Snow-Be

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.

ABOUT US = “SNOW-BEACON”:

“…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?

Snow-be

WHY “SNOW-BE” IS IRRESPONSIBLE:

- 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

USING THE “SNOW-BE”:

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.

WHY WOULD THEY EVEN SELL THIS THING?

- 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.

snow-be

DESCRIPTION of SNOW-BE:

“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.

WHY WE [SNOW-BEACON] DO IT:

“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:  

NO SEARCH MODE AVY BEACON “SNOW-BE” MODIFIES WEBSITE | FOUNDER’S NAME DELETED, EMAIL CHANGED, PRODUCT DESCRIPTION CORRECTED

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

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

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162 Comments

  1. Jake Cohn says:

    Title should read:
    The Most Dangerous Piece of “Avalanche Safety Gear” Since the RECCO Rescue System

    Reply
    • meisterburger says:

      What’s dangerous about RECCO?

      Reply
      • Mat says:

        When you buy something with RECCO on it…nobody tells you that is to find your lifeless body ages after ‘the’ accident. Everyone thinks that RECCO will ‘save your life’

        Reply
        • nate says:

          do your research, it has saved lives, mostly in europe at this point.

          Reply
        • Nick says:

          Very few patrols in north america even use, or know how to use the system. 3 avalanche patrolers know how to use it in whistler blackcomb out of around 800 actually know how to use it. And it has to be used from a helicopter. So you’ll be dead by the time they find you.

          Reply
          • Random Joe says:

            Actually a RECCO detector doesn’t have to be used from a helicopter, it can be used on the ground as well. Also the latest RECCO detectors have a standard avalanche transceiver search mode built in as well i.e. you can also find Pieps etc.

          • nate says:

            funny, i’ve seen many of snowbird’s patrollers training with it numerous times throughout the course of the season with a rather portable looking handheld transceiver. i’m not advocating for recco, it has saved lives though.

          • Alex says:

            RECCO is a system that is used not as a substitute but in addition to other systems. Though I may be wrong, I have also heard that RECCO is capable of penetrating further into the debris, though that situation does not help with live recovery. Those who are venturing into the backcountry need to do their research and be fully prepared with at minimum a probe, shovel, and receiver. RECCO is a system that can add further aid in live and body recovery. If i were to die in a slide, I would rather my family be able to have closure with my body found sooner rather than waiting until spring or summer to be found.
            I know that there were patrollers using the RECCO system at a inbounds recovery attempt during a slide at Big White, B.C. in 07/08. So there are people trained at the larger mountains, what’s the harm in pushing to get more trained.
            Just my two cents.

          • steezymatt says:

            There are over 600 operations (ski resorts, national parks, police, search & rescue groups, helicopter skiing operations, etc.) that are trained to use the Recco search system, that includes over 60 ski resorts in the USA & nearly 40 ski resorts in Canada. I find it hard to believe that only 3 out of 800 patrollers at Whistler/Blackcomb have been trained to use the Recco system.
            The fact is that you are a more likely to be rescued with a Recco tag on your jacket. If you were skiing in a group with people equipped with the “Snow-Be” it would be likely that someone wouldn’t know to turn it off & that beacon would distract the beacons that actually have a search mode.

        • Tiia says:

          RECCO has saved lives in europe. it works there due to the insane concentration of ski resorts, big terrain, population centers (read=big avys inbounds and close to towns) and immediate access to the technology. it’s idiotic to think it will save your life, but it’s a nice, inexpensive extra tab in your clothing that might, or might not improve your chances of survival. in europe.

          Reply
    • Herb says:

      Dangerous and selfish!!! “I want to ski with you in the backcountry but I’m too lazy to get educated on safe backcountry rescue, so please dig me out if I get buried. I’m not interested in saving YOUR life though!”
      What happens if the ONE GUY with a REAL beacon gets buried!!!

      Reply
    • Stano says:

      For the autor and others-a-like:

      What makes this product dangerous?
      Were’s your logic?
      You got no argument.

      I guess Scout device is stupid too cause it only sends a signal as well :)

      Car is way more dangerous product then this transmit-only beacon. It can kill in an instant, it gives lots of people extra ego or provides false sense of security. I guess I just gave you a new topic to write about :)

      All products are meant for (targeting) certain users.

      And if anyone actually checks their website (and more than just the home page) you can see they are making sure to communicate that this is a “resort-based avalanche beacon” and that it only transmits.

      I would not buy the product because I am an avid backcountry skier so I have a normal avi beacon, however, for someone that just ski resorts and maybe a touch out-of-bounds this is a perfectly legit product at a very affordable price. Better have something than nothing. I would rather go help find someone that has this with him than nothing. And when I go to backcountry I do not worry whether ski resort people can find me anyways, cause they can’t and I am miles away. And anyone (if anyone) that I meet there knows the difference and buys a normal beacon.

      You know what kind of a skier you are, so make your choices based on that.

      Reply
      • Dylan says:

        Stano,

        The problem is we are more educated the 95% of the people that will buy this. It’s going to give people confidence to go out of bounds when they shouldn’t regardless of what the website says. Hell people go into the BC already without beacons, this is just going to make it worse I think.

