I’m appalled, if not terrified. It’s said that during a significant number of times skiers and riders should pull their airbag trigger — they do not. Why? A variety of reasons. From my observations and experience, a goodly number of these human misfires are caused by hesitation or downright “misses” due to cost of refills, poor habits, lack of practice, difficulty actually grabbing the trigger with gloves and more.
Practice is the solution, but in my view, simply yanking your balloon trigger with little to nothing as a consequence is less than ideal. What’s needed is a cheap easy way to pull that ripcord for full screeching deployment.
Perhaps the best solution is for retailers and educational institutions is to dedicate an electric fan pack for practice. But how about another idea? Enter the WildSnow Airbag Practice Rig, WAPeR for short.
Design philosophy here is a simple rig that inflates off an easily filled five gallon compressed air tank, requiring only 110 psi produced by a small homeowner type air compressor. The math follows. Goal is five cubic feet of fill, quickly inflating the BCA balloon to about 1 psi above ambient air pressure (that’s where the “15” number comes from).
(110 psi) x (.699 cf, five gallons) /15 = 5.126 cf — works.
In my opinion our cobbled rig functions quite well, though day-to-day use would require a more refined system. Thus, let’s call this a proof-of-concept project. Check it out.
(This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.)
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.