Avalanche Airbags are the next big step forward in backcountry skiing and snowboarding safety, with dramatic improvements in survival stats buzzing around the internet. Mammut, with the purchase of Snowpulse Technology, entered the segment with a modular design that’s at a great price in an already proven backcountry ski pack, the Mammut Nirvana Ride, to make the Mammut Ride R.A.S.
We deployed the pack, then learned how to repack it and refill the cartridge when our Mammut rep visited Tahoe Mountain Sports in this video:
If you aren’t familiar with the idea of an avalanche airbag ski pack, the airbag adds volume and “float” when deployed, keeping you on the surface of the slide, so you don’t end up buried when the snow settles. That means less chance of asphyxiation, and you’re easier to find by your buddies. The airbag deploying above the head also offers a degree of protection from trauma.
As mentioned before, the pack is based on an already proven design from Mammut, a company who’s name is synonymous with serious mountain fun.
It loses some capacity when you add the airbag and air canister in, but should still be plenty for those who are out for the day – whether skinning or heli-skiing.
Here we have loosely packed a puffy Patagonia jacket, a stuff sack full of gear, a Kleen Kanteen water bottle, and a backcountry skiing guide in below the airbag itself, with plenty of room left. You can also see a separate zippered compartment at the top for small things like keys, cell phone and snacks.
A separate avalanche gear pocket easily swallows an avalanche shovel and probe, and could also fit climbing skins and other random gear you want quickly accessible. This pocket also accesses the adjustment for the diagonal ski carry strap (deployed out of the bottom of the pack), letting you set the length of the strap according to the width of your skis – pretty trick. You can also see helpful emergency instructions and a check list printed on the top of the pocket.
Here we have the goggle pocket with a soft, fuzzy material designed to keep your goggles from scratching when you aren’t wearing them. Also handy for other electronics. Because of the airbag, one thing missing is a helmet carry system – so if you bring a helmet into the backcountry it may have to hang from one of the many compression straps on the way up.
There are six compression straps: two on each side (good for vertical ski carry – but Mammut recommends against A-frame carry because that’s where the airbag needs to deploy) and two across the front that can be used for a vertical snowboard carry or as part of the diagonal ski carry.
Aluminum-stay framing, along with well contoured and padded back, shoulder straps and hipbelt make this very comfortable for carrying the weight of all your gear, transferring the load to your hips and off your shoulders. The pack also has a hydration sleeve in the main compartment for your hydration reservoir.
All the buckles on the shoulder straps and hipbelt are metal so that, along with an included crotch strap, the pack won’t come off you if you’re in an avalanche.
We’re extremely impressed with this avalanche airbag ski pack from Mammut here at Tahoe Mountain Sports. If you have any questions, feel free to ask here, on our Facebook page, or at [email protected]
Mammut Ride R.A.S. Avalanche Airbag Backpack