AVi: The 1st Avy Beacon Application for iPhone

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | April 1, 2009      
AVi Beacon App

AVi Beacon App

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.

The iPhone-running-AVi size advantage is obvious.

The iPhone running AVi size advantage is obvious.

Web Browser
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.


Whos your buddy? Youll know with Sole Survivor.

Who's your buddy? You'll know with Sole Survivor.

Sole Survivor
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.

AVi will warn you that your partner may be in trouble in case you get lost navigating your extensive Jack Johnson collection, looking for that perfect deep powder surf track.

AVi will warn you that your partner may be in trouble in case you get lost navigating your extensive Jack Johnson collection, looking for that perfect deep powder surf track.

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.

Additionally, when you are 2 Meters or more from the nearest signal, the Shake feature will skip to the next song in your playlist.

Additionally, when you are 2 meters or more from the nearest signal, the Shake feature will skip to the next song in your playlist.

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, who is the real author of this April Fool joke, and his wife Jessica live in Salida, Colorado, where Dave is a freelance designer and owner of Ovid Nine Graphics Lab. .)


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


40 Responses to “AVi: The 1st Avy Beacon Application for iPhone”

  1. Jonathan M April 1st, 2009 8:10 am

    April 1 Good one!


  2. Peter Banta April 1st, 2009 8:10 am

    Shades of the free Google Web Device. Nice one.

  3. mb April 1st, 2009 9:05 am

    It’s always better when a graphic designer tackles things like this. Well done!

  4. chris davenport April 1st, 2009 9:07 am

    Oh man that is awesome. funny thing is it might happen some day! Nice one DD

  5. Magnus April 1st, 2009 9:16 am

    I want one!

  6. powderjunky April 1st, 2009 9:47 am

    Will it create a force field, similar to the one my avalung creates 🙂

  7. TreeDodger April 1st, 2009 9:48 am

    I’m guessing here that for the AVI application to work it requires that cell signal is available? Not something you’ll likely find in the backcountry or even on every resort.

  8. Dave April 1st, 2009 10:19 am

    TreeDodger, the AVi software creates its own local-area wifi network to talk to other iphones in an avalanche situation if necessary. But i find that I usually have service in the mountains anymore. You can barely summit a 14er in the summer anymore without having to listen in on someone’s call. “Guess where I am right now?”, they say. You say “On TOP OF A FRIGGIN’ MTN, NOW HANG UP!” 🙂

  9. justin April 1st, 2009 10:22 am

    Complete with screenshots, bravo.

    Happy birthday Craig Kelly.

  10. Randy April 1st, 2009 11:12 am

    Pfft. That’s weak.

    If you get the version for Jailbroken phones, it also has a “how far did I slide” feature that measures the distance you slid, and tracks the g forces of each and every impact along your slide path. Oh, and it comes pre-loaded with the mp3 tunes “Stayin’ Alive” and “Another One Bites the Dust” – both songs ~100 bpm, perfect rate for performing CPR once you are dug out.

    Speaking of CPR, the nanowire probe also doubles as AED connections. Just split the probe, insert one end into the victim’s chest just below their left nipple and the other just above their right nipple and the iPhone will automatically enter AED mode, track their heartbeat and advise when it is about to administer a shock to bring them back to life.

  11. ScottP April 1st, 2009 11:46 am

    Jokes aside, I think this actually brings up an interesting question. What if you could integrate that capability into an iPhone? It’s a reasonably powerful transmitter. It would take a bit of hardware modification to be able to accurately track another signal, but it’s certainly in the realm of possible.

    I guess what I’m getting at is, what if something you (and many other people) already own and use were a functional avy beacon? Would that be better or worse for avy safety?

  12. Dave April 1st, 2009 11:56 am

    I agree that this is possible, but also, i wonder, does it reach the point where you can decide who you did up first?

  13. Lou April 1st, 2009 1:34 pm

    Nice job on the review Dave, now I have to buy an iPhone!

  14. Dave Field April 1st, 2009 2:33 pm

    I’d prefer a pair of Google Goggles that would have the same functionality. Talk about hands free!

  15. NORTH.BEND April 1st, 2009 2:48 pm

    But does it come with a snowmobile?

  16. dave downing April 1st, 2009 3:44 pm

    @NorthBend — no snowmobile, but to download you have to sign a 2-year contract promising to wear a helmet

  17. Andy_L April 1st, 2009 6:20 pm


  18. Tim M. April 1st, 2009 6:24 pm

    Well played. Solid execution on a good idea. Keep the comedy (and pa-pow) coming.

