Friday, March 3, 2017

New Mammut Barryvox and BarryvoxS avalanche beacons for Fall 2017

The proverbial cat is out of the bag on our new avalanche transceivers, so here is some information for people who have questions about the new beacons or about Mammut's continuing warranty & service for their existing Pulse or Element beacons.  This post has background info and details on the new beacons, as well as a timeline for availability, info for warranty during the transition, and some info for operators utilizing our fleet management tools.

First, a little history:  Barry, the fabled Swiss avalanche rescue dog (link), is the namesake of the Mammut Barryvox beacons—Vox means voice, so BARRYVOX means “Barry’s Voice”, or “the sound of rescue on the way”. Because of this we like to say the Barryvox has been at the forefront of avalanche rescue from the rescue dog, to the very first avalanche beacon technology, and now to the new Barryvox S and Barryvox avalanche transceivers, which will be new in October of 2017.  
The new BarryvoxS avalanche beacon, available Fall 2017, utilizes dynamic screen icons such as the rescuer running down the avalanche path shown here during the signal-search, in order to visually cue a rescuer throughout the search.  Extensive usability testing during development allowed us to find the most intuitive-to-follow icons, as well as help to alleviate some common searching errors.

The existing Pulse Barryvox and Element Barryvox beacons will be replaced by these new beacons and, since we are out for this winter will no longer be available.  Mammut will continue to provide warranty and after-sales service for the Pulse and Element as we have in the past.  Any owners or fleet operators with concerns about this, please read the "Fleet Operators & fleet management tools" section at the bottom of this post and then if you want give us a call at North American HQ at (800) 451-5127, or if you're outside the US and Canada at the Barryvox Service Center in your country (link).

OVERVIEW
The basic functions of both the Pulse and Element are intact in the new beacons, but we dramatically improved the simplicity, ease of use and the performance of both.  Both are 3-antenna beacons with a marking function, and the new development was focused on three main priorities:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Northeast and California Backcountry Events

Northeasterners, fear not--we haven't forgotten about you! Mammut reps will be attending a few backcountry ski/board and snow safety events this winter and spring in the Northeast region.  Most offer clinics, practice and a chance to check out gear--it isn't as easy to find quality info and equipment selection in the Northeast as it is in other areas, so if you have questions or want to see the gear firsthand, this is a great opportunity to check out some of the coolest backcountry in the East, along with the latest backcountry travel and safety equipment.  If you're interested in checking out a new beacon or pack, or have questions about backcountry safety or equipment for us, stop by and say hi!

NOTICE:  Unfortunately, the 2017 Mountaineer Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival (link) in Keene Valley, NY has been CANCELLED due to the unseasonably warm weather making for no-go conditions on many of the event venues.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Are Avalanche Airbags Effective in the Eastern US and Canada?

Here at Mammut we sometimes get contacted about what our stance is on avalanche airbags in the Northeastern US and Quebec, Canada.  The topic came up again recently, so I put this together to give people the relevant information to judge for themselves.  I also wanted to hear from some experts on the subject and see what thoughts they had. It's turned out to be a bit lengthy, hopefully some of you find this helpful because we think the conclusions are valid anywhere, not just the East.

First, some of you may be thinking that "Eastern avalanche terrain" is an oxymoron, and herein lies some of the issue.  Many Eastern skiers spend much of their time in areas that simply aren't avalanche-prone, and because of this it's completely normal for many backcountry skiers to not carry any avalanche rescue equipment.  But, as Frank Carus, the acting Lead Snow Ranger for the Mount Washington Avalanche Center (link) points out:   "We have plenty of places where you can get buried".
The North Face of Gothics in New York's Adirondacks is a popular spring ice and snow climbing route, but occasionally holds enough snow to get skied, or to avalanche.

The Northeastern US and Quebec are both speckled with terrain that has become popular with skiers and riders, areas that in some cases are remarkably similar to the Rockies and the West that is more typically associated with avalanche terrain.  Every couple years there are avalanche accidents (link), including fatalities (link), across the region to prove this point.
One issue that Carus and others wrestle with is the perception among some people--even those who are aware of Eastern avalanches--that even though the East has them, that "Eastern avalanches are different".