“The light and removable device attaches to your ski in front of the binding and detects avalanche-prone weak snow layers under your feet. A LED light around the device alerts you when weak snow layers are present. Sknow also measures the slope angle, another critical factor in avalanche risk.”
A Norwegian start-up company has come up with a novel device called The Sknow that gives skiers real-time information about the stability of the layers of snow they are traveling over using radar technology. Rocky Mountain Outlook spoke with co-founder of Think Outside Deborah Karlsen about the new avalanche safety technology:
“What we have created is a hardware device that attaches to your ski right in front of your binding and what it does is it uses radar to send signals down into the snowpack that will let you know what the layer structure is directly under your ski.”
The purpose of the Sknow isn’t replace basic avalanche safety skills but as an additional tool skiers can use to make informed decisions while navigating in avalanche country. Wish they had better demonstration videos to better understand how exactly it works but here’s a least a quick clip of the device in action (not sure if this is a prototype but they won’t be available for purchase until the fall):
“On a day out in the snow, avalanches are typically our biggest concern, and rightfully so. Slab avalanches represent 90% of all fatal avalanches and are typically triggered by the skiers themselves.
A slab avalanche is a plate of snow that slides on top of the snowpack, triggered by a ‘weak layer’ below. The weight of a skier can be enough to fracture a weak layer, and if the slope angle is right, this can trigger an avalanche.
The good news is that we have developed a device capable of detecting weak snow layers and helping backcountry skiers stay safe. Sknow is a revolutionary technology that reads the snow layers directly under your ski, in real-time, giving you have the freedom and confidence to explore the backcountry with peace of mind.” LEARN MORE HERE