        Reply
      • Connor says:

        Hmm I wonder if this was sent from Snow-Be…?

        Reply
      • Bigger Sky says:

        IF you were paying attention, they changed their website to say resort based. I do think it was always implied, but this piece of shit would give some Texas gaper the confidence to duck a rope and find some freshies. They would bring their equally gaper friend, also decked outwith a snow be, and on the off chance one is caught in an avalanche they are both useless unless they can get back in-bounds and find a patroller with a real avy beacon. Which would take around 40 min+, aka dead. This could be viable as a cheap second beacon if your first (real) one fails, but you should be checking your beacon before going out of bounds anyways. Overall this is crap gear marketed at skiers that wouldn’t know an avalache if they saw one.

        Reply
      • Slackjaw says:

        get your facts straight, Stano…the amended ALL of the marketing language about this product in the past few says and only added “resort-based” after Unofficial called them out on it…

        This product is garbage, and you’re simply a mouth-breathing idiot for offering your tacit endorsement of the product without any real idea what the fuc* you’re talking about!

        Go be irresponsible somewhere else! Douchebag!

        Reply
    • Mike barter says:

      This review is pretty bad. The manufacturer clearly states that this is not for back country use. there are plenty of legit reasons why this gear would be useful for the price. If miles was really a mountain guide he would know this. Recco in NA is pretty much a body recovery device. Over teh last winter I had the Recco search out severall times. I had a hard time finding the recco when it was sitting on the table in plain sight.

      Reply
      • Anon says:

        Are you kidding? Even in a resort it’s horrible for the same reasons the author listed:
        - the only way to keep it from transmitting is by turning it off
        – if everyone is going to use one of these it’s going to be like cell-phones in a movie-theatre: someone’s always going to forget to turn it off
        - if you DO turn it off and there’s another avalanche you’re screwed. And yes repeated avalanches are common enough to warrant this being a major issue

        Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      Recco is also free.

      Reply
  2. Bricklin says:

    it’s for his dogs…

    Reply
    • Geriatic S Gurl says:

      “Woof, woof !”
      “Lassie, did Timmy fall down the chute again ?”
      “Woof, woof, woof !”
      “Lassie, did Timmy have his beacon with him ?”
      “Woof, woof, woof, arf arf !”
      “Lassie, go find Timmy!”
      “Woof, Woof, WOOF ARF ARF EEP EEP NO SEARCH FUNCTION ON THIS POS Dog Snow- Be ! I’m only a dog, not an electronics engineer !”

      Reply
    • Amore says:

      A dog beacon must operate on a different frequency, as to not misdirect a search for a buried human.

      Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      wouldn’t put it on my dog

      Reply
  3. meisterburger says:

    I disagree. Giving a real beacon to a kid wouldn’t do any good anyways. You might as well get one for junior as long as it does not cloud your judgement. That IS a viable concern. Yes, this would be a bad idea to use it in the backcountry, but it WOULD work just fine in a resort setting. Sure, it might be kinda stupid to pay for it, but it IS cheaper than a real beacon if you are going to get rescued by ski patrol in-bounds, and it certainly is NOT dangerous. The “slip it in your pocket” marketing scheme is stupid though, you have a point.

    Reply
    • Lloyd Braun says:

      how can you say this is not dangerous. the marketing is geared toward the resort skier who has no snow safety education. that marketing causes a false sense of safety for the user. And a 7 year old is capeable of using a transciever.

      Reply
    • imbetterthanyou.com/Gnar says:

      I gave a real beacon to my 5 year old niece. We turned it into a fun game when she was getting tired of skiing and before long she was locating the buried beacon very quickly with no issues. Im not sure that I would want her leading the search for me but she did great and in an emergency a 5 year old could save your life.

      Reply
      • Tiia says:

        I agree. I think if you find the need to get your kid a beacon, get them started on learning how to use a real one then.. I ski at bridger bowl and I see little rippers hiking out of bounds all the time with all their gear on. they gotta learn sometime!

        Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      My son is 7 and has been wearing a beacon for 3 years, I think he know how to use it better the some adults. Don’t let age fool you it’s old people that done understand today’s electronics. Give a old person a iPod and get them to figure it out then give it to a kid thee child will have it figured out in no time.

      Reply
  4. CRR says:

    “Snow Beacon was established by James Aubrey Robson, an enthusiastic skier who, with the amazing developments in ski technology, likes to spend most of his holidays in the mountains. ” HAHAHA

    Reply
    • wtf says:

      Wow spends most of his holidays in the mountains….what a core dude. I wonder what this guys real job is.

      Reply
  5. Matt W says:

    This article has SO many grammar issues and misspelled words it’s ridiculous. I’m glad your getting the word out there about the Snow-Be, but seriously–proof read an article before you throw it out there.

    Reply
  6. Name says:

    ^^^ What?? What could be dangerous about RECCO?

    Reply
    • meisterburger says:

      Are you being sarcastic? If you are then you should probably do some more research. RECCO is just as effective as regular beacon searches in-bounds.

