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Snow Safety FW24/25 Retail Buyer’s Guide

The rise of touring is directing backcountry riders’ attention to safety products. Brands are delivering technology and education to convert it into sales. By Rocio Enriquez.

The pandemic boost of backcountry riding left a fair number of freeriders who enjoy riding off the beaten path. This is pushing the development of efficient safety systems. Special attention goes to avalanche backpacks, the category that anticipates the biggest growth. Weight and user-friendliness are key selling points, as they influence the user’s decision to use the kit or not. Backpacks also need to be ergonomic and with well-thought storage design. Attention to airbags with electric triggering systems is rising. BCA reports good sales of their Float E2 system launched last season. Ortovox expects good results with their new Avabag LiTric. Other safety products, such as communication devices, are sought out too.


Avalanche Packs.

The avalanche safety backpack is a priority not only for the airbag. It carries other devices that increase survival chances, like shovels, communication devices, or assisted breathing systems. Backpacks must offer plenty of storage with easy access, while keeping the weight down. Dakine and Evoc make carefully crafted packs compatible with the Mammut RAS 3.0 system. Dakine’s Poacher packs feature carry systems for boards and snow tools. They have a snow-shedding moulded back panel and are compatible with their DK Impact spine protector. Evoc highlights their Line RAS Protector. “With the Mammut RAS system and our LiteShield Plus back protector, it combines the best technologies”, says Jan Sallawitz. ABS Vario backpack redesigns their classic Vario, adding EasyTech cartridge system. They step into the electric airbag segment with the Voltage, featuring the Alpride E2 system. Both backpacks feature the ZipOn system that allows users to adjust the volume according to their needs.

BCA highlights their Float E2 Airbag. “With 45L of volume, it is our largest electrical airbag to date”, says Simon Allwein. Made with robust Dyneema material, it features a roll-top opening. Ortovox developed their LiTric electronic airbag system in cooperation with Arc’teryx. At 1.1 kg, it weighs only 100g more than the lightest cartridge system and allows multiple inflations. The zip technology enables users to exchange the zip packs to fit their needs for the day. Pieps offers the Jetforce pack. Its automatic deflation extends the window of survival from ten minutes up to two hours. Other avalanche safety backpacks do not have an airbag, but the new Safeback SBX breathing aid. The Db SnowPro Vest offers 8L of storage for the Safeback SBX’s control unit (more later), plus additional safety kit. The Safeback outlet hoses are internally routed and mounted in the shoulder straps. Bergans’ Y MountainLine Daypack 40L can be configured to the needs of the user, by removing or adding parts. The SBX system is integrated into the pack’s top lid.

Other safety products.

Recco reflectors have proven helpful, and the Recco SAR network keeps adding countries and locations. They have developed helmet and backpack reflectors and the Recco belt, and they are testing their first drone prototypes. Ortovox has a Recco reflector integrated in their Diract Voice beacon. The easy-to-use interface offers reliable signals and voice navigation. Safeback entered the avalanche safety market with their SBX system. This active air supply device keeps the user breathing during burial, without requiring a mouthpiece.

On a full charge, it can supply air continuously for ninety minutes at temperatures as low as -30oC. BCA speaks proudly of their shovels. They are low-profile but robust. Their blades have stompable edges, and they come with different handles and extra features, like the hoe-mode, for moving softer snow. Upgraded for this season is their Tracker S transceiver. It now comes in a smaller pocket-size and has improved battery life. Simple to operate, it’s ideal for back country novices.  Their BC Link Mini is a one-piece radio that can be clipped to the backpack. Pieps’ transceiver Pro IPS features Interference Protection System and Dual Antenna Signal Processing. They also offer the 30o Plus XT inclinometer, which can be attached to the ski pole.

Retailer Support.

 Education gets a good share of marketing budgets. Such a highly technical product category requires thorough understanding. Recco has developed an online tool. “Our e-learning course “Recco Academy” is a short and simple fifteen-minute course to educate retailers on how to include safety into the conversation with the customer”, says Julia Granhed. BCA organises in-store clinics for retail staff with the brand’s mountain guides. Safeback and Evoc have developed lots of educational content. ABS also offers comprehensive product training for retailers. Digital content is important to showcase products in retailers’ eComms and social media. All brands report a normalisation of stock and supply. The increased interest in touring paints a promising picture for retailers selling snow safety products.


Brand Previews

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Retail Buyer’s Guides


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