After a string of product teasers earlier this fall, Black Diamond finally unveiled the details behind their JetForce Technology. Taking a brand new approach to avalanche airbag systems, JetForce is the first to use an electronically controlled jet fan for inflation.
When setting out to build an avalanche airbag system, Black Diamond knew they did not want a "me too" product. Instead, the company had the freedom to design a new system from the ground up, with a strong focus on ease of use and better performance over the traditional compressed gas cylinder systems.
Much like the AvaLung, Black Diamond wanted to tap into the infinite resource of the surrounding atmosphere. As such, the team quickly settled on using a fan as the base of the system. JetForce Technology includes three main components- a fan inside housing with a butterfly valve, a CPU with rechargeable Li-ion battery, and an activation handle.
From start to finish, Black Diamond wanted the avalanche airbag system dead easy to use and also perform better than any other system. With a fan, there is zero cost to you to practice inflating the avalanche airbag and enables you to have no reservations when pulling the trigger out in the backcountry.
The avalanche airbag system requires no assembly and includes a self diagnostic feature to ensure everything is set up correctly before you head out on the mountain. For better performance, Black Diamond focused on both airbag volume and puncture recovery. Once activated, the fan runs for 1 full minute to keep the 200L airbag topped off. In this mode, the airbag is able to recover from a 6 inch slit if you should happen to be dragged over trees or rocks.
An avalanche airbag is only useful so long as you are churning in the snow. The JetForce system runs on a 3 minute cycle, topping up the airbag and then automatically deflating. This gives you a 200L air pocket and reduces the potential for an ice mask forming if you happen to get buried or caught in a terrain trap.
The JetForce avalanche airbag system weighs 3.3 kgs (7.2 lbs) and is good for up to four deployments on one full charge. At the end of the day, you can go home and simply plug your bag in to be ready for tomorrow- no need to go searching around town for new canisters.
JetForce Technology will come in three different backpack styles- the Heli 11L, Halo 28L ($1100), and the Saga 40L. Each pack will come in either red or black and in two different torso sizes. JetForce Technology will also be featured in Black Diamond partner packs from Pieps (TourRider 24 and TourPro 34) and POC (Thorax 11).
You can see more details in the video below and watch Nathan Kuder run through one cycle of the JetForce avalanche airbag system.