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Snow Sports

Mammut Introduces New Protective Airbag Packs at Outdoor Retailer


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.

As with Mammut’s RAS system, the PAS mechanism is removable and transferable between different PAS packs, ranging from 15-35 liters. The PAS systems weigh a couple of ounces more that the RAS systems, but carry lighter thanks to flexible shoulder straps and an adjustable back length.

Both Snowpulse RAS and Snowpulse PAS systems use the same trigger mechanism, trigger handle and cable, Venturi valve, Airbag material, and quality Swiss workmanship. Here’s a quick comparison between the two systems:


Protection Airbag

Removable Airbag


Burial prevention aid; “head on top”

Burial prevention aid

Additional safety

Increased trauma protection (neck, chest, head)

Only protection from behind (BCA claims trauma protection)

Wearing comfort

Shoulder straps mean a bit less comfort for slim/small users

Excellent comfort for all users

System weight

Still very light, +200g

Very light weight

Price difference

Addl. +/- $220

Excellent price/performance

Target group

Core users/Pinnacle customers/max safety

New or occasional users/Broader distribution/more price aggressive

Available fall 2013, $840-$950;

—Berne Broudy

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