Technology improves avalanche safety gear for growing number of backcountry skiers

IndustriesAssociated Press

The latest in avalanche safety gear is on display at this week's Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City.

Industry representatives and avalanche safety officials say evolving technology and a wider breadth of research is driving improvements in rescue beacons, air bags and snow probes.

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The equipment is being made by small companies as well as industry titans in recognition that backcountry skiing is a growth area in the industry.

New products this year include a Black Diamond air bag that uses a rechargeable, battery-powered fan to inflate the bag. The North Face is unveiling a dual air bag system that can be attached to any backpack.

Officials say the equipment helps keep experienced backcountry skiers safer, but that people still need training and education.