Airbags are a hot topic in the snowsports industry, and Mammut is introducing an evolution of its Snowpulse system at next week’s Outdoor Retailer Show that it’s calling a new category in the airbag market—protective airbags.
The new Snowpulse PAS (protective airbag system) airbags offer trauma protection not currently available from other airbags. In forested and rocky terrain, which means most places in North America, many skiers die from trauma during a slide, not suffocation from being buried. Mechanical trauma causes approximately 15 to 32 percent of avalanche deaths depending on location and which study you’re referencing. Because of its extended neck wrapping bag, an avy victim wearing one of Mammut’s Snowpulse PAS packs has additional chest, neck, and head protection from impacts, better neck stabilization in a slide, and a greater chance of coming to rest with his head on top of the snow when a slide has finally settled.
In the PAS bags, the main airbag volume is in front of and above your head. That means when you come to rest in an avalanche wearing this pack, your head and face will typically be on top of the avalanche with your body in a sitting position, back downslope.