For anyone wanting to ride off piste or in the back country having avalanche safety equipment is essential but knowing you to use the equipment paramount.
Avalanche safety equipment consists of a
- Avalanche transceiver
Additionally an Avalanche Airbag system and a assisted breathing apparatus can be installed in your backpack.
An avalanche transceiver/ beacon is an advanced piece of kit that is used to find avalanche victims that are buried under the snow.
They have two modes. The Transmit mode is how a transceiver will normally be running at all times. The transceiver woks by emitting a radio signal when normally operating. The search mode is activated when someone has been caught in an avalanche and has been buried. If someone is buried in the snow the search mode is switched on and the transceiver will pick up the radio signal emitted by the transceiver of the avalanche victim.
Depending on the model avalanche transceivers can search for one or multiple victims, in a multi burial situation the transceiver can switch from one victim to the next after the first has been found.
Most modern transceivers use a digital system which incorporates multiple antennas and microprocessors. Digital transceivers also give the user a visual and audible signal. The user will be shown the direction and distance to the buried victim.
Avalanche transceivers are worn on the upper body under your exterior clothing layers. It is very important to wear you transceiver as close to your skin as possible, that way it always close to your body and so it will not be ripped off your body in the event of an avalanche. Transceivers are always to be used with normal alkaline batteries, rechargeable batteries are not to be used. Regularly check your battery and replace the battery when it reaches 50%.
The most important part of owning a avalanche transceiver is knowing how to used it and regularly practice dummy avalanche situations. Knowing how to confidently and calmly operate a transceiver before the event of an avalanche is so essential for saving someone when buried by an avalanche. At Tignes Spirit we have the full range of Ortovox transceivers and a team of trained staff who can help with any questions you have regarding transceivers.
The probe is a lightweight collapsible pole that is used when you have narrowed to down the distance given by your transceiver to the lowest number. Probes generally extend to 4 meters and are incremented into 40cm sections.
Avalanche shovels are the final part of the main avalanche kit and are used to dig out the avalanche victims when they have been located under the snow. These shovels can be split into 2 to allow easy transport in your backpack.
Avalanche airbag systems
Avalanche airbag systems are become increasing popular with back country riders. These systems uses compressed gas to inflate a balloon around the users neck in the event of an avalanche. This helps in two ways, the bag creates a protective area around the head and more importantly makes your head and upper body a large object. Avalanches settle with reverse segregation, smaller objects sink to the bottom and larger objects stay at the top. At Tignes Spirit we stock the new removable orthodox abs system and the built in system. We also have a range of canisters for the airbag system.