I am beginning to venture farther off-piste...
I am beginning to venture farther off-piste into the side country and I am looking to purchase my first tranceiver. After reading many reviews on almost every tranciever I am left with this thought. I have been in the diving industry most of my life and the trend with new students is for them to always buy the latest and greatest dive computers with all the cool features, yet they quickly forget important skills from their training. With that in mind as I read reviews on avy beacons I have realized how important it is to practice your beacon skils. When I first started looking at beacons I was instantly drawn to the Pulse and S1 for $400-$500, but recently I have found the Freeride for as little as $130. And my question is this, for the 2-3 days a year I go into the side country, why should I fork out $400-$500 when I could buy two Freerides for less money and use the second to practice skills at home. With 1 Pulse or S1 I might get to practice a couple times a year with friends.
I'd buy the Tracker DTS from Backcountry Access. It is very easy to learn how to use, and relatively inexpensive. It's a great choice for someone who is new to beacon use. The Pulse and S1 have a distinct advantage for multiple victim burial situations, but those situations are rare, and I'd venture to say extremely rare in resort accessed side-country. http://www.backcountry.com/store/BCA0018/Backcountry-Access-Tracker-DTS-Beacon.html
Spend the extra money and get a mammut beacon,it will more than pay off in the long run!
I agree, a BCA Tracker is more expensive but much easier to use and more reliable. If you are only out 2-3 days a year, the last thing you need is to try and remember how to use the thing when your buddy is buried and you're freaking out. Practice with any beacon is important, but I was able to teach my 10 year old brother how to use my tracker in about a minute. Remember, if you have to actually use this beacon, it will be to save someone's life, get something you can use confidently. If you can, try out a few and then make the decision.
Sure, you gotta be able to use your equipment to its potential. But with safety equipment I simply can't see any other option than to get the best gear I can possibly own.
That sometimes (not always) means paying a premium; but if that money means you drag your friend out of the snow a few minutes before his last breath rather than a few minutes after... well... I think you get the picture.
There are things more valuable than money...
(I spend around 100 days on snow each year and use a DSP)
the pulse and s1 both have DOUBLE the range that the freeride has.