cantunamunch

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To keep the natural beauty of tree wells safe, we need to keep people from skiing into them. In such an otherwise pristine environment, there is nothing uglier than the hack job someone clawing for their life will leave behind. Have you ever noticed that when people can’t breath, suddenly everything is all about them? Paleeze!
And just think of the poor stressed out voles!

First, they're lunch meat for every predator on the mountain, and, just when they've found some shelter under the snow, WHAM! flailing inconsiderate skiers disrupt their post-tree-chewing naps.
 

Missile Bandits

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skied across one once in Tahoe. We were stopping for beers in the trees. skis released and I was hanging (upright) by my safety straps as the 215's straddled the hole. good thing I didn't fall in there.
skiing with a buddy helps. Having a "call" works good too. Something that carries and everyone uses it. So you don't have to call "names" . We used "MORE BEER" in college. We carried it with us to Tahoe for a while. We 'd get separated in the trees and then everyone started yelling. then we changed it to Rom Reeb as we got more "respectful".
 

Bruuuce

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Carrying a handy whistle is something I hadn't thought of and is a great idea. I think I'll do that this year. Thanks for the suggestion!

Back in the late 80's I was out in CB and got separated from my ski buds in some tight tress. Fell in a deep soft tree well and was completely upside down. Luckily I had MRR bindings (the old Marker ones with the tab release) and was able to easily pop them and get upright. There is no way I get out of that situation with the bindings I have now. I still miss my MRR's because of that day.
 

GCRUMP

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The new Apple Watch "Fall Detection" and automatic alert to authorities has some intriguing possibilities for skiing.
The short version , if the watch senses a fall and lack of movement it will automatically alert authorities and your emergency contacts with your location if you don't respond to the message on the watch in 60 seconds.

I'm curious if a "Ski Fall" where your knocked unconsious would look to the watch sensor the same as a "Fall" that it's been programmed to detect and alert authorities.

Specific to this thread and tree wells...... not sure if it'd sense this as a "Fall" but i can't imagine we're that far off from a similar capability
 

TheArchitect

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The new Apple Watch "Fall Detection" and automatic alert to authorities has some intriguing possibilities for skiing.
The short version , if the watch senses a fall and lack of movement it will automatically alert authorities and your emergency contacts with your location if you don't respond to the message on the watch in 60 seconds.

I'm curious if a "Ski Fall" where your knocked unconsious would look to the watch sensor the same as a "Fall" that it's been programmed to detect and alert authorities.

Specific to this thread and tree wells...... not sure if it'd sense this as a "Fall" but i can't imagine we're that far off from a similar capability
Hmmm. I've been looking for an reason to buy an Apple Watch. The new heart features are compelling but not quite enough to push me over the edge. If it helped with skiing safety then I'm sold.
 

KingGrump

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The new Apple Watch "Fall Detection" and automatic alert to authorities has some intriguing possibilities for skiing.
The short version , if the watch senses a fall and lack of movement it will automatically alert authorities and your emergency contacts with your location if you don't respond to the message on the watch in 60 seconds.

I'm curious if a "Ski Fall" where your knocked unconsious would look to the watch sensor the same as a "Fall" that it's been programmed to detect and alert authorities.

Specific to this thread and tree wells...... not sure if it'd sense this as a "Fall" but i can't imagine we're that far off from a similar capability
Lots depends on cell coverage or lack of.
 

MattSmith

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Lots depends on cell coverage or lack of
Yes, in many cases this is true. Without cell coverage your phone doesn't do much good. ...but your GPS enabled smart watch *could* (help find your body?)

I wrote a post last week with some of the features on a Look Smart watch. https://www.pugski.com/threads/apple-watch-3-other-gps-smart-watches-and-ski-tracking.11475/#post-263573

There are GPS features that will pick up where mobile coverage leaves off. I'm reasonably sure the watch will detect the fall (advertised, control tested, not field tested). It will detect no movement via GPS and initiate the SOS features. The user (who fell) has a window to deactivate the SOS, otherwise it begins contacting your "SOS contacts" via phone, SMS or email. Here is what's advertised from the Manufacturer.
Using combined G-sensors, the LooK Watch generates an emergency alert if a physical fall is detected. The emergency alert will then be sent to your pre-set personal emergency contact numbers and services with your GPS coordinates and incident location. Two-way calling then directly communicates you with your emergency contacts and reassures you that help is on the way. If it is a false alarm, the watch user simply needs to press the SOS button when prompted to do so, and the emergency alert will be cancelled.

