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Does the Snowpulse Avalanche Airbag Impede Your Vision Once Inflated? | CANADA | 03/08/2010, by powderjunkySnowpulse Avalanche Air Bag blocks your ability to ski or see once it is deployed. In fact Lou Dawson goes so far as to say, "While an airbag that inflates around your head for protection is a seductive concept, it's really not practical....A big airbag that wraps around your head could prevent anything but fairly passive behavior once deployed." This quote clearly targets the Snowpulse as it is the only bag that protects against trauma with the wrap around feature of the inflated bag.
Now I am biased, I love the Snowpulse, and I can get into why another day, and fortunately I have never had to pull mine and test these accusations. However I was curious to see if the critics were right. So while at Kicking Horse Resort, I pulled mine and skied around for a while. I found it to be a little more annoying than skiing with a hood on. But I was still able to ski steep shots and groomers without loosing a step. The only time I really felt the block of peripheral vision was in real tight trees.
Video of skiing with the Snowpulse Airbag inflated.
Once inflated, was I left with only passive behavior? Definitely not. Those of you who have skied Kicking Horse, know it is not an easy mountain. But like I said I'm biased so I took some pictures and video with a fisheye lens to show you how much of your vision is blocked. Keep in mind that the fisheye lens show 180 degrees left to right, but not up and down, so you can actually see more in regards to the vertical than the pictures & videos show. When taking the pictures I made sure the lens did not protrude further than the human eye would, so there would be no discrepancies in if they were accurate.
- Is your vision impeded to the point you would not be able to continue to ski if the bag inflates? No. Like I said above it is a little more cumbersome than wearing a hood. But still very manageable.
- Does the bag cripple you to only passive movements? No.
- Does the Snowpulse bag protect you against trauma and burials? Yes. And keep in mind 25% of avalanche deaths are from trauma in North America.
- Do any other avalanche bags protect your head and neck from trauma? No.
- Does any other bag, besides the Snowpulse, create an air pocket for your mouth in the rare case of burial? No.
My vote goes to the Snowpulse. I'll take a little impeded vision for more safety any day. What about you? Do any of you have any experiences with this topic? Share them below. And stay tuned for our full air bag comparison and make your own decision on which bag is right for you.