ARVA Axis Avalanche Beacon preview


Snow safety specialist Arva has just launched its latest avalanche transceiver in time for the new ski season. Ski enthusiasts will be interested in the AXIS, which Arva says is the most advanced avalanche transceiver on the market – and could be a life-saver for anyone who goes off piste. Experienced skiers will know that safety equipment is key when going off piste, and that’s where the Axis comes in. It enables you to quickly find others buried in an avalanche. The Axis has both digital and analog search modes and is capable of detecting multiple victims within a 50m search area.

Unique to the Axis, says Arva, is its standby function, which enables the device to remain in standby mode while you search, in case there is another avalanche.

Check it out on this video:

If the worst happened and you were using a shovel and probe to communicate with other rescuers, leaving the Axis in emission mode could disturb the search process, while switching to search mode could prove noisy. And you would not want to turn off the Axis in case there was another avalanche. The solution is the standby function – if it detects no movement after four minutes, it automatically changes to emission mode.

The Axis is powered by 4 alkaline AAA batteries, weighs 260g and has three antennas. It offers a primary and secondary search function, has a U-turn alarm and allows you to mark or unmark a found victim.

The cost? £275.

More details from

Four great winter wonderland gadgets!

With Indian summers occurring in October abruptly followed by some moderate to heavy snowfalls in certain areas, the weather’s been pretty unpredictable here in the UK in the latter stages of 2011. In fact, because of the early snow flurries, William Hill have shortened the odds of the lowest temperature ever recorded in England (-26.1C) being beaten this winter, from 18/1 to 16/1. Personally, given the erratic consequences of global warming, I’d be more inclined to make a bet that this Christmas will be the mildest one ever recorded, you’d be sure to get better odds! Mild, freezing, snow or rain, whatever weather we wake up to this Christmas morning, you can be sure to make your own idyllic winter wonderland by opening a few snow/winter-inspired Christmas gadgets…




This cute little gadget is guaranteed to ‘melt your heart’, especially if you’re a fan of The Snowman. The Snowimal comes equipped with everything you need to make your own desktop snowman, including arms, eyes, a carrot nose, a hat and a red scarf. Bearing a cruel similarity to Raymond Brigg’s snowman’s early demise, once you have built your loveable little Snowimal, being made out of a special non Newtonian fluid, he’ll slowly melt before your eyes and become a puddle of white. Guaranteed to get little ones crying, but don’t worry, they’ll soon be happy again once you’ve rebuilt him!

Instant Snow

Decorate the Christmas tree, strategically position some under the chimney as if Santa must have ‘brought some snow in’ whilst delivering the presents, or let the kids have a mock snow flake fight, whichever way Instant Snow will make a great addition to the Xmas gadget list this year. This realistic looking snow in a can even feels cold to touch and 20 grams will makes 1.5 litres of snow.


Arctic Force Snowball Blaster


Now this one requires the aid of actual snow, which would unfortunately go against the ‘mildest Christmas ever recorded’ bet I’ve persuaded you to make. If it does however happen to be a White Christmas than any kids opening the Arctic Force Snowball Blaster are guaranteed to be delighted. This ‘awesome’ snowball launcher, fire snowballs up to 80ft – yes the neighbours are going to love you! Simply dump a mound of snow into the snowball press, and lit rip!

This Arctic Force Snowball Blaster is suitable for children aged 8+ and adult supervision is recommended, not that the ‘big kids’ in the house will need much persuading!


Beard Beanies


With a press release arriving in LG’s inbox titled ‘Fed up of Winter’s Frozen Face’, we had to take a look at this one for a winter-inspired ‘best of’. Tired of traditional balaclavas to help keep your face warm in freezing temperatures, you could try a Beard Beanie instead. These hand crocheted beards come complete with a beanie hat and will keep your face warm and snuggly in Arctic conditions. Suitable for both sexes??? (the mind boggles) and all age groups, the Beanie Beard is this season’s ‘must have fashion accessory’. Hmmm, great if we all want to walk around looking like Badly Drawn Boy!