Rated 5 out of 5
by Jeremy Uses...
On the occasion you are fortunate enough to ride in truly transcendent waist deep blower (choking) powder try using the AvaLung as a "snorkel". Long ago we would break out cheap snorkels on blower days in the Wasatch, but I now find this a more practical, and elegant, solution.
The directions recommend either placing the mouthpiece in your mouth or having it in the "ready" position. I understand for some it is not comfortable to have it in your mouth while riding, but the idea that in the event of a slide, falling into a tree well, etc. you will have the time, situational awareness, and ability to position it properly is marginal at best. Briefly run through a hypothetical scenario and then imagine sympathetic nervous system hyperdrive, which as many of you know personally is no friend to deliberate ordered thought and planning. I vividly imagine the frustration and panic I would feel if I were to find myself in a position where the mouthpiece was just beyond my "grasp" (picture a child fumbling for a straw in a soft drink); and to me it is clear what position the mouthpiece should be in.
Stilling praying I never need it for its intended purpose, but there is no denying its usefulness.
Thank you ZackG for your personal and impassioned assessment.
January 4, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by Chris Awesome product
With suffocation in tree wells a really common cause of death at ski resorts the Avalung is really good idea for those of us that love trees. It is inexpensive and comfortable, which makes it a no brainer.
March 15, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Tyler Fool-proof design
This product is amazingly simple to figure out (remove mouthpiece from the sleeve, and bite down as you make your turns). This is a fantastic thing. Since this is a life-preserving device, simple is ALWAYS better, and this is about as simple as can be. I haven't had to use my Avalung for its intended purpose yet, and I pray I never will. But, should an instance arise where I am buried -though nothing can replace good judgement and quick reactions from buddies- my wife is just a bit more at ease with me taking epic turns.
Just FYI, should you take a fall in powder, do make sure that the mouthpiece is cleared. I caught an edge and went down in a tight glade and the mouthpiece got plugged with snow. I didn't even realize it until my buddy pointed it out on the hike back up.
January 23, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Matt Versatile Life Saver
A friend of mine was buried in 7' of snow for 45+ mins in a slide in Ophir, CO about three years ago. He survived because of his Avalung. I immediately bought a BD Alias pack with the Avalung incorporated into it. I wasn't a huge fan of that year's model of Alias, but I would always ski with it because it had the Avalung. Between needing a different size pack for different hut trips or quick backcountry laps I was wanting to use other packs, but couldn't until I got the Avalung II. I can wear whatever pack I want/need and still feel more comfortable out there having the Avalung with me.
December 28, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by Marcus Great product you never hope to use
Although we all hope to never use these type of products, knowing they are there gives you a little more reassurance just in case.
I like the Avalung sling as I often use different backpacks for different days out.
It is fairly easy to wear. You just need to position it close to your mouth and comfortably under another pack. It adjusts to accommodate thicker jackets etc.
Without ever getting buried in an avalanche we'll never know how it truly performs, but it seems to live up to all the claims made in the description.
November 5, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by ZackG Stop kidding yourself!
I started using the Avalung (vest) in 98' the first year they were available. Back then almost every snow safety professional was against the idea due to the notion that they would promote reckless behavior in avalanche terrain... I'm sorry, but I've been involved in this discussion for over a decade and have very little tolerance for this close-minded perspective. The Avalung is a tool just like the beacon, shovel or your probe. In many situations, the Avalung (just like a beacon or an air bag) will due you no good and that is a fact. It is about giving yourself the best odds possible for survival and just like other tool's it will do you no good if you don't know or are not prepared to use it.
There are many ways to die from asphyxiation due to snow. In the Pacific North West where I now live, Non-avalanche-related snow immersion death (NARSID) account for more fatalities than avalanches. This means tree wells, creeks and other small hazards. If you then include super small avalanches that merely cover the victim, the statistics are overwhelmingly disproportionate and indicate that this is a much larger problem than most people realize. The Avalung is a perfect tool for these type's of situations. Situations, where an air bag will due you no good!
Story - A few years back I managed to get myself in over my head. I was forced to air out of a line maybe 40 ft to a flattish landing. My bomb hole was deep and I was stuck. Seconds later, a flood of slough buried me in about three feet of rubble. I was able to insert my Avalung and calm myself. Instead of having to pack out and protect and air pocket, I was able to start digging. My partner was maybe only 150 ft. away and responded immediately but because of the deep snow he was chest deep and very delayed. Using the Avalung I was able to dig myself out while he was still wallowing through the powder. Do you think I was thankful to be using an Avalung? You bet!
Story - Twice, I've had the unfortunate experience of looking for my little brother under avi debree! Do you think I was happy to find him using his avalung? You bet!
Story - Once when I was 19 I was skiing Granite Canyon at Jackson Hole with my friend and ski instructor Allen Wagner. He cut off a small (50ft by 50ft) two foot deep slab. Only 20ft from me, I held onto a tree as the slide took him down the chute and into the snow field below. I skied down as fast as anyone could have. I immediately picked up the beacon signal at the toe of the debree. With perfect luck I located him and struck him with my first probe. Only three feet deep, I had his face uncovered within a minute. Expecting a snow plug, I fished inside his mouth and throat but found nothing. Expecting some kind of movement, expecting some life, I found nothing. My brother and I preformed CPR but still nothing. I had a long trip going for help and plenty of time to reflect on what I could have done. I've had 14 years now to reflect on what I could have done. If you think you could have responded any faster than I did, you are mistaken. If you really believe that you have 15 minutes to respond, you are mistaken. If you think this only happens to other people, you are mistaken! Sure that trauma must have been the cause of death, I was destroyed to find out the autopsy declared it asphyxiation. Do you think I turn it over in my mind almost every day I go skiing? You bet! Do you think I wish he'd been wearing an Avalung? You f*%$ing bet I do!
Now I use and Air bag with an Avalung II Sling. Still I know these are only tools to help the odds that when something goes wrong are very much against us. So let's stop kidding ourselves. Save the resistance for something that is more expensive, heavier, and wont potentially save your life.
May 20, 2013