Strapping on our avalanche beacons in the early AM hours of an alpine start is as much ingrained in us as grabbing our morning coffee, perhaps more so. Sometimes they are forgotten, but this is most always noticed with plenty of time to safely turn around (if you’re not a gambler). We rely on beacons to give us confidence in the backcountry, to help justify our questionable decisions. They are our lifesavers.
For such an important piece of equipment, much is still lacking in the beacon world. We all have our personal grudges against them. They’re too big, too complicated to use, too simple, not enough multi-burial search modes, too many search modes, not tough enough, too much focus on durability. Etcetera etcetera. Indeed, some have forgone avy beacons altogether in favor of more enlightened methods, proclaiming “Jesus is my beacon” and waiting on the Allmighty to dig them out or at least keep them out of trouble.
In favor of a universal solution to please all, here at WildSnow we say “enough!”
Today we’re proud to show a First Look at AVi. The new iPhone Application for avalanche rescues.
This new application for iPhone is the self-proclaimed perfect avalanche beacon. No longer will you sigh as you strap on your clunky beacon. If you haven’t noticed, no one ever leaves their iPhone behind, or begrudgingly takes it with them everywhere they go. The Avy Beacon has now become a part of your everyday life, with you at all times. All the features you’ve ever wanted in the smallest package available to-date. Worried about the cost of a new beacon? Not to worry, the AVi App is FREE for current iPhone owners. If you aren’t an iPhone owner, shouldn’t you be? Everyone who is Anyone has one. So go get one, and you too can download the AVi App.
On the outside:
At only 4.7 ounces, and 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.48 inches in size, an iPhone is nearly half the size of the even the slimmest beacons available. And that’s with a 3.5 inch color screen.
With wireless coverage reaching so many places now-a-days, you can double check the weather and avalanche forecasts from the summit to make sure you read it right in your groggy, hung-over, pre-coffee condition this morning. Only pockets of considerable on that NW Face today? Charge it with confidence.
It’s an Apple product, so of course it has the most beautiful, elegant and perfect design of any product ever designed, past or future. You’ll be practicing burial searches almost daily just so people can see that you have an iPhone with AVi.
The AVi Application utilizes the iPhone Wireless Networks, 3G and built-in GPS to local buried parties. Kenny’s family can’t afford an iPhone to run AVi? No worries, just plug the 457 kHz Adapter into the dock port to search for your backwards-compatible friend.
As if Multiple burials aren’t stressful enough, what with all the digging and searching — you also have to worry about who you are digging up first? Are you going to find Steve first? You know he’s going to slack on the work of shoveling anyone else out, probably needing a break every few shovels, leaving most of the work to you! Want to dig up your partner Ben, instead of “The Dude” that decided to drop in behind on your trail breaking effort without an offer to help? Fear not, with Sole Survivor, you can program the phone number of your AVi equipped iPhone-carrying partner to find them first. Make sure your buddy with the padded wallet gets out alive so you don’t have to buy drinks that night at the bar.
Sick of watching your Intermediate skier friends ski another less-than-inspiring line while you wait your turn to rip? We’d all rather be watching a ski movie segment or searching our music library for some White Snake to get amped up. You’re supposed to watch, in case “something” happens, right? Don’t worry, the acceleration detection feature in AVi will let you know if your partner has fallen and been carried away by a slide by forcing the application in front of whatever your are doing.
When your buddy it buried under 4 feet of snow at the bottom of a slope, it would be nice to be able to communicate with them. Are you in pain? Do you have an air pocket? Conscious? Now you can get this information and more with ESP (Entrapment Snow Phone). You know that powder line just left of the slide still looks epic, and you’d hate to ski avy debris instead because of your search, only to realize your buried companion is at the bottom of the slope anyway. Why not ask your buddy if he’s comfortable, and has enough air for you to do a quick lap and hike back up to them. “Go for it, Bra!” is sure to be the answer they’ll give you.
After locating the first victim caught in a Multi-burial slide, simply shake your iPhone to clear the location and move on to the next burial.
WildSnow is so excited about this new beacon offering that we are sponsoring it to help keep it free. Beyond backcountry use, this will come in handy for all resort skiers with an iPhone to aid in in-bounds avy incidents, lost skiers, and finding your kid after lessons end in a sea of ankle biters. The financially elite will be able to get into backcountry skiing without the effort of buying and learning a new gizmo. Drivers on the West’s hazardous mountain passes will know they are safe should a rare slide occur.
Additional accessories such as a nano-fiber Stylus Probe (extends to 2 meters) are expected to accompany the release of AVi for iPhone. The AVi App is planned to release in Fall 2009.
(Guest blogger profile: Dave Downing and his wife Jessica live in Carbondale, Colorado, where Dave is a freelance designer and owner of Ovid Nine Graphics Lab. Dave still does NOT own an iPhone, and had to run the beta version on his Walkman.)