The North Face launched a 14-city KNOW Boundaries Snow Safety Tour, which partners top athletes, including, Ian McIntosh, Dana Flahr, Lucas Debari and Conrad Anker, with The North Face and REI stores around the country to provide valuable insight on the knowledge, skills and training required for safe backcountry travel.
“Over the years, we’ve seen that backcountry exploration in the winter months has grown in popularity, and when you’re exploring new zones, having the right gear is essential. But understanding how far you can push the limits can mean the difference between coming home safely or not,” said Aaron Carpenter, vice president of marketing for The North Face. “Our mission is to provide insight on how to stay safe when heading off the beaten path and into the backcountry.”
The North Face, the original big mountain company with a heritage steeped in snow sports, also partnered with Teton Gravity Research to create the video series. The series five-part KNOW Boundaries video series is designed to raise awareness about snow safety and the real dangers of avalanches and features TGR Lead Guide Kent Scheler, The North Face athletes, including Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Mark Carter, Xavier De Le Rue and Jimmy Chin, as they educate viewers about various aspects of snow and avalanche safety. The 3-5 minute videos focus on topics including weather, snowpack, terrain selection and red flags of the backcountry, as well as personal tips from the professionals who have first-hand avalanche experience.
“There are a lot of things you can do to keep yourself out of an avalanche. Having just survived one, I can tell you that you really don’t want to be caught in one, because you’re no longer in control at that point,” said Jimmy Chin, The North Face skier and mountaineer who survived a 1,000 ft. avalanche slide in April 2011. “The best advice I can give is to take all the variables that are within your control to avoid an avalanche.”
For years, The North Face has incorporated Recco® avalanche rescue reflectors into its line of innovative outerwear products to support safe snow sports activities, as featured in the Enzo Jacket ($449 USD) new this fall. The North Face now offers the brand’s most versatile and convenient technical piece for skiers and snowboarders on the go – the Powder Guide Vest ($189).
Originally designed to meet the demands of hardworking ski patrollers, the Powder Guide Vest enables skiers and snowboarders to carry all of the necessary essentials for sidecountry excursions without the need for a pack. Constructed with ballistic nylon, the Powder Guide Vest fits over the wearer’s shell and features a collection of purpose-built carrying systems and pockets that provide secure and balanced weight distribution for avalanche gear and skis or a snowboard.
Convenient features like a ski/snowboard trap system, external snowboard/ski securing straps and a dual internal media/security pocket improve mobility, while safety features like an exterior shovel head securing system, pocket for your probe, and Recco® avalanche rescue reflector allow skiers and snowboarders to be prepared.
Also new for this fall is a “Snow Safety Checklist” inner label that appears on select Summit Series® and Cryptic® snow sports gear. The icon-based label reminds consumers what to bring and how to prepare before heading into the backcountry. Icons include a map or compass, food and water, first aid kit, shovel, probe, fire, avalanche beacon, multi-use tool, headlamp or flashlight, extra layers, an emergency blanket and communication (tell a friend of your plans).
Get Informed: For more information about snow safety, visit www.thenorthface.com/knowboundaries or www.powdermag.com to watch the KNOW Boundaries safety videos. Visit www.avalanche.org for more details on an avalanche rescue clinic near you.