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  • The STW Ski & Snowboard thread. The 2014-2015 season
  • Premier Icon stevomcd
    Subscriber

    Transceivers use graphite antennas which can be a little delicate. If I dropped it down a flight of concrete stairs, I would most definitely have doubts about it and would check it pretty thoroughly before using it again.

    At the same time, I’d happily buy a second-hand one. Transceivers should be regularly checked & serviced by the manufacturer. It’s not expensive and is something I would probably budget for if buying second-hand. I have seen a few duff ones in my time.

    GrahamS – probably dodged a bullet there anyway, the original Tracker DTS is a pretty sh*t transceiver and very out-dated now. I’ve seen them do some seriously worrying things when doing big-scale training exercises.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
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    Cheers stevo. We borrowed a couple of Trackers last year and thought they were adequate but clearly a bit basic. If I was buying new then I’d probably go for the Arva Neo or an Ortovox 3+.

    I just thought that for £40 this would be a good bargain – even if I ended up just having it as a spare that we could happily bury for practise drills.

    Edit: sorry back2basics – can’t help you.

    bluebird
    Member

    Has much changed with transceiver’s? We’ve got Red 457 (Barryvox 3000), which must be close to 10 year sold now.

    Is it just the range or are there more features?

    bluebird
    Member

    edit: anyone used homeaway.co.uk for apartments?

    They used to be homelidays. We used them this year for a place in Alpe D’huez in the summer, everything was fine.

    nbt
    Member

    Anyone used “ski school menuires”?

    http://www.skischool-lesmenuires.com/

    They appear to be apart of the ESF, possibly just those instructors who can speak english or who prefer to work with british skiiers?

    It’s a toss-up between them and Prosneige
    http://menuires.prosneige.fr/english/ski-school/private-lessons.php

    For a bit of background information, we’re looking for an off-piste guide for a group of 6 british skiiers of varying abilities – with perhaps a bit of tuition thrown in where it seems one of us needs some pointers. Prosneige are asking for €420 for the day, Ski School Menuires just €330. Big difference! Perhaps even enough to justify two days if they’ll do a better rate for two days 😀

    Premier Icon GrahamS
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    Is it just the range or are there more features?

    Looks like the Red 457 was a dual-antenna combined digital and analog transceiver dating from about 2000?

    I’m sure some of the more knowledgeable will speak up – but from what I’ve read the biggest change has been the move towards pure digital transceivers, faster processing and triple antennas.

    The guy at BeaconReviews says this about triple antennas:

    Almost all new digital transceivers have three antennas (compare them). These avalanche transceivers not only offer the directional and distance benefits of two-antenna beacons, but they almost eliminate spike problems. You won’t notice the spike handling when searching for a beacon a few inches under the snow (as is typical during practice), but bury it under a meter or two of snow and the difference is significant. Three antennas on a searching beacon ensure that antennas are pointed in three-dimensions (i.e., forward/back, left/right, and up/down). The beacon can then use the relative strength of the signal on each antenna to precisely locate the transmitting beacon.

    In my testing, having two-or-more antennas is the most important factor in performing a rapid coarse search in a variety of conditions with a variety of rescuers. And three-antennas greatly improve the fine search in all but very shallow burials. I know some old-timers will disagree, but only until they do serious tests with multi-antenna transceivers. I was a hardcore Ortovox F1 fan and swore that multiple antenna transceivers were for dummies—until I used one and discovered the benefits. That isn’t a sales pitch, rather it is based on my experiences with many beacons.

    http://beaconreviews.com/transceivers/Antennas.asp

    Premier Icon stevomcd
    Subscriber

    I’ve got one of the RED 457, which was a Burton-branded version of the Mammut Barryvox Opto 3000.

    It’s similar to the Tracker and was around at much the same time. Side-by-side, I prefer it, and it seems to do less weird stuff, but they’re pretty similar.

    The main change since that generation of transceivers has been the shift from 2 to 3 antennas, which makes a big difference when searching for a transceiver buried to a more realistic depth. Most people practise searching for a beacon hidden just below the surface, and it’s only when it’s buried a bit deeper that you see the benefit of the 3rd antenna. The second big change is in software. All of the current crop of top-end beacons have very useful software for dealing with multiple burials. These are generally very effective in use. The first-generation digital transceivers also had a pretty short effective range. This is much better in the new generation.

    I’ve currently got a Barryvox Pulse, which is excellent, although the simpler Element version would be better for most people. The pulse has a lot of features only likely to be used by avalanche professionals. The Ortovox 3+ is also good, as is the S1 (S1+?). I haven’t used the latest Pieps, but I’ve heard good things. I’m not keen on some of the thinking behind the Tracker 2, but I do hear good things about the Tracker 3.