  19. Forrest McCarthy April 2nd, 2009 5:30 am

    Is there a Blackberry Version?

  20. Mike Marolt April 2nd, 2009 8:28 am

    Dave, did i read the correctly; we rely on beacons for confidence and to help justify questionable decisions in the backcountry……..?

    Beacons are a super important piece of equipment. But when i strap that thing around my neck, it gives me neither confidence nor justification for questionable decisions i may make that day. It reminds me that no matter what i have studied, no matter how much experieince i have, I may need to use the thing.

    In my opinion, in one sentence you have pretty much summed up the only major problem that has evolved with snow safty equipment. Over confidence based on reliance of equipment.


  21. dave downing April 2nd, 2009 2:31 pm

    @Mike — I fully agree, and was poking fun at the mind set that equipement, knowledge or familiarity keeps you safe despite bad choices and questionable practices. Glad someone caught that 🙂

  22. Nick April 2nd, 2009 7:08 pm

    Ha ha! Thats great, and very well done!!

  23. Tom April 7th, 2009 9:49 am

    Good effort, Dave, I was going to tell Mike to try decaff.

  24. Chris Dickey April 10th, 2009 12:39 pm

    The way this is written, I can’t tell if it is a gaffe or not. If it is for real, I want to know if Lou owns an iphone and if so, if he’s going to be putting aside his trusty SOS for the slick sofistikashun of AVi ?!

  25. Lou April 10th, 2009 1:29 pm

    All I can say is I’ve had enough beta software blues with my various computers over the years, so a beta version of AVi is not going to get me going with an iPhone any time soon! Besides, anything with a beta release date of
    April 1 has to be suspect!

  26. paul August 7th, 2009 12:31 pm

    Needs some real world testing. I would be interested in the results.

  27. paul August 7th, 2009 12:33 pm


    Not sure if this applies to this application.

  28. Justin Saxe August 21st, 2009 11:40 am

    I can’t figure out where you can download this app. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

  29. Justin Saxe August 22nd, 2009 9:51 am

    I feel supid i didn’t read the whole article that will teach me

  30. dave downing October 21st, 2009 6:38 pm

    don’t worry Justin, it happens to the best of us 🙂

  31. Lou October 21st, 2009 9:27 pm

    Just shows you what an awesome job Dave did with this! I wonder what’s coming next April?

  32. Jonathan Shefftz October 26th, 2009 6:45 pm

    Munter Reduction Method for your phone:

  33. Beowner December 22nd, 2009 6:12 pm

    Good thing its so small! I really want to look cool when I’m trying to save my buddies life. You’re all gonna die.

  34. Jim Sogi March 10th, 2010 12:10 pm

    mammut does have a fun iphone app avalanche tool that give some avalanche info, has a slopemeter and an altimeter. I think you can get avalanche report too.


    Its fun, but needs cell coverage which limits use in backcountry.

  35. jake March 17th, 2010 7:15 am

    Given that for the main function it uses the wi-fi capabilities, would it work for an ipod touch? It woul be great, the best Beacon and also cheapest one!

  36. CharcoalFrost January 16th, 2012 3:34 am

    In 2009, this was an April’s Fool.

    In 2012, SnoWhere, an iPhone location transceiver, is in the iTunes App Store:


    We hope you like it.

  37. Scott January 19th, 2012 9:01 pm

    ^ How exciting! Do you sell life insurance too? I want my wife to be comfortable when I go.

  38. John January 20th, 2012 3:03 pm

    This sounds like a spoof on iphones. If this is not a spoof and anybody buys it and actually uses it instead of an actual beacon, you will not live long. You would be better off using Jesus as your beacon. Cell reception will not be available, choosing who to dig up first…really?, and talking to the buried victim…there is a reason people die in an avalanche…they can not move! The iphone is great technology and all but leave it in the front country where it belongs. Leave the backcountry to smart people and not “smart” phones.

  39. Ben R January 10th, 2013 6:14 pm


    Checkout blutracker . com an iphone bluetooth and gps tracker sticker thingy with a bluetooth range of 400-1000 meters or so…

    I’m not sure of all the details… especially close range accuracy…but it looks cool.
    I’m also not related to the company in any way whatsoever.


  40. Pat B October 27th, 2013 1:33 pm

    Just when you thought this idea was too absurd to exist:


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