Beginning with the 2013/14 winter season, Alaskan heli-ski operator Chugach Powder Guides will incorporate alpine gear company Mammut’s Rocker Removable Airbag System (R.A.S) 18 to the standard issue safety gear provided to each heli-skier. With the partnership with Mammut, Chugach Powder Guides will become one of the first heli-ski operators in the United States to provide avalanche air bags to guests free of charge.
“It’s like wearing a seatbelt. If you have one, why wouldn’t you wear it?” said Chris Owens, Chugach Powder Guides’ brand manager. “We believe wearing air bags will become not just optional, but standard practice across our industry.”
“This isn’t about scaring people. This is about taking every possible step and using all tools available to keep our guests safe while they’re having the time of their lives skiing the backcountry,” Owens continued.
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While many heli-ski operators give clients an opportunity to rent an air bag system, Chugach Powder Guides partnered with Mammut Sports Group to supply the gear to guests.
Mammut’s Rocker R.A.S. 18 will be added to the Mammut Pulse Barryvox avalanche transceiver heli-skiers already receive. Guides will wear Mammut’s Pro R.A.S. 35 in addition to wearing an avalanche transceiver and carrying a shovel and probe.
Mammut’s product design team spent several days in Alaska last season with Chugach Powder Guides’ staff, taking their comments on the air bag product line and making notes on how to improve it.
“Their guides’ feedback was integral to how we developed these packs and air bags,” said Gribbin Loring, Mammut’s marketing services coordinator. “They are out there teaching avalanche training every day and driving backcountry safety messages to the general public. This represents a big step for Chugach Powder Guides to outfit clients with these air bags.”
Mammut first integrated the Removable Airbag System, developed by the Swiss company Snowpulse SA, in its snow backpacks in 2011.
“We’re 100 percent committed to our guests’ safety,” said Geoff Gross, Chugach Powder Guides operations manager. “We will continue to use the best safety options utilizing the most up-to-date technology to enhance our clients’ experience.”