As part of preparing for a ski tour, I recently visited the Mammut avalanche testing field located in Klosters, Switzerland. 

As I had no major prior experience of using such equipment, I was a good candidate to use the BarryvoxS, the new and smart avalanche transceiver we designed for Mammut and test it in regard to its intuitiveness, usability and performance, of course under expert guidance.

In the testing field, several transceivers were buried in the ground. The goal was to use your own transceiver, in my case the BarryvoxS, to see how to quickly locate these targets and how to train for such a procedure.

Even though the set up was a simulation, it was a stressful situation as you are aware of how critical time is in such an emergency: after only fifteen minutes, chances of survival drop dramatically. This is not a lot of time if you consider that often you first have to get to the area of search, complete the search and then do the digging for a victim (or several victims).

The most interesting thing about the experience was how intuitive the product actually was to use. The guidance during every step to indicate whether you were doing something right or wrong was truly beneficial, especially when you lack professional experience or frequent use. Testing a product that is designed to save lives in the climatic conditions that it was built for, makes this all the more real. You realise that in the context of use - slippery gloves,  rough weather conditions, bad visibility - you truly appreciate a product that was developed with the user perspective and needs in mind. 

It was great having such a first-hand experience and it made me proud that we have been part of such a project.