      Reply
  7. I don't eat meat says:

    If this product ever mentioned ‘strict inbounds use for rugrats’ you might be on the right track to eventually making a point. However, this is the exact mindset that makes the product dangerous. “let’s give kids who don’t know how to use a beacon a dumbed down version of a beacon and take them into terrain that might slide.” THERE IS THE FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY THAT ACTUALLY KILLS PEOPLE

    Reply
    • Brooke Trout says:

      Just like the RECCO System “NAME”

      Reply
      • Name says:

        Don’t be a dipshit. Obviously you should wear your beacon in the backcountry. Unlike this piece of shit the RECCO isn’t advertised as a substitute for a beacon. Nobody buys a jacket with a RECCO receiver in it thinking “oh now I don’t need a beacon.” That’s not what RECCO is for. Ski patrol uses RECCO for freak accidents that happen inbounds or when it’s 10:00 pm and you’re walking back from the bar at Alta and a slide from superior crosses the road and takes you out. And yes also for people dumb enough to wonder out into the backcountry without a beacon. But the RECCO itself is a great backup tool for ski patrol. They train with it all the time.

        Reply
  8. zach says:

    Allows patrol to search for people in bounds. Better than nothing in a resort setting.

    Reply
  9. Will shikany says:

    Honestly, this was probably made for young children in mind so their worrying parents could feel better about letting them lose on te mountain, which makes sense for a kid. I think this is a great idea for young kids skiing solely in the resort. Of course, it should never be used as a replacement for a real beacon.

    Reply
    • Dylan says:

      So when Junior is out skiing with his buds and one gets snagged in a slide they can do what exactly? talk about a false sense of security and awful parenting.

      Reply
  10. John Lemieux says:

    There’s nothing dangerous about this beacon. There IS something dangerous about going into the backcountry with idiots.

    Reply
  11. recco and snow be for president says:

    I have been using RECCO for many years while I go ski blading in the back country. I think I’ll pick up the Snow Be this season so I can feel even more extreme.

    Reply
  12. Hairfarmr says:

    Does it come w/ cigarettes, a shot gun and some Lone Star ??

    Reply
  13. Squaw Ultra Ripper says:

    Having a beacon transmitting from someone who may not be aware they’re transmitting could be very dangerous. They could really screw up a real rescue by not switching off and causing the searchers beacons to flip-flop between their signal and the buried beacon.
    On a side note, I ski with my beacon in my zipped pants pocket, screen facing in, on a leash, nothing else in the pocket.
    I’ll bet they offer a dog mounted version.

    Reply
  14. brian says:

    i will pay everyone who comments on this article $5 if they dont talk about recco. there are already enough people defending this product that we can just skip the word recco, ok? it will turn into a godamn internet riot again

    that said, anyone defending this product who thinks its designed for anyone OTHER THAN a small child or dog, is fucking retarded and obviously doesnt understand snow safety. actually let me back up, if youre bringing a small child into the back country you might be fucking retarded already. in fact, if they are both too small to understand why they need a search mode and incapable of actually attempting a rescue, but youre ok with them playing in avalanche terrain, maybe its best for all of us if you guys both wear one of these. darwin was on to something i think.

    Reply
    • nate says:

      i don’t think these were designed for backcountry use at all, or at least i hope not.

      Reply
      • Jason says:

        I believe to quote “Your personal guide” implies an out-of-bounds use…. definately a false sense of security. People who would buy this definately would believe it would make you “safe” in avalanche terrain. The only way to be safe is to avoid avalanche terrain all together, not buy this product.

        Reply
  15. nate says:

    the only problem i see with this is, as some people have mentioned, that the people using it most likely aren’t aware enough to turn it off in case of a burial/beacon search situation if they are in range. for people making trips to areas where inbounds slide are a possibility (most western resorts…), it’s a great idea as many people do wear beacons frequently, are practiced at using them and could likely save some tourists life if they were wearing one. it seems similar in concept to these: http://www.backcountry.com/pieps-freeride-avalanche-beacon, I believe pieps may have even made something without a search mode at some point as well but I may be mistaken.

    Reply
  16. anna says:

    What a storm in a teacup! This is a transmitter beacon and does not pretend to be anything else. Carrying a transmitter does not automatically make you safe… it allows you to be found in the event of being buried. Miles Clark trying to get some publicity here by being ‘controversial’! If you actually look on the website for more than trying to shoot down, a transponder is currently being tested to be released with snow-be soon. I would have thought the ski community would applaud someone taking the incentive to develop a cost effective mountain rescue product, but no – vindictive, ill-informed comments…

    Reply
    • Storm in a Teacup! says:

      As you’ve said, “Carrying a transmitter does not automatically make you safe”. And yet, this is how a device like this will make people feel.

      The reason the ski community is not applauding this device as you thought the would, is because people carrying it will feel they can take risks that they otherwise wouldn’t without it, relying on others to put their lives at risk to get them out of trouble.

      Additionally, a transmitter in itself denotes the inherent usage in avalanche terrain, which is fine when you’re mentally prepared for avalanche terrain. Yet, this device, with all its cheap price point, is aimed at the exact type of person that is NOT mentally prepared, nor educated to be able to evaluate conditions.