I can't quite grasp the "Two-way calling" feature. The verbiage is a bit off. What the heck is "directly communicates you"? ...I'm still working with this feature. I have a hike planned where I can be sure there will be no mobile service. I can't figure there's a GPS phone packed into this thing.

Assuming there's no GPS calling capabilities, I'd envision a "emergency rescue" situation where my first contact number is my closest and most trusted contact. Were a situation to occur where they are contacted, they'd access the LocationNow platform to see my "bread crumbs" and exact location. From there, I'd have them trained to attempt to contact me, and if no response to contact emergency rescue services in the area. Like any emergency situation, we'd train to this and ensure we know before we go.

Admittedly there are a lot of "holes" with this approach. I don't have allusions that this is a "life saver". In a tree well situation, a lot of events need to line up and execute successfully in a life emergency situation. What it provides me is a small piece of mind that my loved ones can track me and will have an understanding of what occurred should the ultimate unfortunate event occur. ...and even then, it's hardly well-proven tech. Not a good idea to depend on it, but yet another tool in the tool belt.
 

jmeb

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Just for clarification:GPS calling isn't a thing. GPS is a one-way signal -- the device getting signal from GPS satellites.To send a signal via satellite you need a different, much more power-hungry device. I highly doubt that a watch has the ability to send via satellite.

If you're going to be out of cell phone signal, the answer is a personal locator beacon or similar device (Spot, Garmin InReach, etc.) I also would want to know how these devices work in a snow-covered setting when they rely on clear access to the sky. There is a reason that beacon technology does not depend on clear lines of sight.

EDIT: I just read the copy on the LooK watch (http://www.laipac.com/smartwatch.html). It included the following:
In case of emergency, one second touch on the SOS button will call a pre-set fast dial number for voice call and also send SMS message with GPS location to an emergency cellphone number.
That makes it pretty clear that it is using cell network (SMS) to send out an update on your latest GPS location. Not going to work outside of cell range.
 
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oldschoolskier

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2way radios have a “fallen worker” alert feature on some models (think not cheap) with GPS, they’ve been around for a while.

This could be what you are looking for when skiing in a group. Good thing with this method you are usually (90+%) within radio range when the alert goes off, alerting your mates that a skier has gone down. Radio check everyone ok, back track if not.

Allows a little more freedom, provides the passive backup and communication that everyone is alright.
 

Monique

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I have had lots of falls where I had the breath knocked out of me and couldn't talk for a few seconds - or really do anything except recover my breath and do an internal audit of all my body parts. Sixty seconds, if it is not a modifiable setting, seems crazy fast for most healthy people in most situations.
 

MattSmith

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That makes it pretty clear that it is using cell network (SMS) to send out an update on your latest GPS location. Not going to work outside of cell range.
Agreed, but... This is where Guardian Angel Connect application comes into play. If I'm reading it correctly, the Guardian Angel / LocationNow platform will work to send the SMS / email. It doesn't originate from the watch. The watch sends the data, the platform makes the call.

This will all be tested in a few months when I sign up for the service. Stay tuned...
 

jmeb

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The watch sends the data, the platform makes the call.
My question is...how does the watch "send" the data? It has to have a way to get that information out to the platform. You can't send a signal over GPS -- GPS is a one way signal from satellites to the ground device. You need a satellite connection to send a GPS location (or a cellular connection.) PLBs, Spots, InReach all work on a satellite network. The latter two both require subscriptions to the commercial sat network. PLBs rely on military sat network.

If this product explicitly advertised satellite connections, I'd be with you. If they had a monthly cost to commercial sat network, I'd be with you. Otherwise, I don't see how a watch can "send the data", short of having cellular service.
 
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KingGrump

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Lots of place where I skied have very spotty and/or no cell service. Lots of places I find myself driving through in the winter have very spotty and/or no cell service. I remember several years ago when I was driving from Sun Valley to Mammoth via US 6. I came upon couple of huge signs on US 6 somewhere in Nevada. “No Gas, No Service, No Nothing for The Next 169 Miles.” In that 169 miles, we didn’t see a single car in front or in back of us travelling in the same direction. We did see two (02) cars going the opposite direction. Now, I know why the big headed aliens like to hang out there.

