D'BEST goes D'BEASTTwo years ago I wrote an article for The Avalanche Review publication that appeared in the September 2016 issue. See here for the original article I wrote about a new way of doing an effective beacon check. It works really well and does not let you skip potentially life saving steps before you leave the trail head, which I see happen way too often.
This year - thanks to Eeva Latosuo - The D'BEST beacon check has evolved to D'BEAST. The 'A' is for "Airbag or Avalung". Is your Avalung out? If you or anyone in your group uses an airbag backpack you want to make sure you check that the handle is out, and turned on if using the JetForce technology. If you are going to spend a bunch of money and carry the extra weight of an airbag pack but do not have the handle out, it's basically worthless.
D - Display (any errors on your display screen?)
B - Battery (what is your battery strength? replace at 50%)
E - Electronics (all electronics stored at least 20cm away? phone to airplane mode, turned off?)
A - Airbag/Avalung (is your airbag handle out? activated? Avalung out?)
S - Search (check your groups search function)
T - Transmit (have them stow properly and check that each person is transmitting)
Lastly, make sure the leader switches back to transmit and stowed away properly.
Using this acronym is an easy way to ensure you do not skip important steps to start your day skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling (aka snowmachine in Alaska) or other mountain travel. I use it every single day I go out whether teaching avalanche courses, backcountry ski tour guiding, heli-ski guiding or just out with friends on a personal day. Let D'BEAST be your way of doing a beacon check too.
Thanks for reading, have a safe season! - Nick D'Alessio
Girdwood, Alaska and beyond!