Avalanches > Search and Rescue > Ski Resort Security > Avalhex

Avalhex is a new system developed between the French CEA and CEMAGREF groups. It has been tested over the last three winters on a site at the Col du Lauteret near the ski resort of Serre Chevalier and approved for use the French government testing agency Veritas. It is based on exploding hydrogen gas in a latex balloon above the avalanche slope. This causes a shock wave which will usually clear the snow. The system offers lower costs compared to the Gazex system and has a capacity of 17 or 26 shots before it needs reloading. Hydrogen, being lighter than propane is safe as it dissipates into the atmosphere more quickly if their is a fault. The mixture can be precisely controlled to adapt the explosion to the snow conditions.

From an environmental viewpoint the system can be taken down at the end of the ski season by undoing 4 or 6 bolts (depending on the model) then helilifting the installation for storage. This also avoids weather and human damage during the closed season.

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Categories: Snow Safety