This article by Utah Avalanche Center’s, Bruce Tremper, shines some light on the truth about Avalanche Airbags. Anyone Who Skis The Backcountry Should Read This!
This winter I noticed a magazine advertisement for an avalanche airbag pack that claimed “A 97 percent success rate in real world conditions.” What the advertisement didn’t mention was that people caught WITHOUT an avalanche airbag have an 80 – 90 percent success rate. In other words, most people caught in an avalanche will get a cheap lesson; they will either escape off the slab, grab a tree, dig into the bed surface, ride on top of the debris, it will be a small avalanche that wouldn’t burry them anyway, they could be saved by a beacon recovery or they could just get lucky. Most people caught in an avalanche will survive, which is very good news for all of us.
It’s like the example my college statistics professor presented in which Sanka advertised their decaf coffee as “97 percent caffeine free.” What they didn’t tell you was that regular coffee is 90 percent caffeine free. This, no doubt, sells much more coffee than saying that their decaf coffee has one-third the caffeine as regular coffee, which is much less misleading.
Keep reading at utahavalanchecenter.org