Unveiling the Jetforce Avalanche Airbag Pack

The Black Diamond pack that promises to set a new standard for avalanche survival gear

black diamond jetforce avalanche airbag pack pack red lou dawson ski gear safety wild snow 2014 improved

    Photo: Courtesy of Black Diamond

On Thursday, Lou Dawson at Wild Snow gave the first detailed look at Black Diamond’s new Jetforce Avalanche Airbag pack.

It's the first airbag pack that inflates and deflates with a battery-powered fan instead of a cartridge or a canister of gas or air. Because of that,  this pack can be deployed multiple times in one ski day or trip if necessary—no recharging of batteries required.

Interest in the Jetforce was so great that it crashed Wild Snow’s server. The reason: Black Diamond’s Jetforce solves nearly all of the major issues with current avalanche airbag packs.

  • Skiers, riders and others no longer have to think twice about deploying their pack. If you’re afraid, pull the trigger. It’s easy to deflate the bag and repack it, and it will instantly be armed again and ready to go. One battery charge inflates the pack multiple times.
  • No longer do pack owners have to search for a place to refill a canister.
  • There’s no need to haul multiple heavy and expensive canisters on a multi-day trip.
  • You won’t be hassled by the airlines when you fly with the Jetforce.
  • A switch turns the inflation mechanism on and off, so there’s no fussing to zip away handles when you’re loading the heli, and it’s unlikely you’ll accidentally activate it. If you do—no problem. Deflate it, repack it, and you’re still protected.
  • And for tree skiers, one further bonus: Once inflated, the fan keeps pulsing air. So even if the bag gets snagged and ripped—unlikely since the Jetforce’s airbag is slipperier and tougher than most others on the market—it’ll still keep you afloat.

Rumor also has it that Arc'teryx is working on a fan-inflated avalanche pack as well—if so, it hasn't publicly released any details on its system save a patent application for a fan design.

The price and exact release date are still being determined. The Jetfoce 28 will retail for about the same price as other airbag packs, approximately $1,000, in 11-, 28-, and 40-liter sizes; 7 lbs., 4 oz. (28 liters). Black Diamond hopes to make the pack available for Fall 2014.

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