      Put it on your dog. Or wife. Nothing else.

      btw. Thanks for the new alias.

      Reply
    • TheFreshness says:

      Avalanche rescue equipment should be the VERY LAST piece of ski equipment that is “cost effective”!! Cut cost where it doesn’t involve lives…

      Reply
    • wtf says:

      If “cost effective” means zipping your one- way transceiver in your pocket, then I suggest trying to save money elsewhere. And leave avy safety gear development to people that actually know shit about bc and avalanches, not some shmuck that likes to “spend MOST of his HOLIDAYS” in the mountains. Everything you take into the bc is so you can possibly rescue someone else, this product throws all that out the window. And you can buy a real transceiver like a bca tracker dts and give someone else the chance to survive an avalanche for about the price of 2 day’s lift passes.

      Reply
  17. dingosean says:

    That’s going to kill someone…

    Reply
  18. chill says:

    Absowute disgwace. I wrant too knowa everwybodwy respwinsible for the devwelopment of wis product.
    Yours sincerewy, Dufwais Constantolinople

    Reply
  19. damon h says:

    pizza?

    Reply
  20. DJ says:

    The worst part about this product is that this guy stands to make a bunch of money on people’s ignorance. He thought to himself, “hey – I bet I can make this product, sell a bunch to fur wearing mom’s who sit in the chalets drinking lattes all day, while their 12 years old ski, and make a quick buck off of these losers.”

    In modern engineering (school or field) there is an ‘unofficial’ oath that you take stating the need for engineers to do due diligence when developing and manufacturing products. This product certainly is not an elegant solution and has many more negatives that out way the positives – but all that negative flack is lost on someone who only sees $$$$.

    Reply
  21. tornedge says:

    IMO, this gear is solely for in-resort use and is dependent on ski patrol search. I think most inbounds burials are handled by patrol who would likely prefer you keep your distance and not assist, regardless of how good your gear is. Pieps Freeride is an inexpensive but reliable piece primarily for transmitting .

    Reply
    • brian says:

      Definitely right about this only being used in bounds. To your other point though, I think a patrol would like you to stay out of the way while they do the search (unless they can’t get a signal, in which case you should certainly help), but once it comes time to dig, if you’ve got a shovel on your back I’m pretty sure they’re going to damn near demand your help. Unless its a clearly shallow burial, any shovel is a useful shovel. They’ll just put you downhill of them moving the snow they toss your way

      Reply
      • tornedge says:

        interesting question about assisting patrol. I have NEVER seen anyone assist patrol. when there is a serious situation, it’s like the slide zone area is sequestered, serious, scary, and sad. It feels like it would be ghoulish to hang around in any capacity.

        Reply
        • brian says:

          It happened this year… I wanna say kirkwood? Or Bridger? Not sure, but if you think about it, patrol knows better than most that every second counts, if they get to the top of a slide path with potential burials and they see someone with avy gear, they’re not going to say “stay back, other patrollers are on their way”. To find a signal you need to cover maximum ground in minimum time. Odds are that the patrol response will not mean 30 rescuers instaneously present when a slide happens. Likewise, if there’s 3 patrollers digging for someone 2m deep and there’s some guy with a shovel standing near by, they’re going to utilize the resources they have access to in order to save a life

          Reply
          • wheepickle says:

            when I have seen slides happen at bridger, I have seen other skiers around take action and turn to search mode. before, or regardless of the status of ski patrol. when a slide happens at bridger, it’s seems like a community help project to sweep the area for burials.

        • Daniel says:

          Kirkwood patrollers were accepting assistance from general public with avi gear to assist with line searches after an in-bounds slide this year.

          Reply
          • tornedge says:

            If the line search generally is happening after that first crucial 10 minutes, it’s usually irrelevant to life and death. Does patrol have time to organize the public in those first 10 minutes? I know if it was my family buried, it’d be hard to stand around and not do anything. But a group of unorganized people that have never worked together would take time to put into productive action. Speculation here is that search mode at a RESORT that is accustomed to burial search is not likely to ever be used. In deep snow, of course, only your buddies who are above you when you are buried are of any use. So odds of a buddy digging you out before patrol can do so, stationed at the top of most runs and arriving from above the incident location, are dim. Still, if I skied powder often in a small group, I’d want everyone packing the best beacon.

        • Dave says:

          Actually, many serious in-bounds slides will eventually end in a probe line consisting largely of bystanders if there is any chance of people still being buried. At most resorts you will see piles of probes cached around the mountain for this purpose. While usually this more of a recovery operation, a family survived through this point in the search process in the parking lot at snowbird a few years ago, but actually rescued themselves by managing to dig their way out of their fully buried suburban. Also, an initial course transceiver search goes much faster with more people involved.

