DISCLAIMER: PERFORM THESE MODIFICATIONS AT YOUR OWN RISK.
There is no doubt that I’m a big fan of using Black Diamond AvaLung backpacks for skiing. Hey, why not stack the odds in your favor when it comes to avalanche safety…right? With that being said though, in the springtime when avalanches are potentially a lot less of an issue (if you’re doing it right), it is kind of nice to really strip down the weight of your backcountry kit so you can move faster and catch the window of opportunity for prime corn skiing that is often relatively short in the Rockies. One way to do that is to remove the AvaLung hardware from your pack, which not only reduces weight, but also makes your pack a little less bulky and gives it a little more room for packing.
I’m sure some people will think…sweet…now I can use my AvaLung pack for summer adventures too!!! Maybe I guess, but personally I’m not sure I would want to put the extra milage on my $200+ Avalung ski pack by using it in the summer months. I would rather buy a cheaper, lightweight pack for summer and use that instead. I think both would last longer in the long run. Anyway, here is a run down of how to remove your AvaLung hose:
First off, look in the inside of your pack and you will see a horizontal zipper at the top and a vertical zipper on one side. Unzip the vertical zipper, which exposes the zipper pull for the horizontal zipper, and then unzip that one too. Be sure to unzip them all the way, as it will be easier on the fiddle factor in the end.
Push the extra fabric that covers the AvaLung aside and then undo
the two velcro tabs that hold the hose in place on the side of the pack.
At the bottom, you will see where the hose attaches to the exit port. This is usually the part that people are afraid to mess with when they try to remove their hose, but really…all you have to do is grasp the hose close to where it connects to the port and give it a little tug. It should slide right out without too much reefing.
Move the hose out of the way and feel around down by the exit port. You should find a small cap connected to the port with a thin piece of plastic. Securely plug up the hole with the cap.
The AvaLung hose is designed to come out through the inside of the pack rather than the shoulder strap, so start slowly working the hose outward. When you get to the boxy part attached to the hose, spin it 90 and it will also slide through the opening. The remainder of the hose come out easily.
Just reverse the steps to install the AvaLung hose back into the pack. It’s nearly as easy, but working the mouth piece down the shoulder strap can sometimes be a bit of a bear. Live to ski!