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Outside Business Journal

Two Competitor Brands Team Up to Make Backcountry Skiing Safer

ORTOVOX and Arc’teryx have collaborated to build an avalanche airbag system meant to set a new standard in backcountry safety

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Every now and then, competitors in our industry join forces to do something important together.

The latest of these partnerships, announced today, involves Ortovox and Arc’teryx. The two brands have teamed up to create an avalanche airbag system they’re calling a “new benchmark for mountain safety.”

The new technology, LiTRIC, represents one of the lightest avalanche airbag systems on the market—just 2.4 pounds—powered by a lithium ion battery that holds 60 hours of charge and works for at least two inflations.

According to Ortovox and Arc’teryx, the technology will allow both brands to create new gear that will markedly improve both experience and safety for backcountry skiers and snowboarders.

“It’s been such a unique process to partner with a great brand and competitor like Arc’teryx to rethink avalanche airbag safety for a greater cause,” said Tom Mason, U.S. brand manager at Ortovox. “The LiTRIC airbag system is the product of two companies that are maniacally obsessed with building the highest-quality equipment.”

The heart of the system is a new two-layer airbag balloon that separates an air-holding inner bladder from an outer nylon outer shell—a design that results in a lighter, more packable balloon that doesn’t sacrifice durability.

backcountry skiing pack
The new system features a two-layer airbag balloon that dramatically decreases weight while maintaining durability. (Photo: Courtesy Ortovox and Arc’teryx)

Both Ortovox and Arc’teryx will release new pack lines this fall that incorporate the technology.

From Ortovox, we’ll see three models: the Avabag LiTRIC Tour ($1,300-$1,400), specifically designed for touring in 28-, 30-, 36-, and 40-liter sizes; the Freeride ($1,250-$1,350), slightly lighter and offered in 16-, 18-, 26-, and 28-liter sizes; and the Zero ($1,200), a minimalist 27-liter pack weighing just 4.3 pounds, designed for day tours.

Arc’teryx will incorporate the system into a new line of packs that will feature an avalanche-tool pocket, a helmet-carry system, a sternum strap with safety whistle, waist belt with stash pocket and ice-clipper slots, and a dog-bone tool attachment. LiTRIC packs from Arc’teryx will be available in 16-, 32- and 42-liter models, for $1,700, $1,800, and $1,850, respectively.

Arc’teryx’s packs with LiTRIC technology will feature an avalanche-tool pocket, a helmet-carry system, and more. (Photo: Courtesy Ortovox and Arc’teryx)

Upon announcing the release of the new system, Ortovox and Arc’teryx also announced that they’ve taken the steps to get LiTRIC bluesign certified. That certification, the companies say, ensures the product’s “manufacturing [is] performed with the lowest possible impact on people and the environment and with the most responsible use of resources.”

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