          Reply
  22. sp says:

    so, basically “find me if i get buried, but if you get buried, well i dont want to pay the extra cost to help find you…”

    Reply
  23. swoop says:

    I don’t think the company had malicious intent:

    http://www.snow-beacon.com/products/snow-be/snow-be

    “This is not a back-country product, it is ideal for in-resort family skiing in the northern hemisphere conditions.
    Snow-be was originally developed because mountain sports are inheritently dangerous and people should not be excluded from carrying an ACTIVE avalanche TRANSMITTER

    When switched on, snow-e signals your location at all times.

    Please be aware snow-be has no search function and you cannot find anyone with or using it.
    If you wish to have a search function, you must carry a transceiver or receiver unit.

    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.”

    turned off by the fury behind this article, I hope nobody lets unofficialnetworks be their only information. People who read this website are probably not buying one, which is great because we don’t have to.

    Reply
    • Eric says:

      I think the biggest issue is that it can be mistaken for something it is not, despite how they clarify on their website.

      It is clearly not for use in the backcountry, and I cannot imagine its’ need in a resort. In the unlikely, but possible, chance of an inbounds slide you want someone there who can receive a signal; and correct me if I’m wrong but if you’re waiting for the ski patrol to respond it’ll most likely be a body recovery, not a rescue.

      This basically wants to shortcut the need for proper transceiver training and equipment which is never a good idea.

      Reply
    • CRR says:

      that was NOT on the site before this came out. I read the whole stupid website, and they changed it.

      Reply
  24. ????? says:

    the snow-be will not work well at finding you while zipped in the inside pocket of your jacket, but they might find your expensive jacket….

    Reply
    • Mike barter says:

      How many recovery’s have you done where the jacket was ripped off. None did you say!

      Reply
      • Herb says:

        Please don’t comment if you are totally uneducated in avy rescue! A beacon should NEVER be worn anywhere except under your outerwear, in a harness. This has always been the rule, been researched, and is accepted worldwide.
        And yes, I have seen avy recoveries where the clothing and gear has been ripped from the victim!!! It’s common!

        Reply
  25. ????? says:

    nothing like trying to find someone who is buried while their buddy’s stand watch and don’t realize they are still transmitting, making the rescue nearly impossible, oh wait you have 15 mins so no real hurry.

    Reply
  26. double tipper says:

    All I ski is back country with no beacon. I just put beef jerky in my pocket. It attracts the avi dogs way quicker.

    Reply
  27. B says:

    I’m not sure a site which said “Carrying a beacon, probe, and shovel along with an airbag pack exponentially increases your chances of surviving a bad slide” has any right to comment on stupidity.

    http://unofficialnetworks.com/2011/02/01/gear-review-bca-float-30-airbag-pack/

    Reply
    • bri says:

      it does doesn’t it?

      Reply
      • B says:

        Carrying a shovel and probe increases your chances of surviving a slide? How exactly?

        Reply
        • bri says:

          They increase the chances of survival for backcountry travelers in a bad slide

          Reply
        • Storm in a Teacup! says:

          Shovels increase survival in an avalanche because as you’re sliding down you can use it as a paddle to move toward the outer edge of the slide and escape. We learned that in avy survival 201: advanced technical techniques.

          Reply
          • brian says:

            What a gaper move. Set up your probe and pole vault over the slide. +500 gnar points if you double cork the dismount BN while talking shit to the slide

    • Eric says:

      I think it’s pretty clear they misspoke. A group carrying beacons, probes and shovels would increase the likelihood of someone being caught in a slide surviving. You obviously can’t dig yourself out.

      Reply
  28. WERD UP says:

    “Hey, little Johnny, will you guinnea pig this chute for me?”

    Reply
  29. mr. positive says:

    Am I the only one who sees a positive use of this product?
    Put it on your skis and shwups you will find your lost (released) skis in pow. How many people did I help finding their skis? Last time I actually thought about a beacon for skis, but that seems to large.

    Reply
    • Dr. Dynamite says:

      because when you are buried in an avalanche you want to make sure rescuers find your skis.

      Moron.

      Reply
      • Socratic Oaf says:

        Umm….he said, “find your lost (released) skis in pow”.

        Moron.

        Reply
        • Dr. Dynamite says:

          so before getting hit by avalanche make sure to remove snow-bes from skis.

          got it!

          You sir are a double super moron.
          no backsies!

          Reply
    • Brilliant says:

      No shit – that’s perfect. I’m going to put one in my wallet and on my key chain. That makes sense. Then I’ll put one on each ski so I can play hide and seek with the patrollers looking for my skis as I choke on snow. Brilliant.

      Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      Now that idea is Genius.

      Reply
  30. James says:

    Recco is just a jacket recover system get it

    Reply
  31. Chris Conway says:

    I guess it’s better that someone has a beacon on of some kind than no beacon at all. Frankly I think if someone is dragging 10′ of flagging tape behind them it’s better than nothing.

    Like any piece of equipment this beacon is not dangerous in itself. What is dangerous is HOW it gets used. It’s an education and common sense issue.

    I can see limited applications for this transmitter-only beacon but if it’s misused and misunderstood then it can lead to trouble. That applies to anything though. If it gives people a false sense of security then it is no different than every other piece of equipment out there. They all do that to some extent. Studies indicate that advances in safety equipment lead to increased risk tolerance which may mitigate or eradicate net gain. That includes RECCO, airbags, transceivers, fat skis, whatever.

