Soon the time will come. The first snow will fall and cover the mountains white. Then, at the latest, it's time to grab your skis or board and make sure that your gear is ready for the season.
It's good to have your equipment on hand and not have to think about whether everything is working properly. This applies to all ski and touring equipment and now is just an ideal time to check all your equipment.

Whether the skins are still sticky, the edges are rust-free, and the base is prepared is just as relevant for the first trip into the winter terrain as having your ski socks ready to hand. It is also important to always have your emergency equipment with you, fully functional and well maintained.

Then, at the latest, it’s time to grab your skis or board and make sure that your gear is ready for the season.

1. avalanche transceiver (LVS)

Those who have correctly stored their emergency equipment over the summer break, i.e., those who have removed their batteries, checked and, if necessary, updated their emergency equipment, can rest easy. Those who have not done so may be a bit anxious that the batteries in the avalanche transceiver have leaked – in which case, the device would have to be sent in. Hopefully everything is OK, and then insert new, high-quality batteries.

Tip: Best to buy twice as many batteries as necessary and store the excess batteries packed in a waterproof container. Then they are immediately on hand when the first set needs to be replaced.

When closing the battery compartment, check it and all other mechanical or moving parts of the beacon and the carrying system for cracks or other damage.

Check all the avalanche beacon’s functions with the support of the Pieps app. (SEND > SELF-CHECK > SEARCH > SEND > OFF) and familiarize yourself with the menu items and its operation.

Check all the avalanche beacon’s functions with the support of the Pieps app. (SEND > SELF-CHECK > SEARCH > SEND > OFF) and familiarize yourself with the menu items and its operation.

Tip: The printed or digital user manual can help you while browsing through the menu so you are ready in case of an emergency.

2. Avalanche probe

As before, check the shovel and additionally check if the tension of the probe in case cable has to be readjusted. Also check the battery and electronics of the iProbe

3. Avalanche shovel

Take your shovel, check that nothing is broken or bent, assemble, disassemble, maintain if necessary (silicone spray, …) and store in the emergency compartment your backpack.

Check that nothing is broken or bent, assemble, disassemble

4. Avalanche Backpacks

As with other equipment, a complete check of the avalanche backpack is recommended before the season begins, which of course includes its deployment. This is the only way to know that the system is actually functional!

Depending on the avalanche airbag system, this may take more or less effort. The electronic systems with a fan – such as the PIEPS JETFORCE – have a big advantage, because no cartridge is used and therefore must not be replaced.

At the end of the summer, the battery of the JETFORCE should be re-charged via the cable in the shoulder strap and you can now use this time to refamiliarize yourself with the correct operation with the help of the instruction manual. Then put on the backpack, go through all the steps, just like you would on the mountain and deploy the airbag to ensure it is functioning. The pack it back up ready and you are ready to go!

Mittels Gebrauchsanleitung den Lawinen-Airbag überprüfen und funktionsfähig machen

5. First aid kit

Before the winter season begins, it is worthwhile to check the contents of the first aid kit and replace expired or used material. Possibly add a few more blister plasters or a heat pack. If you also keep a small headlamp here, check the batteries and replace them if necessary.

6. Bivy bag

Briefly unpack, check that nothing is moldy or damaged, and return it to the pack.

7. Remaining emergency equipment

The rest of the emergency equipment will also be used in everyday life – e.g., smartphones. It depends on personal preferences what is taken along on a ski tour or freeriding. Helmet, reserve battery packs, radio or sat messenger – prepare and pack accordingly.

Tip: Updates may also be available for some touring, map or tour-planning apps, so it is a good idea to reacquaint yourself with the functions and features here as well. Only then will they be able to be operated confidently in the field and in case of an emergency!

Peter Plattner

Peter Plattner

Bergführer, Sachverständiger, Fachautor