Big thanks to Backcountry Access for sponsoring this avalanche education content. Check out the additional plethora of avalanche safety resources on their website.
The following videos are a collection of avalanche airbag deployment videos. Calling all Wildsnowers, if you are aware of any other videos out there please link them in the comment section and we’ll embed them below.
Be safe out there this winter.
Aymar Navarro’s, professional freeskier, use of ABS’s airbag system speaks for itself. Complete slope failure and no safe exit. From the video you cannot see the moment he pulled the release handle but its safe to say his chances of survival were heightened by use of an avalanche airbag.
Well, the one above looks a bit ridiculous as airbag PR since the gal appears to ride her snowboard the whole way down. Yeah, airbags work but we’re not sure this vid really proves much except demonstrating how high fives are performed. By the way, it appears BCA was accused of somehow exploiting this vid. That’s unfair. BCA is in the business of selling safety products and should be getting the word out about videos that show their product being used (no matter how minor the incident). So kudos to them for doing so. On the other hand, if you film a compelling near-death incident that happens to have someone’s safety gear in use, you can probably sell the footage or at least publish it and get a lot of traffic, so an interesting and perhaps poisonous incentive exists for film makers to go out and try to create incidents. Not saying this is an example of that, but it definitely causes one to think about such issues.
The vid above looks a bit more realistic, with interesting music. Not a huge avy. In one quick frame you can see a guy trying to run on his skis and get out from under it. That they had to dig the guy out makes it real.
Hmmm, the fear level ramps up. I think he alludes to a terrain trap such as a crevasse.
Another somewhat scary one. The guy remembers to knock the snow off his POV camera after taking his ride (as in, ‘if it’s not on YouTube it did not happen’). Airbag backpack makes it gentle, or just not that big a slide?
Well, that’s an avalung save rather than an airbg… Note the guy was also saved by plastic shovels.
Following is more of a PR piece but it does a good job of showing how the airbag works. Thing to remember is a percentage of people deploying airbags still die from trauma, terrain trap burial, or other things (for example, it won’t float you over a cliff). Not one of the shots in this vid that looks rather violent. Thus, beware of accepting ever more risk just because you have an “avalanche balloon.”
Well, that was another PR extravaganza but does have some “real” footage.