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Alpine skiing | avalanche safety

Is there any smarter investment than that in one´s own safety? Imagine it´s even something that might save your life in an emergency. If you are a freerider, don´t give coincidence any leverage – and don´t rely on your guardian angels. Despite the fact that even the best avalanche safety equipment will never guarantee your survival when bad comes to worse, it yet forms a great tag team, alongside your common sense, when it´s all about preparing for a case of emergency.
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Avalanche Safety at Sport Conrad

The peace and quiet away from the busy slopes is incomparable - here you can enjoy nature while freeriding or skitouring and have the mountain all to yourself. To be prepared for the next deep snow adventure in the mountains, you should not only pack skis, poles and a helmet, but also avalanche equipment. Because untracked slopes not only offer downhill enjoyment, they also harbor a number of dangers. Avalanches often slide unexpectedly and should never be underestimated. In order to be safe in the backcountry, you should study the snow conditions in detail beforehand and know how to act in an emergency - because it can be a matter of life and death. In order to know exactly how to use an avalanche shovel and the like, it is advisable to take an avalanche training course in which you learn the basics. If you now want to equip yourself with your own set, we have summarized in this text again the functionalities, so you know what you should look for when buying. 

What equipment is available and how do you use it?

A complete avalanche kit consists of three devices: the tracker beacon, the probe and the shovel.

The tracker beacon is designed to locate buried victims who are also carrying a tracker beacon. While skiing, you set your device to transmit mode, which means you send a signal continuously. If one gets into an avalanche, the searching person sets the search mode, so that both devices can find each other thanks to effective search strip width and multiple antennas, and the buried person can be rescued quickly. Tracker beacons usually have a small, clear display and are designed to be easy to use. Some devices also have integrated voice navigation, which gives clear instructions and ensures that the searcher remains calm.

The next steps

If the tracker beacon has struck, the next step is to use the avalanche probe. Thanks to its length, it can be used to determine the exact position of the buried victim or victims and also to measure how deep the victim lies. A tip at the end of the avalanche probe ensures that you can easily pierce the snow. Probes are transported folded, but can be tightened in seconds, even when wearing gloves.

Once the victim has been accurately located, the shovel can be used to free him or her from the masses of snow. Although avalanche shovels are made of aluminum, lightweight and foldable, they still have the right power. The handle and shaft are designed so that a perfect transmission of power can take place. The shovel blade is relatively flat with large shovel volume. After recovery, the handle and shaft can either be completely detached from the shovel blade or the shaft can be pushed together.

Avalanche backpacks

You wear the tracker beacon directly on your body with a special strap. However, to carry your additional avalanche equipment on your ski tour or freeride adventure, you should wear a backpack. Special ski backpacks have plenty of volume, so you can take your avalanche kit, a change of clothes, drinks and snacks with you on the mountain. Separate compartments provide enough space for a probe and shovel. In addition, chest and hip straps ensure that the backpack sits firmly on your back and does not bother you during the descent through the powder.

In addition to classic ski backpacks, special avalanche backpacks have also become popular. These have a special avalanche airbag that is triggered as soon as you activate it on a handle. Thanks to the air cushion, you stay as far as possible above the snow surface and thus increase the chance of survival. In terms of price, avalanche backpacks are significantly higher than classic ski backpacks. If you spend a lot of time off-piste and like to take risks, the purchase of an airbag backpack is certainly worth considering for the added safety.

Other accessories

In addition to the avalanche equipment, a few other helpers for emergency equipment should not be missing in your backpack. A small first aid kit takes up little space, but can be an important companion for first aid. Here you have bandage material, plaster and warming blanket compactly and clearly in one hand. Another part of your basic equipment should be a bivy bag. Even if there is no avalanche, there are still dangers in the mountains, such as sudden changes in the weather. If you need to rely on help, a bivy bag can protect you from the elements and keep you warm in the meantime.

The Sport Conrad range

At Sport Conrad, you'll find a wide range of products from Ortovox, Pieps and other brands that no backcountry adventure should be without. In addition to probe, shovel and avalanche transceiver, complete avalanche safety sets are also available. Thanks to the large selection of backpacks, you will find the right size for your back. Special women's models have been developed specifically for the anatomy of women. Now strap on your skis and enjoy the powder!