It’s that time of the year when the ski season comes to a close and summer is on the mind. Before you start your summer activties, it’s a crucial time to take a moment to clean and maintain your avalanche safety equipment.
If your equipment is not treated correctly then come your next ski trip it may not work properly, for example, your transceiver batteries may have corroded and leaked or if you ride with an electronic airbag like most of us these days, you need to make sure the software is up to date and that you do a test activation aswell as giving your ski backpacks and equipment a good clean instead of it smelling funky.
Follow these crucial tips to make sure your avalanche safety equipment stays in great condition and there ready to go when the lifts start to spin again.
Overtime batteries can leak, which causes corrsion to the transceiver battery terminal and eletric wiring system, if you forget to remove the batteries the corrosion will fester and grow worse over the summer until it gets to the point where your beacon is simply unusable.
This then becomes a big problem for a number of reasons:
Another crucial step in transceiver servicing is updating your firmware regulary to ensure your beacons hardware is completly up to date and on a new version of software if available.
This makes your beacon more Intuitive and allows new features to show on your avalanche beacon without having to purchase a new model, Although if your beacon has seen better days and is over 10 years old then its probably time for a Beacon upgrade to a new digital and 3 atenna model.
All new beacons are USB rechargeable and allow you to upgrade the software via a smartphone app. For more information on what software all of the current beacons are on please follow the link – Beacon Software
If you are a previous snowsafe customer and are not sure what beacon software your on please feel free to contact us so we can assist you, you can call us on 01273 737676.
Cleaning your Transceiver
It’s most likely your Transceiver will return in a clean manner, however after multiple day trips and travelling within your pack its good to ensure its wiped over with a baby wipe and the front screen is clear and search indications are easy to read on the screen.
Storing your beacon
So storing a beacon for the off season is very easy and simple, follow these 3 golden rules:
During the off season its important to regulary check your transceivers are running, you can do this by meeting up with your ski partners and running a series of search and transmit mode tests.
If your beacon is inaccurate and only showing you a search reading of up to 30 metres then thats a good sign your beacon signal is starting to drift and its time for a new beacon.
Checking your shovel and probe is a very quick job, usually around only takes about five minutes and its is worth the time.
Inspect the plastic and pin pieces on your Shovel for anything cracked or missing. Rusting can be an issue on shovels, we recommend spraying it with some WD-40 as a summer preventative.
Testing your shovel in the summer can be a little harder then your beacon or probe, avoid smashing it againt any hard items like gravel or paving.
Check the cable, cord or Kevler on a Probe, and practice throwing it to make sure it’s functioning properly and the locking mechansim is working, if you spot a fault in the the cord or locking system then its probably time to upgrade your probe.
Probes are not usually something covered under warranty.
Store your shovel and probe in a cool, dry place.
Give your airbag backpack the once-over by inspecting for any damages, rips or snags, check the shoulder straps and hip fins are correctly attached to the pack.
This is a good time to also make sure the deployment trigger is fitted correctly and deployment is working, Most modern avalanche airbags allow you to run multiple test activations without any cost, Electronic airbags like Black Diamond & Pieps Jetforce and Alpride E1 Airbags will allow you to test activate your pack around 5/6 times on a single charge.
Firmware updates on electronic airbags
Like most of us we have now moved on from canister powered packs and own a electronic airbag which means being up to date with firmware is extremely important.
The Alpride E1 Airbags are set on one firmware which does not need to be updated.
Like all electronic items, if there not used or charged for a while then it can cause problems, We recommend charging and test activating your electronic airbag regulary in the summer.
Canister powered airbags
Canister powered airbags like Ortovox AVABAG & Mammut RAS offer a speical rearming tool which you screw into the canister unit, this will allow you to run test a activation with the trigger (No canister or airbag will be deployed)
If you have had your canister for two seasons then its important to run a test of your bag and then refill your canister or purchase a new one.
Cleaning your airbag
We recommend hand washing with mild soap, cold water and a soft bristle brush. Never bleach your pack. Hang to dry in a warm but shady place, ensuring both inside and out are dry before storing.
Storing your airbag
If you own a Alpride E1 compatible bag we recommend removing the batteries before storing your pack so the batteries dont corrode in the airbag battery terminal.
Canister powered packs can be stored with or without the canister attached.
Store all packs in a cool, dry place for the off season.
It’s important to give your Ski Backpack the once-over by inspecting for any damages, rips or snags, check the shoulder straps and hip fins are correctly attached to the pack.
If you do have any major wear and tear its important to contact the brand to see if they can help you or if you are under warranty.
Cleaning your backpack
If your ski backpack gets dirty, we recommend hand washing with mild soap (NixWax) , cold water and a soft bristle brush. If hand washing is not going to do the trick, use a front loader washing machine.
To ensure your backpack doesn’t get tangled, place inside a pillowcase or mesh bag before washing it. Always use cold water, mild soap and run on a gentle cycle. Never bleach your pack. Hang to dry in a warm but shady place, ensuring both inside and out are dry before storing.
Like all of your other avalanche safety equipment you should store in a cool and dry place.
To keep your transceiver, shovel, probe, airbag or ski backpack spic and span and ready for another winter, you must make sure you treat your gear with respect, make sure its clean, software is up to date and that its stored in the correct way, The equipment is there to save lives, We hope these snowsafe tips helped and we look forward to another winter of backcountry skiing.
It’s important to stay safe and have the correct training when skiing or snowboarding off-piste please check out further blogs below:
If you would like to feature a blog about your organisation or experience in the snow please feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01273 737676. We are happy to take guest blogs linking back to your website.