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Backcountry Ski

Winter Lab: Avalanche Airbag 101

Compressed air, venturi valves, horse collars, fans, argon, TSA rules, cable pulls. The lingo alone can spin your head, so let us set you straight.

No matter what airbag pack you’re looking at, the vast majority, if not all of them, use a venturi valve to help inflate the bag. The valve essentially sucks in outside air to fully inflate the bag. Each bag is also repackable, and stores into it’s own compartment. When you pull the trigger, the zipper or Velcro pops, and the airbag inflates.

But beyond price, pack volume, pack features, and aesthetics (like color), there are 3 main differences. Here's what you need to know.

San Juan Sojourn

Where to ski: Colorado, Highway 550 | Photo: Liam Doran
Where to ski: Colorado, Highway 550 | Photo: Liam Doran
Where to ski, find ghost bears, and relish funky mountain culture along Colorado’s U.S. Highway 550.

“Do you speak English?”

It’s not every day you get asked such a question in your home country. This Forest Service ranger is clearly flummoxed by the camera-toting tourist shooting frozen roadside waterfalls: me.

“Uh, ya,” I manage, though still thoroughly absorbed by the row of 30-foot icicles dangling over the road. Apparently, I hadn’t responded fast enough to his stern warnings of avalanche danger.

“Well, you should probably get moving,” he warns and speeds off, burying me in diesel fumes from his four-wheel-drive truck.

Is Red Mountain the New Jackson Hole?

Red Mountain Resort | Rossland BC
Red Mountain Resort, BC
This Canadian resort might be skidom’s best-kept secret. And with two new expansions, it’s also the biggest.

The “glasses” at Red Mountain’s first annual Beer Goggles Craft Brew Festival hold only three ounces. Which is, apparently, enough. Keri Bascetta, SKI’s staff photographer, and I are standing around in ski clothes in a party tent on a wood-chipped parking lot with, well, pretty much everyone within a 50-mile radius of the place, drinking tiny beers and laughing our butts off. We are freezing, but we don’t care. Snow has started to accumulate outside—a light dust that coats the plastic tent windows and picnic tables.

Subaru WinterFest

Join SKI and Backpacker Magazine to Ski With A Pro at Subaru WinterFest 2015.
Winterfest



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