The Avalanche Airbag System consists of two balloons that can be rapidly inflated by a compressed gas cylinder. The system is stored in a special rucksack. The ABS system takes around 25% of the space and weighs an additional 1.8kg. If the wearer is caught by a slide he simply pulls a rip-cord located by the left shoulder. The inflated bags keep the user on top of the avalanche, this makes it easier to find the victim visually and helps prevent the victim being crushed or suffocated by the debris.
The ABS system is already widely used by guides in Tignes. Jean Louis Tuaillon, director of Piste Security in the resort commented “for us, the ABS is an additional safety tool and we’ve decided to apply the principal: everyone and always”. Tignes has bought 600 ABS systems costing around 550 € each. The market in France seems to be growing with over 300 sets sold this year.