New Tech / Safety Gear in the Backcountry | Blister Summit 2023 Video

At our Blister Summit 2023, Alexander Cernichiari (Ortovox) and Paul Forward (heli-ski guide, physician, & Blister reviewer) provided a state of the union on technology’s role in the backcountry and the related safety gear.

They also answer questions regarding avalanche airbags, interference between avalanche beacons and other electronics, apps that aim to identify avalanche terrain, the capabilities — and limits — of smartphones, and more.


Learn more about the Blister Summit here


  • Intros & How Paul met Jonathan 00:00
  • Paul’s Perspective as a Guide 6:08
  • Standards / Uniformity Across Products? 8:48
  • Avalanche Airbags 10:31
  • Interference Between Beacons & Electronics 14:52
  • Solutions to Interference? 22:05
  • Apps for Avy Terrain Identification 23:17
  • Will Everything Eventually Be on Our Phones? 29:43
  • Most Important Piece of Gear? 32:17
  • Phones’ Capabilities & Limits 34:13
  • “Critical” vs. “Nice to Have” Gear 37:25
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1 comment on “New Tech / Safety Gear in the Backcountry | Blister Summit 2023 Video”

  1. My personal feeling is that most modern beacons (e.g., BCA Tracker 4, Mammut Barryvox, Pieps/BD) can identify a buried person relatively fast. Using “probing ahead” method, the rate limiting step is shoveling. Most students in avalanche classes tend to focus on transceiver functions, range,/signal acquisition, and multiple burial flagging until the end of their companion rescue practice. At that point, it’s obvious that digging is the most time consuming part of companion rescue. A fairly recent study by the SLF concluded that burials invoking more than two people have gone from 10% before 2000 to <5% since 2000 and only 1% of accidents are close-proximity burials.

    Many professional organizations in North America and Europe are investigating passive and active EMI interference. For the present time, I prefer that my students or peeps not wear heated gloves, on or off (and banish foil lined jackets). Heated socks should be located <20 – 30 cm from your transceiver and might be a source of interference during fine-search. It will take some time and effort to resolve active and passive EMI interference. For now, the 50/20 cm rule seems prudent, until we have more data.

    Two links (all things Canadian).

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