With ski resorts across the US receiving above average snowfalls this season, there have unfortunately been a number of victims already claimed by avalanches. In the wake of these tragedies, Park City based outdoor tech company Mountain Hub (formerly Avatech) recently announced their newest product: The Scope, a snowpack testing probe built right into a ski pole. Founded by a team of MIT graduate students, The Scope, along with Mountain Hub's other offerings are trying to bridge the gap between safety and the backcountry.
The Scope is a reimagined SP2: the second generation of Mountain Hub's snowpack structure measurement tool that is only available to professional organizations such as ski resorts, avalanche educators, search and rescue teams, etc. As the probe reaches each level of snowpack it continuously records data, in hopes to warn the skier if an area is prone to avalanche. The Scope essentially does the same job, it is simply a more portable version that is catered to consumers. Instead of an attached screen, the probe uses bluetooth to send snowpack data directly to your smartphone, which can then be uploaded to the Mountain Hub app.
Mountain Hub developed an app that provides anyone from the backcountry novice to snow safety professionals with real time snow conditions. The app features a live map with base layers and terrain visualizations, making the backcountry more navigable on the move. Using their smartphone, The Scope, or The SP2, users can upload real-time pictures, snowpack data, weather, etc. for other members to utilize in decision making in the outdoors.
Brand President Thomas Laasko admits The Scope is not a "green light" for skiers to take that backcountry run, but it hopefully provides a little more knowledge. Avalanche safety coordinators argue that it does not replace crucial avalanche safety techniques like digging a snowpit, it instead offers another set of data to analyze and make your move. Although, Mountain Hub believes that with the combination of snow science technology the Scope possesses and contributions/awareness of the backcountry community, it will lead to a safer experience for everyone recreating in the mountains.
The avalanche technology infused poles, which are now available for pre-order at a price tag of $350 (with the purchase of an annual Mountain Hub subscription) or $499 retail, are set to arrive in Fall of 2017. They come in two adjustable sizes: 105-125 cm or 120-140 cm.
For more details on the product: http://mountainhub.com/connected-devices/#product-1