An avalanche beacon with NO SEARCH MODE!? Are you F-ing kidding me? No. Seriously, you’re not kidding? Ah, then you have successfully invented and marketed the most dangerous piece of “avalanche safety gear” the world has ever know. Congratulations. “Affordable mountain safety.” That’s what the company Snow-Beacon is calling their new product: Snow-Be. Snow-Be is an avalanche transceiver with ONE large catch. IT HAS NO SEARCH MODE.



The Most Dangerous Piece of "Avalanche Safety Gear" The World Has EVER KNOW | The “Snow-Be” has NO SEARCH MODE



An avalanche beacon with NO SEARCH MODE!?  Are you kidding me?  No?  You’re not kidding?  Ah, then you have successfully invented and marketed the most dangerous piece of “avalanche safety gear” the world has ever know.  Congratulations.

“Affordable mountain safety.” 

That’s what the company Snow-Beacon is calling their new product:  Snow-Be.

Snow-Be is an avalanche transceiver with ONE large catch.  IT HAS NO SEARCH MODE.


“…James [snow-beacon founder] knew he needed to get his family kitted out with avalanche safety gear but was frankly put off by the cost.

Finding this situation completely unacceptable, he decided to make affordable avalanche safety gear himself and thus Snow Beacon was born.”- Snow-Beacon

YES!!!  Someone finally said it!  The lives of your family members just aren’t worth the cost of avalanche beacons!  I mean, c’mon, who are these “family” people anyway and why should we worry about their “avalanche gear” or “safety” or “lives” especially if it’s inconvenient to our wallets?



– No search mode

– You cannot locate a partner buried in an avalanche with a Snow-Be

– An experienced backcountry skier/rider would never accept a partner that uses a “Snow-Be”…Thus, you’ll always end up with unexperienced partners who also have “Snow-Bes” rendering you both absolutely useless towards each other’s rescue

– If there is an avalanche, and you aren’t buried, you cannot switch to Search mode to make sure rescuers aren’t searching for you.  Sure, you could turn your “Snow-Be” off, but what if there is another avalanche?  Then you’ve got No Beacon At All...

– Could provide you with a false sense of security that could put you into a potentially fatal situation

– Could get you past an avalanche beacon check point and dump you into serious avalanche terrain with no way to rescue anyone and clearly no knowledge of avalanches themselves and you likely won’t be with a knowledgable partner to rescue you if you do get into an avalanche

– No experienced backcountry skier/rider would ever use a “Snow-Be”

here you go kid, hope someone finds you out there


Wearing the “Snow-Be” means that if you get buried in an avalanche, only someone with a real avalanche transceiver could potentially find you.  But, if your partner has a Snow-Be as well, you’re shit outta luck as your “Snow-Be” HAS NO SEARCH MODE.

Does this product make any sense at all?  No.  Not at all.

You’re banking on the possibility that someone near you RANDOMLY has a real avy beacon and the ability to use it.  The “Snow-Be” is no place to secure your life in avalanche terrain.

Besides, who in their right mind would wanna ski avalanche terrain with you if you have no knowledge about avalanches, are wearing a Snow-Be, and have NO POTENTIAL TO SAVE YOUR PARTNERS WHATSOEVER?

By wearing a Snow-Be, you’re declaring yourself completely useless in any avalanche situation.  Your only hope if you get buried is that someone nearby has a real avalanche transceiver and that they have enough training to find you.


– It’s cheaper than a real avalanche transceiver ($75 versus $300 for a normal avy beacon)

– It provides “peace of mind”

– It targets “avalanche uneducated” people who are looking for something to calm their avalanche fears


I’m sure these guys have good intentions, but this seems like the worst idea in avalanche technology ever created.



“Your personal guide, or snow-be, faced in either pink or dark grey, is your way of transmitting your location at all times.

The snow-be is extremely simple to use, before you hit the slopes press the switch down for about a second and it starts to transmit. The green light flashes immediately after each transmission has been sent.

The snow-be is powered by AA batteries and, with new batteries installed, will transmit continually for up to 200 hours.” – Snow-Beacon

I dont’ even know where to begin with this statement by Snow-Beacon.  Oh, wait, yes I do:

A:  People are often missing clothing after being caught in an avalanche.  You NEVER put an avalanche beacon in your pocket due to this prevalent fact.  Instructing people to put an avalanche beacon in their pocket is extremely irresponsible.

B:  They site 15 minute survival times…how is this product going to keep that period under 15 minutes?  This product will extend you burial time due to you definitely not being with someone with a real avy beacon (who would ski with you if you didn’t have the potential to rescue them from an avy burial?)

 C:  Snow-Be is certainly no “personal guide.”  It has more potential to do harm than good and that is not what any guide in any situation would do.


“The survival window for someone trapped in an avalanche is about 15 minutes.

Our aim is to give everyone the chance to survive an avalanche for only the cost of a day’s lift pass.

Fitting snugly in a zipped ski jacket pocket, anyone can carry one of our personal transmitters or “snow-be” as we like to call it.

