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Old 12-30-2013, 06:25 PM
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New enough to sledding that I am still piecing my gear together, and don't have a beacon or a air bag. Was in Saratoga this weekend and heard a few different groups of people talk about how this is going to be a bad year for avys. I am gonna take a class end of January, but not sure if I will have a beacon for a while... In all honesty seeing some of the testimonials and videos, its got me pretty spooked. Im new enough I don't have the guts to do much hill climbing but some of the guys I ride with do... None of us have avy gear but are all going to the class.

Ive read a lot of info today saying to be aware of the signs of Avs. but nothing ive found has been very specific as to what exactly the signs are.

Im curious as to if a guy gets caught in one, and is on his sled should he keep on it and try to ride it out ? Down to the bottom or off to the side? Or would he be better off bailing off the sled and trying to swim?

Any help, tips, or links would be greatly appreciated
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Old 12-30-2013, 11:53 PM
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Every area, every hill, and every type of snow will have different tells. Even the best people get caught in avy's and die. If I remember last year one of the forecasters for the Utah avalanche center died in one. So you will never know all the tells. All you can do is read the avy reports and diced if the conditions are right for you and where you are going to ride. Once you make that plan stick to it.
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Old 12-30-2013, 11:56 PM
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Pulled from this site in A I section:
There are several basic instructional videos for snowmobilers and avalanches on youtube. Or your local avalanche center usually has a list of good videos to watch. Just try to get one directed to sledders, the skier videos have a bunch of stuff that doesn't really apply to us snowmobilers.

I remember at a class the instructor stated staying with the sled once fully consumed and engaged in a slide can cause more trauma than just letting go as it inverts, so at that time get away from the sled.

Go to a S&R or any class available, even before you even get the gear, class will have practice tools and may even share recommend for top affordable equipment and locations. Some will offer gear at a discount group price (least they did here)
Just go and learn, you will not ever regret the knowledge they share.
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:18 AM
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The best plan is to get smart and then get the gear. You would be really surprised how small of a hill/slide gets dangerous fast. If you get caught up in one, chances are not good even with all the gear. You really need to take a class and keep up with the refreshers and buy a beacon, poles, and a shovel as a minimum. Keep them with you and not on the sled.
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:21 AM
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A few basic mountain rules will save more lives than a beacon or bag.

One at a time on a hill.
Don't park in a terrain trap. (Bottom of hill)
Anyone that highmarks over someone that is stuck will NEVER ride with me again.

Avoid helping someone stuck on a hill unless its REALLY needed.

Those few simple things will save a lot of lives.
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Old 12-31-2013, 02:51 AM
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Pony up and spend the money on gear/training.
This is ♥♥♥♥ that'll save your life. What's it worth to you?

Beacon, shovel, probe at the minimum. Go. Now. SnowBigDeal.com has good deals on bundles.
Look online for the basics on how to use them. Youtube, blogs, whatever you find that makes sense to you.

A Pack, while it's something I recommend, isn't necessary right away. Get the basic stuff first and learn how to use it.

Generally speaking, you're not going to outride an avalanche. It happens, but it's not something I'd plan on doing.

Take a class.
Avalanches are serious business. Scary ♥♥♥♥.
Guarantee that while you're in the class, the instructor will be talking about something and you'll think back to a hill you were on and how close you were to the mountain coming down on top of you.

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Old 12-31-2013, 04:16 AM
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Let me start out by saying I've always got my beacon and a spare it the trailer for someone that may have "forgot" them. I won't ride without them these days.

However here is my take on beacons.

While it is true that one day they may save my life, that has not been my primary reason for purchasing them. Two situations come to mind.

First you are riding with a bunch of friends and one of them gets caught up in an avy. You know that he has a beacon on. You have only a shovel. Hours later you find his dead body. For the rest of your life you will be asking yourself if you could have gotten him in time. For me, it was having my teenage son as a riding partner. I couldn't bear thinking about having to answer that question daily.

Number two is there have been a few burials here in Alaska where they were not wearing a beacon. Huge avy and most likely did not survive. Oh well. The heartbreaker here is the family and friends. It was not until aug/sept that the snow melted enough to find the bodies. The families had to go months without the closure of a body and a funeral. Then had to re-live it all once they did get that knock on the door from a trooper.

Not meaning to be morbid here. Just pointing out some very valid reasons to break down and spend the coin on a beacon. Honestly, these days the cost of a beacon is that of one weekend of riding. And that is assuming you don't break anything lol. I challenge you to skip one weekend of playing and go get a beacon. I finally did that a fews years ago when AKSNOWRIDER beat it into my head that I needed to do so. I hope others do as well. Whether you believe they will ever save your life or not, having one will make someone's life more peaceful.

Pray we never need to use them! Make wise choices even if you have all the latest greatest safety gear. Using your head is where safety begins. Make wise choices. Play in the trees if the snow on the hill is iffy. Enjoy the day and live to ride for another day.

Rant over.
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