AVALANCHE AIRBAG SYSTEM
Instructions for Use
MOUNTAIN SAFETY SYSTEMS LTD
tel: 604-932 5327 fax: 604 905 7637
toll free: 1 800 617 7177
address: 8271 Mountain View Dr.
Whistler, BC, V0N 1B8, Canada
With the purchase of an ABS apparatus you have acquired a piece of equipment the function and mechanism
of which is based on many years of experience in the study of avalanches, rescue data and statistics. Of
central importance is the fact that 90% of all victims (alpine skiers) who are caught and buried in avalanches
are alive when the avalanche has stopped moving. Because most of them are buried, they cannot free
themselves and they are frequently not visible to potential rescuers. Now the race with death starts, and
anyone buried alive whose respiratory system is blocked, is ultimately bound to lose that race within 15
minutes at the most.
The most common cause of death among avalanche victims is suffocation due to a blocked respiratory
system, which is even more tragic in the light of the fact that the 15 minutes for possible rescue were wasted.
Therefore the most important task of the ABS apparatus is to prevent burial in an avalanche. The ABS
provides, in a matter of seconds, the physical requirements necessary to fulfil this task. If the volume of any
object or body is sufficiently high then it will be swept to the surface by the rolling mass of snow. If the
volumetric weight of these objects/bodies is less than the surrounding snow they will remain on the surface.
They cannot sink back into the mass of snow. If the volumetric weight of these objects/bodies is higher they
immediately sink back. The volumetric weight of light, dry ‘powder snow’ is very low even when it is
compressed as in an avalanche. In unfavourable circumstances the volumetric weight is just approximately
400 grams per litre. The volume of the airbag system is adjusted to that. The heavier (wetter) the snow of the
avalanche, the less additional volume is required.
To remain on the surface of