Good news for all you ski patrollers, SAR personal and avalanche rescues, RECCO has a new detector that has more features and is much smaller. Hopefully the general public won’t see these units put to work very often, but many skiers and snowboarders out there are increasingly seen with RECC reflectors highlighted on their clothing and encased in their ski boots. Interestingly enough, the RECCO industry is fully funded by what manufactures like Arc’teryx and The North Face pay to use the RECCO reflector in their products and the actual detectors (like the one shown here) are supplied free of charge to required personnel. Pretty cool really….thanks RECCO!
Back to the new detector. US RECCO guru Dale Atkins was in Jackson last week showing off the new unit to our local ski area patrol staff and Teton Country Search and Rescue, and gave me a call to see if I wanted to check it out. Having a little experience using the RECCO detector in TCSAR trainings, I’ve been able to locate reflectors buried under the snow…so I squeezed some time in to meet up with him.
First impressions were obvious, as the overall size of the new detector is greatly reduced and is less than half the size of the older, two piece units. It folds up nicely to about the overall mass of a water bottle and comes with an ear-bud accessory and carrying case. When in use, a handle folds out on the back and the antenna flips out on the front. When searching the debris pile, the user swings the detector back and forth in front of them. When he/she receives a signal, they walk in that direction, and turn the volume down as the signal get stronger…much like an analog avalanche beacon search. Alt mode is for when you are searching with two detectors. Set one in the up position, the other down…so their signals don’t confuse each other.
Besides the overall size reduction, the new RECCO detector also includes an analog 457 avalanche transceiver receiver, allowing one searcher to clear, or find, either device buried in avalanche debris. With all the high tech avalanche transceivers on the market right now, it’s doubtful that the unit would actually be used to pin-point a buried avalanche transceiver, but at least it could sense the general area of a beacon in a large avalanche path and send a transceiver searcher to actually locate it. Anyway, from a SAR perspective….very helpful. Thanks to Dale for getting in touch and thanks to RECCO for helping make our sport safer.