This Ski Pole Can Predict Avalanches

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Every good backcountry skier knows that you need an avalanche beacon, a probe, and a shovel the minute you step off-piste. Virgin snow in remote territory can be a death trap for those uneducated or unprepared enough to mitigate the risk of snow slabs, falling cornices, and weakened snow layers. And those who are qualified enough to be out there can thank Mountain Hub for creating a piece of gear that makes having the correct gear and knowledge in high-alpine terrain as easy as carrying your ski poles.

The gear and tech company has developed the new Scope ski poles, which have the basic features of any good ski pole — they’re durable, lightweight, and easy to handle. But they also have a few hidden components. They’re Bluetooth capable, and connect to your smartphone to send you real-time analysis of snow conditions wherever you are. Additionally, they have a built-in probe to help eliminate the need to reach into your pack during a rescue.

The Scope’s integrated probe is a modified version of Mountain Hub’s SP2, a measuring device designed for outdoor professionals, such as search-and-rescue teams and mountain guides. The SP2 probe can sense changes in pressure in the snow and send an alert to those out on the mountain of potential avalanche danger. For the Scope, that same technology used in the SP2 has been shrunk down and fitted to the inside of a ski pole.

The poles are available for preorder now but won’t be in stock and ready to ship out until fall 2017.

Another safety-savvy invention that made its debut this ski season is the Pieps Micro Avalanche Beacon, which utilizes a photo sensor to switch from search mode to transmit mode whenever sunlight is present. So if the beacon is packed away — whether in your jacket, backpack, or under the snow, it will automatically remain in transmit mode. But the minute sunlight is detected, it automatically switches to search mode to make rescues quicker and more efficient. The Pieps Micro Avalanche Beacon is available now for $390.