Avalanche Airbag Field Test

I recently wrote an article for the About.com Survival Skills website about avalanche survival gear, including the Black Diamond AvaLung and avalanche airbags. I got the idea to write about these two pieces of gear last week as I attended an avalanche awareness lecture given by Scott Toepfer of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

As Scott was talking about different types of gear, he put on an avalanche airbag backpack and then surprised the audience by pulling the trigger to inflate it. As soon as he triggered the airbag, it exploded like the airbag in a car and expanded into a big red balloon-airbag around his head. We were all startled because it was loud, and the airbag inflated with explosion-like rapidity, but then our gasps turned into laughs as we realized what he did.

If you’ve never seen how an avalanche airbag works, check out this video that shows a test of the Mammut Avalanche Airbag System in which two dummies with airbags are thrown our of a helicopter, and then the testers set off an avalanche by throwing out explosives after them…exciting stuff:

If you’d like to know more about avalanche survival gear, including AvaLungs and avalanche airbags, check out my article on the About.com Survival Skills website:
“Avalanche Survival Gear: Beyond the Basics”
Avalanche survival gear such as the AvaLung or an avalanche airbag can be used in addition to other essential gear to increase avalanche survival rate…click here to continue reading

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