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Company "zooms" in on avalanche victims

Published: Friday, Jan. 20 2012 5:16 p.m. MST

Ortovox displayed its new avalanche beacon at the Outdoor Retailer Trade Expo at the Salt Palace Convention Center on Friday.

The Zoom device has only two buttons, which makes it easy to use, according to managing director Christian Schneidermeier. The LED display shows distances, directional arrows and information about avalanche victims in order to find them more quickly. It uses the technology of three antennas and includes a motion sensor. The sensor is required for switching over in case of a follow-up avalanche.

The beacon evaluates where the device is located in the avalanche and automatically changes to the best transmission antenna.

Schneidermeier came up with the idea for the Zoom, and said he wanted the beacon to be inexpensive and easy to use.

"It's very easy to use," Schneidermeier said. "For the very sensational price of $249."

On the top of the beacon is a switch that can be set to either send or search. This makes it easier for those who frequent the back country.

The Zoom will available for sale this December.

The Ortovox company is based in Germany but has a U.S. in Salt Lake City. Sales are 20 percent higher than last year's, Schneidermeier said, even with the lack of snow.

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