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I'd like to take a few minutes and stress the importance to be prepared for avalanches. Avalanches occur every winter. Some are set off naturally and some are set off by man (skiers, snowmobilers, etc.). I've been snowmobiling here in the Flathead for over 20 years, I've seen both the natural and man-made slides.
Over the years, I've been involved in a few searches. Our searches have been successful. Not everyone has been so lucky. Believe me when I say that your mind goes blank when you see your buddy get covered with snow and you know that you only have about 7 minutes to get him out.
You have to have the proper equipment:
- Number one is a beacon. You have to have one that is very, very simple to operate. On, off, and search with a screen. None of the walking in circles like the old ones. Buy the best one that you can afford. Then give it to your buddy. After all, he's the one who will be looking for you.
- Have a probe pole. This is second important because you will only have time to dig one hole.It has to be in the correct place.
- Finally, have an aluminum shovel. The snow from an avalanche is warmed by the friction of the granules rubbing on each other, while the snow is in motion. When it stops, it will refreeze and be very hard to dig in.
Finally, you have to have these items on your person at all times. If you get separated from your sled somehow, you still want to have your equipment.
Since you are going to wear a backpack anyway, I'd suggest that you get an airbag. They are getting smaller and cheaper. They work.The following video was made in Canada and is very good. It is a little over 9 minutes long. Try to hold your breath for the length of this film. In a real-world situation, the victim will be holding his.