact that you stay on the surface (avoid terrain traps as they are an exception) and you are so visible to spotters saves search and digging time (don't loose sight of your friends). Huge dumps of snow in the Alps already this season along with many near misses and airbag saves and sadly lives lost has all made folk think about airbags.

Pisteur at Les Orres from last week saved by his ABS doing Avlx control work.
I worked for a month at Les Orres teaching skiing for "ski bound" back in the day
I am an avalanche avoider make no mistake.  Having been at the digging end on many occasions there isn't much good experience to bring to the table from MR from any way I look at it either educationally or experiential, but Ski Patrol there is. Having done six seasons as a ski rescuer being paid to be sharp about avalanches, and still involved through BASP and helping out now and then at Glencoe its not hard to see that unlike MR if you get to folk quickly the result is much better.  I like skiing off piste but know that no matter how experienced (which is the sum total of near misses) its only a matter of time if you keep doing it before you get panned and it's happened to me before making me a lot more reluctant to decide in haste and repent at leisure.  If I have an airbag will it make me think I can ski slopes I would otherwise avoid?  I would like to think and truly hope not.  It might prevent burial but it wouldn't help with the trauma and I need my knees for bike racing.

Sron a Creis West aspect Jan 1st 1984.  Like navvies digging concrete. No expertise required.
Now I should say that over the last three years life has conspired to make me a Scotland only skier. Fiona and I have both worked full ski seasons abroad as ski teachers pre family and had long ski trips for 2/3 weeks to various alpine ski areas.  We even managed a few trips with the kids to Tignes, Meribel, La Tania etc.  The last 3 years has thrown Fiona and us as a family the curve ball of breast cancer and all the post cancer/remission baggage that only families living with it can truly understand. My family wouldn't stop me doing anything, but its never far from my mind when hugging someones wheel  in a road race or hurtling over a bank in an XC race, and of course skiing over the backs, that they don't need anymore shit. The family don't ask me to change my risk appetite and stop me enjoying my sports, but I feel that if there's something to help reduce the consequences of  my head writing cheques my body can't cash then I should have it. I can slow down on the bike, but I can't change mother natures revenge if I make a bad decision other than try and "Float" above it.

Bobby and I may have triggered this from above.
You never know what's below you in a hoolie!
So I have an airbag.  A Float 22.  I hope to avoid ever having to pop it in anger. Feel free to take the piss in lift ques and I will try and not blow up in your face!
Yes its that Blue!!!

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