Gadgets or education?

  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 25 November 2013 · 11:03
    If you have Eur 1000,00 to spend, what would you choose to spend it on? You can either spend it on an airbag, or avi education/guided instruction. What do you think is the better value and or return on investment? What do you think?

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    May the powder be with you.
  • Chester_Tartsnatcher
    Chester_Tartsnatcher op 25 November 2013 · 15:04
    I've been skiing for a while and have done 2 level 1 courses (in Oregon's Wallowas) and 1 level 2 (at Silverton) but I don't think I'll ever buy an airbag. So I think I'd answer this by opting for the education. Or just another trip to ski.

    While I do think and it has been demonstrated that airbags do have some value, my thought is that one should never have put oneself in the place to need one. And while it's true that a beacon is of the same status and I do use one as well as releasable bindings, an airbag is just pushing it further out into supporting bad decisions.

    When off piste, avalanches happen. I've triggered a few smaller ones and been caught in a couple (in bounds). Fortunately none have buried me. One was a result of a stupid decision and powder hysteria. Bad decisions.

    I'd rather not purchase devices that essentially support bad decisions. A beacon is enough. More than that goes past the way I want to invest regarding avalanche mitigation.

    My decision is a very personal one and not intended to be some maxim for all. I'd rather be thinking enough to avoid putting myself in that much hazard where I would need an airbag.

    I don't ski big lines in the backcountry (BC) and for me avalanche management is a little bit about snow analysis and a lot about terrain selection. So I'm happy to meadow skip and keep my tall tales to myself than have to dickwave in the bar about my gnarly BC line.

    Essentially it's about the level of risk one is willing to assume and my level doesn't require an airbag.
  • telemikey
    telemikey op 26 November 2013 · 09:23
    I'd like to take this discussion off the front page and into the forum so I've copied my response to below:

    My first reaction? Seems a no brainer to me: without education gadgets are useless. There's a english saying: "a stitch in time saves nine" or to put it differently "prevention is better than the cure".

    The airbag example is a good one. Though an airbag may INCREASE your chances of survival once you are in an avalanche, there are examples (don't know the numbers) of deployed airbags where the owners either got buried really deep and/ or being pummeled to bits (death/ broken limbs). So in short: you might have bought yourself an airbag but that doesn't mean you won't get hurt bad.

    Education reduces the chance that you will be caught in an avalanche in the first place!

    However... having typed the above: it all depends on how educated you are. I mean, if I were Werner Munter, I'd probably be better off buying an airbag. But if I were a newbie freerider... see above!

    That said, it also means that how I choose to spend my money greatly hinges on how I view my own knowledge level... Maybe many ppl think that they're relatively knowledgeable?

    PS I've put in time with multiple avy courses, both theory as well as practical experience with guides. Only recently did I buy an airbag.
    White room,Pillow lines,I rule
  • 49
    49 op 26 November 2013 · 09:58
    Education first: knowledge is key and eternal.

    Besides: it is so much more fun to spend money on a guided day in the mountains than on equipment you hope never to use.
    montagna bianca, ti amo
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 26 November 2013 · 10:27

    Besides: it is so much more fun to spend money on a guided day in the mountains than on equipment you hope never to use. 49 op 26 Nov 2013 9:58 AM

    May the powder be with you.
  • telemikey
    telemikey op 27 November 2013 · 14:31
    Education first: knowledge is key and eternal.
    Besides: it is so much more fun to spend money on a guided day in the mountains than on equipment you hope never to use. 49 op 26 Nov 2013 9:58 AM

    HOw true!
    White room,Pillow lines,I rule
  • Karst
    Karst op 1 December 2015 · 13:00
    education is an investment, a prerequisite.
    I rather spend my ' disposable income' on a decent gym, personal trainer or physio. That makes following the guide (what @49 says) so much more enjoyable... policy: 1 piece of equipment or decent clothing / yr.... so ducktape/epoxy/needle 'n thread does the rest. but i enjoy nice stuff that lasts.
    (note: yes i do ride with an airbag, but more because i couldn't think of a reason why i shouldn't).
    Smile! Your ridin' pow!!!
  • Matteo_DG
    Matteo_DG op 5 February 2016 · 15:42
    I have done 2 courses with the national club alpin, one of skimountaneering and one climbing-oriented.
    Now for me the key is to achieve more experience on the field in a widespread type of snow/mountains/tours/ ...
    I think I'll spent that extra-money on ski travels abroad with experienced guides.
  • alessandrolazzaretto
    alessandrolazzaretto op 31 January 2017 · 21:48
    IMHO, education comes first, but should we really consider ABS backpacks only a gadget?


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