The Story Behind the Product

The Story Behind the Product

Inflation and Deflation

When deployed, JetForce’s battery-powered fan inflates a 200-liter airbag. The bag fully inflates in 3.5 seconds.

A puncture recovery cycle follows inflation, helping to maintain the bag in the event of a tear. At one minute and 30 seconds, a volume maintenance cycle begins.

After three minutes of inflation, the jet fan reverses and the airbag deflates, aiding in extraction, creating an air pocket and facilitating repacking.

Rechargeable Electronic System

Powering JetForce Technology is a rechargeable, travel-friendly lithium-ion battery. An external port makes recharging as easy as plugging in a cell phone.

JetForce can redeploy multiple times on a single charge, costing nothing—in time or money—to practice as often as needed.

Automatic System Self-Diagnostic

Electronics perform a "good-to-go" system check on every start-up, and LED lighting in the handle indicates system status.


All JetForce Packs feature a dedicated avy-tool pocket, a HiLo helmet holder and internal accessory pocket.

In addition, all JetForce Packs feature tuck-away diagonal ski carry that allows the airbag to deploy, even while skis are attached. The Saga 40 also accommodates for snowboard carry.

The Halo 28 Pack features a single ice-axe attachment, while the Saga 40 features ice-tool PickPockets™.

AS THE TEAM REFINED THE SYSTEM, there was still something missing. While Black Diamond has a rich history and deep knowledge in mechanical systems, the company’s acquisition of PIEPS in 2012 provided the missing link to JetForce Technology. PIEPS’ experience with highly technical and life-saving electronics systems that needed to function in extreme cold was integral. “JetForce’s fan spins at 60 or 70,000 rpms and pulls over 20 amps in the cold," Gompert says, "so the electronics had to be custom-built from the ground up.” For nearly three years, PIEPS engineers worked alongside Black Diamond’s product team to refine JetForce Technology’s custom electronics. The team soaked the pack in water, froze it to -30°C for five hours, thawed it, refroze it, then triggered the system. Every base had to be covered.
JetForce Product Tech F15 - Body 2 and Small Video close
ONCE A USABLE PROTOTYPE WAS FINISHED, it was time to put it through the paces. Black Diamond’s team of quality assurance engineers tested the JetForce System in nearly every set of conditions and circumstances imaginable. The company not only worked with the certifying body to develop standards for this new technology, but it designed a host of simulation tests that go above and beyond certification standards. Wear tests on the pack fabric and components, waterproof tests on the electronics, weighted compression tests on the airbag; even the system’s tiniest hardware pieces were submitted to thousands of repetitions in a durability cycle tester.

“The standard tests only goes so far,” Jon Coppi, the lead QA engineer on the JetForce project says. “These extra tests may not be necessary to achieve certification by the standard, but for a customer using it over the lifetime of the product, we think it’s incredibly necessary.”
Outside of the in-house lab, a wide-ranging and dedicated team of field testers put JetForce through more than two full winter seasons and thousands of user days of real-world testing around the globe.

And Coppi was one of them. A dedicated backcountry skier, he was voluntarily buried in a control chamber under several meters of snow to ensure the system could pull air from compressed avalanche debris. He passed on the chance to ride JetForce Technology through a real avalanche, however, bestowing that honor instead on the department’s test dummy, watching from the ridge instead as JetForce underwent its first real-world test.

"That day was the beginning of the culmination of a lot of hard work," Gompert says. "To see JetForce emerge as a truly new technology in the snow safety space and to know that it has the potential to save lives makes it all worth it."

Words: Andy Anderson
Photography: Scott Markewitz & Adam Clark
Videographer: Hennie Van Jaarsveld
Production: Advent Integrated