    There’s a high degree of self-righteous attitude in this discussion but I bet many of us have pushed the limit at some time in some way at least in part because of gear (and an incomplete understanding of its application to the hazard and the risk), when common sense would suggest otherwise. If not in the back-country then on the highway getting there.

    Let’s face it, by the time you need your beacon you’re in deep shit anyway. It’s what got you to that point that’s dangerous. That is what we all need to focus on.

    Reply
    • tornedge says:

      b.c. skiers are in general the most self-righteous group out there. and, really, their record on safety stinks. time to self-examine for sure. this product is nothing one way or the other. I was in KT line once when the lift didn’t open due to wind slab conditions that patrol couldn’t accept. a small group with skins in their car headed away and said: “let’s hit up the ______________ area.” … so cool.

      Reply
    • Brilliant says:

      Let’s presume for a moment then that this is going to be used solely for in-bounds applications and it takes off. 70%of riders are carrying one on a given day. James is a happy guy. Then a slide happens…say, under a lift. So, between the runner neckers and the people on the lift, there’s maybe 20 -50 active signals within reach of the poor folks trying to locate a victim(s) and a steady feed of new and moving targets rolling on the chairs overhead. Sorry, but in that situation, someone is gonna die. How do you get the word out to “turn them off in case you come across an active search”, knowing that’s the last thing you’d probably want to do in those conditions? And sure, all things equal, a real avy beacon probably gives the uninitiated a hit of misplaced confidence just as one of these would, but at least with a real beacon, there is an impetus to learn to use it better, in a way that could save others.

      And that brings me to my closer:

      “Notwithstanding Mickey and his pals, James knew he needed to get his family kitted out with avalanche safety gear but was frankly put off by the cost.”

      So, you know your family needs avy gear, presumptively because you feel they’re in danger, yet you’re “put off by the cost” and develop something that leaves them helpless to help each other. That’s just astonishing.

      Reply
    • Tim Konrad says:

      “Let’s face it, by the time you need your beacon you’re in deep shit anyway. It’s what got you to that point that’s dangerous. That is what we all need to focus on.”

      Yes BUT when the shit does it the fan the last thing you need is a bunch of skiers rolling up with snow-be’s on and totally fuck up the single you were receiving form your buried buddy’s real transceiver .

      So NO it’s NOT better that someone has a beacon on of some kind than no beacon at all.

      Reply
  32. Anonymous says:

    i use the snow be only because i’m too lazy to unstrap, hike, probe, and shovel for my buddies…

    Reply
  33. Simon says:

    I think this product needs to be put into perspective:-

    It is not appropriate for backcountry travel or operating in areas of significant avi hazard.

    However, if you are skiing in a resort, then there is a (very small) chance of inbounds slides. The first thing patrol will do upon arriving on scene (minutes later) is switch to “receive” to see if they pick anything up. Then RECCO, then probe line. RECCO and probe line = dead. This product just saved your 4 year old’s life, who was in a ski school lesson with 10 other kids at the time.

    I think for that purpose it makes a lot of sense, and for all those insisting that you must have a “real” beacon – an awful lot of people who have “real” beacons are not skilled enough in their use to save anyone in a realistic time frame anyway.

    I have worked patrol and search and rescue for the last 10 years and have worked many avalanche sites. The worst are inbounds when we have no idea if anyone went in, and a high confidence that recreational skiers would not be wearing a beacon.

    Reply
    • Chris Conway says:

      Agreed Simon – and in fact inbound avis in open terrain are not as improbable as many people think. I know of a number of good examples in the last few seasons in Western Canada. I’m aware of two examples alone where open green or blue terrain was hit by a slide from closed terrain. They tend not to hit the news unless someone is caught but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen. The kind of terrain that is now available and the marketing hype and profit focus only increases the chances.

      People tend to think it’s 100% safe inbounds – well it isn’t. Some terrain is ALWAYS a gamble and there are some “gray area” days when snow safety personnel hold their breath and cross their fingers and bow to the demands of their corporate masters and hope for the best.

      It would be great if everyone skiing black and double black had a beacon on but we know that’s not the case. Maybe with suitable education and limitations this snow-be transmitter might help with that.

      Reply
      • brian says:

        Very good point. It’s easy to look at a resort and say “it’s safe, because it has to be, they have a whole team of people checking on it and they would never stay in business if they could let that happen”

        Of course that’s horseshit. No one wins lawsuits over avalanche deaths at ski resorts, at least not in the rocky mountain states. And patrollers are human and can make mistakes. Plus, as you said, there’s intense pressure from the profit focused management to open as much terrain as possible as soon as possible. Let’s also not forget that bombing a slope doesn’t mean it’s absolutely safe, and that you can put 50 tracks on a slope and then watch it cut loose on the 51st.

        This season at snowbird I got made fun of by some bro-brah on a chairlift for wearing a beacon in bounds (on a CRAZY hot day after a solid dumping). Less than an hour later there was an in bounds slide that started in open terrain, ran into a heavily trafficked and groomed trail and partially buried someone

        Reply
  34. Steven says:

    Hey Miles Clark, why were the sporadic ALL-CAPS necessary? Calm down and write a decent article that doesn’t give me a headache.

