I was skiing a west-facing slope near Scotties Bowl in late December when a slab roughly 2.5 feet deep by 200 feet wide broke off a few feet above me. I immediately deployed my Float 18 airbag and attempted to self-arrest. The airbag helped me stay above the moving debris and kept me upright. In terms of function, it did its job and made all the difference. I am certain that without the buoyancy of the airbag, I would have been fully engulfed by the avalanche, most likely suffering severe injury from the trees downslope. The airbag gave me a fighting chance to stay upright, dig my edges into the slope, and allow the heavier avy debris to flow beneath me. Looking back, a Whippet would have been very useful in my situation, but I’m sure glad I had my Float 18!
Grizzly Peak, Colorado
The beacon search was the easy part. After picking the signal up from around 50 meters away, I had to make an uphill traverse through the debris pile. I got out of my bindings at 8 meters and pinpointed my partner to less than a meter with my Tracker2, not even bothering to probe before I started shoveling. My partner was unburied only 6 minutes after the incident occurred. Although the search was successful, I am ready to buy a Float airbag now, got any demos? See the full report here.
It was a fresh snow avalanche, only the base layer collapsed and dragged me down the slope maybe 30-35m. At first I decided that it is too small to activate the airbag, but when I could not see the sky anymore I got scared and pulled the trigger. The airbag pulled me on the surface in 3-4 seconds, after another 5-6 seconds the avalanche stopped. There was another skier before me who was watching my descent. I was equipped with a Tracker 2 beacon, B-2 Shovel and 340mm probe. See the full report here.
I was riding near the Snake River drainage and triggered a substantial (R2D2+) avalanche. I was able to deploy my Float 30 airbag shortly after the crown broke. The airbag kept me on the surface of the giant slab which broke above me. I felt like I was riding a mattress down the stairs. This thing saved my life. See the full report here.
Cerro Catedral, Argentina
Prior to that trip I had never stepped foot in the backcountry and it was the first time I had ever come face to face with a piece of BCA gear. Although the experts gave me the practice and knowledge needed for an avalanche rescue, nothing could have prepared me for what actually happened that day. In no way did I consider myself an expert or efficient in the use of any of BCA’s gear but even as a novice 17 year old kid in the back country for the very first time, I was able to use the Tracker DTS with ease and save a life.See the full report here.
San Martin De Los Andes, Argentina
I descended an exposed slope in the Pyrenees when a crown broke above me. I was buried five feet deep with no air pocket. I felt like I was dying until I heard voices calling my name. I’m grateful my friends had Trackers, knew how to use them and found me so quickly. See the full report here.
Elijah and i were heli-skiing. I was buried nearly two meters deep. “This is it,” I thought. Elijah located me with a Tracker2 in about two minutes. When they reached me I was unconscious, but they revived me at the scene. See the full report here.
I triggered a large avalanche which pummeled me through rocks and trees and buried me. Thanks to my Tracker, I was quickly located and airlifted to the hospital, badly injured, but alive. One of my crew found me with his own Tracker—it performed flawlessly under severe stress and ultimately saved my life.
I was a 16-year-old kid who knew very little about the backcountry. Two years ago a BCA Tracker saved my life. I was buried for eight minutes and I was dug up by friends whom I consider family today. My goal is to become a guide so that I will have the ability to protect people like my former self. Thanks to BCA for saving my life and giving me inspiration. See the full report here.
I knew I was buried deep. After realizing I was certainly dead, I must have passed out. Having a well-trained friend with a Tracker saved my life. See the full report here.
Montezuma, Colorado February 2010
We knew the hazard was high but thought we could ride it out. This was a mistake. Don`t ever assume you can ride out of an avalanche. A minor sluff can turn into a real slide like this one. Nass used his Tracker to rescue a snowboarder who was buried just under two feet deep while riding a rowdy area during high hazard. See the full report here.
Davos, Switzerland January 2001
After an epic morning of powder skiing, we decided to traverse across a small face to access some spines. It was right in the middle of the ski area, but deadly nonetheless. As our local friend got out on the slope, the whole face released and left him buried below. I had to post–hole back uphill to get to the debris, and as soon as I switched my Tracker to search mode, I got a signal and homed in on our friend immediately. He was out and breathing in less than 5 minutes, and the ease of use of the Tracker in that stressful situation made the difference between life and death.
Northern Chugach Range, Girdwood, AK April 2009, March 2010
Believe it or not, I’ve had to use my Tracker twice. Both times I was skiing with a heli company. I picked up the signal before guide, so I ended up doing the search. They’ve only had two people buried and I was on point for both; it’s a little bizarre. Both times the Tracker was intuitive, effective, and it worked. See the full report here.
Mount Proctor, Fernie, BC January 2008
We were very concerned about the avalanche hazard and were just trying to get out of there. Ironically, we had taken an avalanche course less than three weeks before. Our rescue was fast and efficient because I had the right beacon, probe and shovel and knew how to use them. Get out and take an avi course. It could mean the difference between life and death. See the full report here.
Lake Ann, WA January 2004
We were riding in a very popular area, which was part of the problem. When the accident happened, there must have been 30 people that came to help. Even though there were only two people buried, there were signals everywhere. But the Trackers worked great. Three of us converged on one signal while the others converged on the second one. We got them both out alive. The reality is that having multiple signals on the surface is actually more difficult than having multiple victims buried beneath the surface.
Central Cascades, WA February 2009
The slide totally took us by surprise. We’d skied this line hundreds of times before, but that’s no guaranty it won’t slide. WD got buried two or three feet deep. We had him pinpointed in a minute or two and had his airway exposed in about ten minutes. This incident totally reinforced all the practice we’d done. I never panicked; I went through the beacon search like a robot. That’s what you want at a time like this. See the full report here.
Groundhog Lake, BC January 2001
I was 15 at the time and had just gotten a Tracker for Christmas. Jesse got stuck highmarking. When Tyler went up to help him, the whole hill came down. Jesse was buried almost five feet deep and was unconscious when we found him. If it weren’t for that beacon, Jesse would be dead. Every backcountry skier and snowmobiler should wear a beacon and know how to use it.
If you or someone you know was involved in an avalanche incident, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (303)417-1345