    GrahamS, for £42 as a training tool or a spare, it’s not a bad shout. Certainly a whole lot better than nothing.

    bluebird
    Member

    GrahamS and Stevomcd – thanks for the info.

    That’s interesting about the 3rd antenna, especially the more accurate range and depth. I remember at the time of buying mine there was an awful lot of people saying, “Well, it might say 60m on the box, but I wouldn’t expect that in the real world.”

    To be fair ours have always worked faultlessly, but then they’ve only ever been used in simulations and like you say the trannies you’re looking for are at most 2-3 feet under the snow. Perhaps it might be time for an upgrade …

    Premier Icon stevomcd
    Subscriber

    A bit of transceiver science – the radio signal from the buried transceiver comes out in a curved path. This is why you will generally walk along an arc when searching from a distance, rather than travelling in a straight line towards the target.

    When the transceiver is buried just below the surface, this makes little difference in the final search phase. The point where you have the strongest signal on your receiving unit will be right above the target.

    If the target transceiver is buried deeply, the curved path that the radio transmissions take to reach the snow surface means that your strongest signal (“hot spot”) may be some distance away – easily as much as 2 or 3 metres if searching with a single-antenna beacon. This means you have a lot of ground to cover with the probe and the final (probe) phase of the search will take a long time. As the radio waves are transmitted in a symmetrical pattern, you will also very likely have more than one “hot spot”, leading to confusion and an even wider area to probe.

    2-antenna beacons reduce this effect somewhat, but they can also become confused by the multiple hot spot effect. The 3rd antenna (vertically oriented) makes a massive difference here, and, in training exercises, it’s pretty common to hit the buried target on the first or second strike with the probe. It’s this situation in which I’ve seen the Tracker get very confused, it really put me off – I’d previously been a fan.

    Regarding range – I would say that the first-gen digital units aren’t reliable beyond about 30m. Latest generation digital units are much better (50-60m?) but you still can’t beat old-school (and a good set of ears) for the very best range.

    Edukator
    Member

    Do the latest ones with the third antenna still suffer from the “magnetic field” shaped search pattern, Stevemcd? I can’t see any reason to change if the main problem is still trying to work out where the signal is coming from.

    The advantage of Recco is that it point straight at the victim. Always worth having a Recco or two on you BTW. More and more resorts have portable detectors.

    jambalaya
    Member

    Very interesting info here.

    Edukator
    Member

    Ignore my post Steve, rereading your post and Googling suggest the three-antenna things point straight at the victim from anywhere. So it might be time to upgrade.

    Premier Icon cchris2lou
    Subscriber

    is it best to book ski and boots rentals ?

    have never bothered in the past but that was 15 years ago .

    if so , any recommendations for somewhere in Les Gets ?

    Also, has anyone seen the massive phatttt dumps of snow hitting the slopes? Was looking (longingly!) at the Serre Che webcams earlier. It looks superb! Someone’s already got some turns in out there as well!

    Premier Icon TheDTs
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    Yes, looks nice. Surprising amount of snow there.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    From what I saw on the news the skiing looks pretty good in New York at the moment!

    jambalaya
    Member

    @CFH yes I have, will be at White a Room Chalet in 3 weeks, will try not to break myself this time !

    jambalaya
    Member

    @cchris, yes you can get some really good deals by booking online especially from shops away from town centre. Will get you a recommendation.

    whatnobeer
    Member

    Whistler mountain is opening this weekend. Blackcomb probably the weekend after. There’s very little snow on the lower half of the mountain so it’s going to be lift up/lift down for a while yet. The lack of snow in the valley since I’ve arrived has pushed me to buy a new bike, that’s how frustrating it is!

    Premier Icon 10
    Subscriber

    Big resorts in CO are open now, there was a good little storm last week.

    Premier Icon wallop
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    No snow in Saalbach yet. It’s got 4 weeks to turn up 😆 😯

    Premier Icon nedrapier
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    Lyngen Alps looking good too.


    photo from Magic Mountain Lodge’s fb page

    Premier Icon GrahamS
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    Lidl have got Ski Wear in from today.
    http://www.lidl.co.uk/en/our-offers-2491.htm?id=428

    Looks pretty ropey but some extra thermals or socks never hurt and there is kids stuff too.