    Reply
  35. Spud says:

    Of course the mfr doesn’t consider that it might take more than 15 minutes for patrol to get over to your area where you got buried. Anybody with any avy experience knows that searching and probing is the easy part, digging them out in a timely fashion takes more depending on how much debris there is. And that the best chances of survival are from your ski buddy who has a transceiver/beacon/probe in his pack and knows how to use them.

    Sure there might be a couple people saved here and there, but for the most part this is more like a fancy body recovery system.

    Reply
  36. Nick says:

    Having spent some time selling and using avalanche equipment. I have built a few philosophies about the whole thing !! You can’t control any situation but with good training and proper equipment you can persuade a more positive outcome …… Now in this case that means transceiver one that’s been around for a long time and has proven its place in the reliability department and has a search mode !! A shovel a probe and if you can afford it a avalung or airbag ( my personal choice snowpulse cause it’s filled with air !! ) practice with your equipment regularly and go off with a team who has equal equipment and knowledge but more importantly don’t allow any of this equipment to override your mountain sense ….. This new snowbe thing if it hasn’t got a search mode it’s a waist of money all those who wanna cheap system the mountains is not the place for you ! Snowbe is shit !

    Reply
    • Chris Conway says:

      So Nick, what about inbounds applications for guests who would otherwise not invest in a transceiver but still ski higher risk terrain?

      Reply
      • Herb says:

        Hey Nick, People generally don’t die in inbound slides! Unless you are basing your argument on cherry-picking one-in-a-million freak accidents from over the years!
        THIS PRODUCT IS EVIL!!!

        Reply
        • Alex says:

          This product is insanely wrong for a lot of reasons, but I see that Chris has a point. This product should only be marketed as that, a transmitter, and highlighted, not receiver, to be used inbounds only on that freak off chance. Most reputable dealers will hopefully either make that a clear point, or just avoid merchandising this product to anyone.

          Reply
        • tornedge says:

          some people who don’t die inbounds owe their life to efforts of ski patrol, and ski patrol work fastest when a beacon is transmitting from the buried skiers. If backcountry was thoroughly patrolled, fewer people would die there also. IMO.

          Reply
        • Chris Conway says:

          EVIL ??

          Really ??

          Is it a nuclear bomb or something? Geez – Anyone might think the manufacturer was proposing legalizing gay marriage at a GOP convention – but at least this sort of reaction there could be blamed on good ol’ religion :)

          My suggestion to Miles (author of the blog post) and to everyone here is to take a step back, cool your jets and take a look at and discuss how this device could be of benefit under specific limitations rather than just outright denigrating it as “evil”. There are definitely some major limitations for its use, but there are also some obvious benefits and I’m surprised and disappointed that so many people are slamming the door shut so hard and so fast – not just here either.

          Bottom line is it is a relatively inexpensive transmitter device available to people who have no intention of otherwise buying a full-feature transceiver. So the real question is IF and WHERE is it appropriate, ethical, reasonable and beneficial to use such a device? I believe there are situations where it can be used and where in fact it would significantly improve the current risk exposure. That might be a more valuable discussion. Just saying…. !!

          I think it would be great to back away from this radical industry-wide door-slamming response and start thinking about this a bit more.

          Reply
          • Stano says:

            I tried to explain the same thing to this “forum” but to they won’t get it.

            They should go on and slam all send-only personal GPS tracking devices because you can’t search with them.

            This beacon is as dangerous as a down jacket since both give “false sense of safety” that gets us to places were we should not really be :)

          • O'Doyle Rules! says:

            In your own words “Bottom line is it is a relatively inexpensive transmitter device available to people who have no intention of otherwise buying a full-feature transceiver. ”

            And my question to you is: Given that the people that will be interested in this device will by and large no intentions of spending the money, time or energy to becoming educated about avy conditions, rescue procedures, or general safety… do you believe and support that they need a cheap price point device that will offer very little beyond reason to go where they shouldn’t?

            And @ Stano: A down jacket doesn’t make people feel empowered to venture into dangerous situations just because they are wearing it. You’re being very glib about something that warrants more consideration. Getting caught in an avy isn’t the only thing inexperienced riders do. They also cause them, endanger people below them, or ride simultaneously with friends. To make my point, they do dumb shit.

            This is an “Error on the side of caution” situation where there is no substitute for education, and small mistakes can have big consequences. Part of the beacons cost is that you’ve got to be serious about your intentions when you throw down several hundred dollars, and that still doesn’t deter very many.

            What people here are really complaining about is that these devices will likely be appealing to the type of rider that is fairly naive. We can only hope that they are just being overly cautious “inbounds”.

  37. tornedge says:

    Once you’re caught and buried, you’re already in deep shit. None of the recovery gear is a good chance, but it IS the ONLY chance. Patrol at Squaw occasionally scan the people getting off KT to see how many are actually transmitting on a big day. that seems to be their safety concern.

