San Leandro, CA (October 14, 2005)—Exhibiting strong leadership in the field of avalanche awareness, The North Face has incorporated the RECCO avalanche rescue system into seven of their Prodigy pieces for this winter season. By integrating RECCO reflectors into the Free Thinker Jacket and Pant, Sedition Soft Shell, Women's Sirius Jacket and Pant, and Women's Nyla Down and Nyla Print Down Jackets, the industry's foremost supplier of technical outerwear has taken a proactive stand for supplemental safety technology.
"I think it's appropriate for who we are as a brand, to promote and provide as an accessory to our products, this type of feature," explains Krak Arntson, snowsports director at The North Face. "I think that it's good stewardship for us within the industry to promote avalanche safety. Offering RECCO as a feature on our products is a way to bring more awareness to the consumer and the snowsports participant."
Peter York, Squaw Valley ski patroller and Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue member, sees The North Face's effort as providing a benefit to all rescue operations. "It makes all patrol jobs—everyone's part of the job—a little easier," he says. "The more people have these reflectors in their garments, the better chance we are going to have of a live recovery if we have a slide within the resort or out of bounds."
This season's introduction is merely the first stage in the relationship between RECCO and The North Face. "We have seven this year, we have approximately 20 for fall 2006 and we anticipate more than that for Fall 2007," Arntson says. "What you will find as we move forward, is all our high-end pieces that are desired by individuals who are more likely to be going out into higher-risk areas, that those products will have RECCO as a feature."
Arntson predicts the impact of the RECCO technology will be most strongly felt in the future. "One thing I like to think about is when we get more years down the road and there is more RECCO out there, whose life will be saved in time, what will that mean and who will that person be," he says. "It could be a friend or a relative—you just don't know. But, in the future, certainly the more live recoveries that will happen. And the value of those, there is no measurement of that value."
About RECCO Avalanche Rescue System
RECCO is an avalanche rescue system utilized by 440 organizations worldwide to assist in the efficient location of burials. RECCO technology enables rapid directional pinpointing using advanced harmonic radar. The two-part system consists of a RECCO detector used by organized rescue groups, and RECCO reflectors that are integrated into apparel, helmets, boots or protection gear. In addition to The North Face the technology has been adopted by major snowsports brands such as Arc'teryx, Atomic, Sessions, Volcom, Quiksilver, Vans, and Pro-Tec.
First introduced in 1983, the technology was developed by Magnus Granhed with the cooperation of Stockholm's Royal Institute of Technology in response to his personal experience with avalanche tragedy. Since then, the system has proven itself effective in the field and has been adopted globally by ski resorts, helicopter skiing operations and search-and-rescue organizations as an additional tool for avalanche rescue. Although similar in search procedure to transceivers, the RECCO system is not intended for companion rescue and is not an alternative to transceiver use in the backcountry. Additional information about RECCO can be found at recco.com.