Snowboarder Saved by Avalanche Airbag


Snowboarder Saved by Avalanche Airbag

February 06, 2012 11:15 AM EST

The “Avalanche Airbag” recently saved the life of professional snowboarder Meesh Hytner. Hytner was boarding in the backcountry near Montezuma, Colorado while participating in a competition when a Class 3 avalanche struck. According to the Avalanche Center, a Class 3 avalanche is capable of incredible destruction. The typical mass is 1,000 tons and it “could bury a car, destroy a small building, or break trees”. It’s shocking how much power they have! Hard to believe that after going through that, she would continue in the sport. Very brave woman.

Typically, avalanche victims have had to rely on beacons, shovels, harnesses and other things that aid them in digging out and not preventing them from going under too far or even at all. Hytner was wearing the Backcountry Access Float 30. The float airbag allowed Hytner to lie back flat, feet out in front of her and be carried downhill. “I felt like I was riding a mattress down the stairs.” said Hytner. Usually, in avalanche videos, people are tumbling everywhere with zero control. It’s very frightening to watch! But, in this video, you can see Hytner deploy the airbag and just sort of relax into the situation.



Similar to the avalanche airbag is the inflatable wetsuit made for divers and surfers. Pro surfer Shane Dorian came up with the idea after being slammed underwater to the ocean floor, some 25 feet below the surface. This product isn’t available to the public yet. Hopefully, that will happen soon because it could save countless lives. Check out the video below by Backcountry Access that shows the avalanche airbag in use from the skiers helmet cam! Scary, but very cool!


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