    Reply
  38. OFficiallySucks says:

    its just a scam to get people to wear one in the resort, anyone who used it otherwise and got buried should only blame themselves. But thank you Miles Clark and Unofficial Networks for once again stating the obvious

    Reply
  39. CRR says:

    they changed the fucking website to say it’s only for inbounds. That’s not what it said yesterday.

    Reply
  40. chugachdendrites says:

    FACT: MINUTES SAVE LIVES… there’s simply no time for stupid questions like ‘Hey, is anyone out there receiving?’ or ‘Hey patrol, could you swing over here to the upper Chucklehead Trail and help save this girl who’s 4 feet under, grown an ice mask and already asphyxiated to death??’ MAN UP SUCKAS, KNOW SNOW!

    Reply
  41. John W says:

    My used analog Ortovox for $80 from a Colorado snowcat company
    (they went to digital ones) can also receive! I’ve tested it at Sierra
    Tahoe & Tahoe this year. Works both ways.

    I’ll admit I need a LOT more practice, but being a EE I know
    about directional antenna systems.

    Reply
  42. diesel says:

    id rather try to get myself unburied with a grenade

    Reply
  43. Nick says:

    Hey guys , listen I am not on here to cause arguments , I see what people are saying about inbounds ,I think people are misunderstanding my point ……. I skydive,climb(ice and rock),kayaking , ride motocross and drink whiskey and beer all of these sports that we do hold a element of risk and I dare say that’s what draws some people in .if your serious about these sports even if your a one week a year groomed skier/boarder you are going into a inviroment that’s out off your control and your mountain sense (commen sense mostly)says there is a piece of equipment here that could save the lives of me and my friends or familiy ….Fact people have died in inbound slides !! You guys wanna talk statistics ..? Really ..? It’s statistics that make people complacent about it all or the it will never happen to me attitude of its happened who really cares how many times …..if it is a possibility your commen sense should say ” I need to think about what if that happens to me” ” how can I better persuade a more positive outcome” …… The problem here with all these little arguments is the difference in attitudes ,when the problem is more about responsibilities of resorts them selves ! You are lead to believe that because there is staff around your safe ! So ask yourself have people died on the grommed stuff with rescue staff on site ! …… My argument is not a argument it’s a state of mind that has kept me and my friends and familiy alive and we have had some scrapes I can tell you :-) … I am a firefighter and have been mountain rescue and spend my life trying to help others I just wish at times they had the sense to help them selves . Get the best equipment you can even if it means missing that one week a year you love to put the funds into proper safety equipment ! But mostly …. Learn your environment and practice with your equipment .

    Reply
    • Socratic Oaf says:

      Maybe these are cheap enough that actual probability doesn’t matter. I don’t really know.

      But this is like junk food (but for the mountains). Who cares if there’s very little nutritional value, it’s so cheap and it makes me feel full…It could possibly be helping. We can all agree that eating junk food is better than eating nothing, right?

      Well, technically, yes. Get the half food, and the half beacon… because something is better than nothing, but only very marginally. In the long run persuading a positive outcome is investing in the proper equipment AND education for ALL.

      Healthy is full nutrition, and full preparation.

      Reply
  44. Nick says:

    Hey chris and herb , just to remind you both I don’t mean to be rude and apologise for bad grammar and spelling I am only 13 years old lol ( mentally lol) I understand your opinion on the whole products must have a positive use approach …… I normally agree wholeheartedly but on this occasion I don’t …ski resorts should !! ..be never will .. Say you have to have minimum protection for avalanche’s and that would be a transiever the two ways off looking at it are only one that sends a signal and leave it to the park staff to rescue .. Or have everyone have a system that sends and receives !! In my mind having rescuers everywhere is a better way off persuading a more positive outcome .

    Reply
  45. sam kj says:

    Wait, do these have a Search Mode?

    Reply
  46. Nick F. says:

    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.

    Reply
  47. HTuttle says:

    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.

    Reply
  48. Bridgertroller says:

    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.

    Reply
  49. Reno local says:

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

    well you get the idea.

    Reply
  50. jack says:

    Foolish and selfish device

    Reply
  51. Christine says:

    Go with the safe AND affordable BCA Tracker. It’s on sale at CleanSnipe: http://bit.ly/LveznU

    Reply
  52. Reality Check says:

    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 Snow-Beacon.com, James Aubrey Robson: Please be responsible and recall the product until you can offer one that searches.

    Reply
    • Super says:

      @realitycheck

      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

      Reply
  53. Marc says:

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

    Reply
  54. Gareth says:

    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.

    Reply
  55. B says:

    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.

    http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html

    Reply
  56. cb says:

    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,,,

    Reply
  57. Luffski says:

    Spend $100 and get something that at least can search. Really? Someones gonna make a product to save people $25 and risk lives? Dumbasses. http://www.trondeal.com/pds/Ortovox-Ortovox-F1-Transceiver-Part–1120.html?pid=176054 Buy this beacon instead….

    Reply
  58. Billy Bobbibs says:

    Just so you know the guy is back at with another name for the product and company – check out http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2266973#2266973

    Reply

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