Most people I know take full cell coverage for granted. I often tutor my nephews and nieces on methods of self-reliance when cell services are disrupted and/or not present. I call them back up procedures. I have AAA but I also know how to change a flat tire. Have to tell you, AAA saved my bacon quite a few times already. Not a prepper by any measure but know enough to stay alive when the sh** hits the fan. My motto is “Whatever gets the job done, but let’s try the easiest way first.”

Beacons, whistle, cell phone, smart watches, two-way radios, satellite phones/messenger, personal locator beacon, GPS enable devices and whatnot, they all have the places in our lives. Like any tools, they all have limitation. Know what they are and always have a plan B. Sometimes having plan C, D… in place helps me sleep at night.

Agreed, but... This is where Guardian Angel Connect application comes into play. If I'm reading it correctly, the Guardian Angel / LocationNow platform will work to send the SMS / email. It doesn't originate from the watch. The watch sends the data, the platform makes the call.
Like @jmeb , I am a bit skeptical of the up link capability of the watch. Sound like it is more cellular rather than satellite based.
 

jmeb

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Agreed, but... This is where Guardian Angel Connect application comes into play. If I'm reading it correctly, the Guardian Angel / LocationNow platform will work to send the SMS / email. It doesn't originate from the watch. The watch sends the data, the platform makes the call.

This will all be tested in a few months when I sign up for the service. Stay tuned...
https://www.locationnow.com/faq.jsp

The background service for this app requires cellular comms -- specifically 2G or greater data.

Too bad. If this was Sat based and could be an SOS device for remote locations it'd be huge with adventure sports crowd.

In the case of it being cellular data based, it may actually be useful for tree wells where you have a reasonably good GPS signal before going in (not necessarily in trees.)

If it was Sat based, it'd be basically useless if it was covered in a few feet of snow -- i.e. a dangerous tree well.
 
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dbostedo

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What about a watch, or other device, setting off a PLB in the event of a fall? Are there automatic PLBs that would be useful for treewell or similar incidents?
 

jmeb

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What about a watch, or other device, setting off a PLB in the event of a fall? Are there automatic PLBs that would be useful for treewell or similar incidents?
Not that I'm aware of (watches that work with PLBs).

The biggest problem I see here is a reasonably reliable connection for any sat-based comms if you're under a pile of snow. The dominant danger of tree wells is suffocation due to deep snow suffocation. PLBs are not designed to work through snow: http://www.rmrg.net/about_PLBs.php
 

dbostedo

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Not that I'm aware of (watches that work with PLBs).

The biggest problem I see here is a reasonably reliable connection for any sat-based comms if you're under a pile of snow. The dominant danger of tree wells is suffocation due to deep snow suffocation. PLBs are not designed to work through snow: http://www.rmrg.net/about_PLBs.php
Ah... I didn't realize that PLBs were also satellite based... I thought there might be another system/network. Thanks.
 

Castle Dave

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I have been seriously buried in tree wells three times at Mt Baker. Baker is temperate rain forest with old growth timber and huge dumps of snow. Typically this means up to 20 foot diameter fail zones of loose, unconsolidated snow that can be more than 10 feet deep. Twice I was hanging upside down. I used my poles to release my bindings which allowed me to turn around and stand upright. In order to get out of the hole I used my skis one at a time to make steps to extricate myself.
My experience tells me -yes, do carry a whistle near your mouth for general safety but no one will hear you 10 feet down in a tree well.
-skiing with a buddy won't help much in the first couple of minutes of your immediate emergency because they will be down the hill struggling to get
up to you assuming they notice you are missing.
-you can die in those first couple of minutes. If you find yourself hanging upside down as I did, you can NOT panic because you will dislodge the snow above you and it will bury your head and you will suffocate.
-snowboarders are more vulnerable because they can not undo their bindings when hanging upside down. Unfortunately there have been several
such fatalities at Baker
-of course you ski with your pole straps off your wrist
 

pchewn

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I have been seriously buried in tree wells three times at Mt Baker. Baker is temperate rain forest with old growth timber and huge dumps of snow. Typically this means up to 20 foot diameter fail zones of loose, unconsolidated snow that can be more than 10 feet deep.
Do you think the larger diameter tree well might actually be a benefit, allowing more room to maneuver your arms and poles into position to release the skis? My tree well experience at Mt Hood Meadows was not upside-down, but the diameter was very cramped and I think it would have been better to actually be a bit larger....
 

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