Well, luckily we packed our fur coats for the Arlberg. The complimentary sparkling wine and the ski concierge when we checked into our hotel for the Scott press event were all appreciated by our European travel brutalized physiques. But we just didn’t fit in while wearing our down jackets.
We’re on-snow testing Scott skis and boots, but couldn’t help but notice the nicely engineered lightweight airbag backpack they’ll be retailing soon near you: Alpride.
Yes Virginia, I might be wrong about shouting the death knell of compressed gas airbags. Turns out that life preserver technology has been there all along, with tiny C02 cartridges that with a bit of help (or perhaps even on their own) are perfectly capable of inflating a 150 liter avalanche balloon in 4 seconds or less. The 2.7 kilo (weight with cartridges) version of the Alpride 30 liter backpack will be available winter of 2014/15.
Once these things are in retail, prepare to be amazed. You pick one up and you don’t know it’s an airbag backpack it’s so light. Check it out!
Points to ponder:
– Scott claims that by end of 2014 you will be able to fly any airline with the full cylinders, no problem, due to changes in regulations designed to accommodate various types of personal safety airbag systems. (as of January 2015 there is still doubt about North American domestic flights, but European air regulations definitely allow airbag compressed gas cylinders and cartridges.)
– MSRP Europe is around 600.00 euros, with goal being to be very price competitive with other products.
– Are the C02 and argon gasses a safety issue in terms of being buried in an avalanche? European certification doesn’t think so, and the fact is that due to how this type of airbag works (venturi effect) the gasses are mixed with a large part of ambient air.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.