I’m in the market for a backcountry ski backpack.
It just so happens my buddy, an avid snowmobiler, just bought one. Cost $1,000, he tells me.
For that price, it better be able to prevent avalanches and teleport me to the top of the mountain, I respond.
While it doesn’t prevent avalanches, it does help prevent against trauma for skiers and snowboarders caught in an avalanche. It’s called Snowpulse. The backpack contains an inflatable airbag that protects your head and chest when self deployed. A quarter of avalanche deaths are caused by trauma-related injuries. But it does more.
As this video shows, the airbag looks like an oversized life preserver. In a way, it acts the same way, where the person will float to the top of an avalanche. The red color and location towards the surface is supposed to help rescue crews locate buried victims quicker. They’ve tested these bags on dummies and tests, according to the website, show that they are more buoyant and will end up towards the surface. And it decreases the chances of landing with your head buried downward.
As much as I hate to admit it, I’m a natural skeptic. So, while all this sounds awesome, a part of me questions anything that seems too good to be true. For the most part, though, reviews on the ski blogs about Snowpulse seem positive. Except some people say it restricts visibility while trying to ski. If you own one, leave a review. Prove me wrong.
Here’s my theory: If you need a backcountry backpack anyway, you might as well have one with an airbag. Either I’m going to use those 3 seconds before I get caught in an avalanche to pray, scream or pull an airbag that may save my life. I chose the latter … should it ever come down in price, that is.