How scary are avalanches??
Extremely!! We have no idea what we'd do if that much weight of snow came barreling down at us! We get nervous just thinking about it!
Unfortunately 20 to 30 people A YEAR since 1990 have died in avalanches.
Leave it up to technology that we can file under Why Haven't We Thought Of This Before to make things just a little bit safer!
Alpine Sport Air Bags!
NorthFace is the mind behind it, and based their ideas on car air bags — and plan to include them in high-end backpacks next year for serious climbers. Though, we would argue that when an avalanche is coming it doesn't freaking care if you're "serious" or not, and we would submit that a "serious" climber would need it less knowing a bit more than a noob on how to handle the situation.
Shizz should be standard like in cars, for everyone!
The vest has a rip cord, and like in the pic above, two wing-like bags fill with nitrogen (which has less flight restrictions) and the goal is to keep you closer to the surface, or on the surface of the snow. Cool thing is is that it's reusable (let's hope you don't need to use it more than once, if ever) because you can just load another nitro canister in that sucker.
This is just another thing in the arsenal against avalanches, but perhaps the most helpful next to a beacon. There are also shovels and breathing devices.
[Image via Jesse Emspak.]