Avalanches are deadly and, as high-lighted by the devastation in Chamonix in 2006, they can happen anywhere, even in resort. We therefore encourage you to carry your transmitter at all times, whatever your age.

Our active system sends out radio signals at the international avalanche beacon standard frequency of 457KHz, so anyone with an avalanche victim locator system, within range, has the capacity to track the signal. – Snow-Beacon


Please, do yourself a favor and DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT.

There are SO MANY aspects of this product that are unsafe that I cannot even confront them all.  I’m going to gather all my thoughts on this and write another post about this product soon.

My only fear with writing this post is that I’m giving them publicity.  I’m hoping this is an exception to the saying “there is no such thing as bad publicity.”

Since blasting this product in this post, “Snow-Beacon” has Greatly Modified their site including:

 – DELETING the Founders Name…kinda “shady”

CHANGING their Email Address

CORRECTING the Product Description

Read our post on these “snow-beacon” website modifications here:  


Thanks to our Aussie brethren at for bringing this product to our attention.

**This post was originally posted at 10pm PST on May 22nd, 2012.**

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  • cb

    Just took another look at the Snow-Be page and they have done it again. Its now an affordable training tool.
    “Please note, this unit must only be used as an avalanche training tool and its use in any other context is strictly forbidden.”

    farking finally THIS is a correct use for it,,,

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  • B

    Hey guys, have you heard of this super dangerous chemical, DHMO?

    Dangers include:
    -Death due to accidental inhalation of DHMO, even in small quantities.
    -Prolonged exposure to solid DHMO causes severe tissue damage.
    -Excessive ingestion produces a number of unpleasant though not typically life-threatening side-effects.
    -DHMO is a major component of acid rain.
    -Gaseous DHMO can cause severe burns.
    -Contributes to soil erosion.
    -Leads to corrosion and oxidation of many metals.
    -Contamination of electrical systems often causes short-circuits.
    -Exposure decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes.
    -Found in biopsies of pre-cancerous tumors and lesions.
    -Given to vicious dogs involved in recent deadly attacks.
    -Often associated with killer cyclones in the U.S. Midwest and elsewhere, and in hurricanes including deadly storms in Florida, New Orleans and other areas of the southeastern U.S.
    -Thermal variations in DHMO are a suspected contributor to the El Nino weather effect.

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  • Gareth

    Oh relax, its a device that transmits a signal for use by people without the training or ability to go looking for someone else. If you don’t want to go in to the back country with someone who can’t help find you and dig you out, don’t. I can think of lots of good applications for a device like this. Mostly when there are numerous trained people taking a few less experienced ones.
    I hope I never get in to a bind with these quarrelsome adventurers.

  • Marc

    How about telling the inventor about the “new” & improved life jacket….it’s made with lead….1/2 price!!

  • Reality Check

    They are apparently developing a beacon that transmits. Perhaps they decided to make some extra money by risking the lives of others with this dangerous product to pay for the R&D. Brilliant business model!

    Nice disclaimer too! If you die in an avalanche while using this device, they claim their liability is limited only up to the cost of the device. $80 bucks. Gee thanks! My kids dead.

    I’m sure there are lot’s of expert witnesses that would be happy to give testimony of how blatantly dangerous this product is.

    To the owner of, James Aubrey Robson: Please be responsible and recall the product until you can offer one that searches.

    • Super


      Oh, so you’re implying that bca, mammut, ortovox et al all assume liability for backcountry accidents?

      Pretty badly written article, just rehashing the same point over and over. Yawn

  • Reno local

    The Snow-be is like having a dick that you can piss with but can…….

    well you get the idea.

  • Bridgertroller

    We have terrain inbounds at Bridger where we require a transmitting beacon for access. That has helped in recovery in a non- avalanche related incident. We also have very avalanche-prone terrain adjacent to our area, which is skied a lot. I imagine we will see some of these devices at our hill, and I guess that if they can help find someone, they can’t be all bad. I see people with all the rescue gear do risky stuff, and a lot of them just have the gear, but no idea of how to use it, and definitely no avy savvy, either. This product will enable more uneducated types to access terrain with consequences they don’t understand. I hate to see a device with no receive mode, but it’s better than a probe line. Education for all users of the back/side country is what we need.

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  • HTuttle

    For the backcountry skiing family where the kids are too young to be able to search for someone anyway. But other than that, yeah, no use whatsoever.

  • Nick F.

    I think the website makes it pretty clear that this is for a resort setting. For the resort skier who NEVER travels into the BC and would like the added security for the rare, but possible, in bounds avalanche, this makes sense. 99% of resort skiers are not going to invest in a $300+ transceiver because of the cost and need, but at $75, why not get the extra insurance, just in case?

    That being said, I would think it would be just too much liability for someone to make/sell these. No one in their right mind would use this in the BC, but sadly some gaper will probably read the warnings/understand the limitations of the device and get themselves (or their friend) killed.

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