    Premier Icon thetallpaul
    Subscriber

    Aldi have their ski event on 04 Dec.
    Might be worth it for socks, extra gloves for the little one, etc

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    Let’s try that again:

    chutes down to the road:

    If any mods want to get rid of the flickr “photo not found” link, that’s be great. It’s rather unsightly.

    starrman82
    Member

    Anyone else suffer from skiers thumb and more importantly how to avoid it.
    Yeah don’t fall is the first rule :-)but I’ve being skiing for years & still have the occasional little struggle with gravity. Last season i had a little tumble & yet again trapped my thumb & its very painful. Ta

    bluebird
    Member

    nedrapier that’s looks great

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Sweet baby J that looks glorious ned.

    How tough is it to ride? Doesn’t look toooo steep but hard to tell from that shot.

    I imagine you have to be pretty careful with avi risk? Nowhere to run if it goes bad.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    Graham, no clue! I don’t know where it is or how steep it is. a lodge in the LA posted it on their page. They tagged the photo “kjosen chutes” so it could be either side of the fjord, and if it’s the south, there’s no road.

    Premier Icon stevomcd
    Subscriber

    starrman82 – are you using the straps on your poles? If so, are you putting them on properly?

    Incorrect use of the straps means that, when you let go of the pole, it stays in place in your hand so you fall on it and break your thumb. If you use the straps properly, then when you let go in a stack, it should fall away.

    See here: http://www.trails.com/video_710_use-ski-poles.html

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    Thanks to this thread and the beautiful people contributing to it, I had a proper think about tranceivers and I’m retiring my F1 and bought a 3+ from Facewest. It’s always been picked up quickly by others’, it’s got the best range I’ve seen (90m+) but I’m not a pro guide, I’ll very likely be quicker searching with a modern digi, and it’s one thing less to get in the way of the trust dynamic when new partners see the analogue! (I remember a guide who kept saying “analogues go first!” I didn’t complain!)

    Best price I found was FaceWests, £224, and that’s before the points they give you – worth 10% of the purchase off your next order.

    Correct, that’s £22.40, maths fans! So I ordered another set of those Coll-Tex Pro skins so the lovely wife and I both have a set. Free with the points and £5 spare.

    Sent them an email saying “you may as well sling these in the same bag, save some postage” got one straight back saying “thanks, will do”. Then another half an hour later saying they’d been dispatched.

    Very impressed. If you’re buying stuff, check them out. Good on returns too.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    I’m also sending the F1-alike to Noble Custom, UK distributors for Ortovox. They said they’d send it to Ortovox in Germany for testing and repair if possible/necessary. Nothing to pay if they can’t/won’t/don’t need to do anything, so I’ll know whether to keep it for practice or keep it for a spare to use.

    Premier Icon igm
    Subscriber

    Les Gets starting to fill in…

    bluebird
    Member

    I’ll be interested to hear what you think to it when you get it, nedrapier. I’m umming and ahhing about replacing our transceivers and that’s the front runner at the moment.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    mrsrapier has one, I did a lot of looking around when I bought that one, I wanted something that was intuitive and easy to use, and the reviews and feedback were very positive. It’s also got a fancy feature which switches the transmitting antennae acording to how it’s buried.

    The strongest signal is picked up when the searcher’s beacon is aligned with the victim’s beacon – imagine them both lying flat on the desk – at 90 degrees to each other = OK, pointing in the same direction = better, pointing in the same direction, one behind the other = best. Now balance the “victim” on it’s end, so the antenna is pointing straight up all of the option above are much worse. The 3+ (and probably others ?) switches transmitting to the antenna running along the end of the beacon, so it’s on the same plane as the searcher’s beacon, held parallel to the ground.

    thought it was easier if we have the same one, I know how hers works better so the refresh/practices are easier.

    The Tracker 3 has just(ish) been released, which is supposed to be good, might be worth waiting to see what the feedback is on that.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    dp.

    Premier Icon stevomcd
    Subscriber

    Barryvox Element would be my recommendation for most people again.

    I like the 3+, but there has been some minor quirkiness reported: https://www.wildsnow.com/4068/ortovox-3-avalanche-beacon-2/

    I’ve seen one do exactly this, which was a wee bit off-putting. If it’s your own transceiver and you’re familiar with it, no worries to push on through, but I’d just been handed a friend’s one to try, it was a bit confusing.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    My recommendation would be to give stevo’s comments a lot more weight than mine! 🙂

    starrman82
    Member

    stevomvd, thanks for the reply, no i don’t use straps at all and just face the consequence of potentially loosing a pole. My problem is i don’t let go of the pole easily if i do fall. I was just wondering if anyone else suffered the same & if they found a cure…..apart from stay upright!
    Saw these on ebay but really cant see if they’d work.

    Premier Icon stevomcd
    Subscriber

    starrman82 – I guess the only other advice is “tuck and roll”. Sticking your arms out is always asking for trouble (in MTB and snowboarding as well as in skiing).

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