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Back Country Access

BCA awards at 2013 Outdoor Retailer show.We just got back from what might have been one of the most exciting shows ever for BCA. We launched our BC Link group communication system and took home five awards for the BC Link and two of our existing products. Oh yeah, we also got in a couple days of decent ski touring!

The Outdoor Retailer Winter Market is the annual buying show in Salt Lake City for retailers ranging from REI all the way down to Granola Guy Sports (that’s a real shop in Redwood City, Calif.).

Buyers from these shops take a look at products that manufacturers plan to ship the following season, in this case the autumn of 2013. Along with a few new Float airbag styles and a new line of Stash packs, BCA plans to start shipping our BC Link group communication system.

This is a two-way radio system that’s a big step up from the Talkabout radios you probably ditched about five years ago. It has a rechargeable lithium ion battery, simple user interface, and our Smart Mic remote speaker microphone with all the controls at your fingertips: on/off, push-to-talk, volume, channel selection, and battery indication. It can be used with all backpacks, but can be integrated cleanly into our new line of 2013-14 Stash packs.

Our intent is to push proactive, preventative measures to prevent avalanche accidents, not just sell reactive devices for rescue. After all, the goal is to save lives, not just pump products. Over the next few years, you’ll see that we’ll be addressing the “human factors” and communication issues that all too often lead to avalanche incidents. We’ve seen many incidents in which communication gaps have directly lead to fatalities in the backcountry–and snow immersion fatalities at the ski resort (see our 2012 ISSW paper). The BC Link is a big part of this, along with our growing education program and our new BCA smartphone app currently in testing.

Here are the rewards we racked up at the show:

  • Outside Magazine “Gear of the Show:” BC Link group communication system
  • Gear Institute “Gear of the Show:” BC Link group communication system 
  • Gear Institute “Best in Class:” BCA Float 32 avalanche airbag
  • OR Avalaunch Awards “Best New Product:” BCA Float 32 avalanche airbag
  • OR Avalaunch Awards “Best Safety Product:” Tracker2 avalanche beacon

BCA booth at 2013 OR show.


Colin Balke is a content editor for who lives in Northern California. When not plucking away on a keyboard, he can be found splitboarding, camping, backpacking, or hanging out with family and friends.