Without an avalanche pack, your chances of surviving are around 90 percent. Not bad, but hey, that's a 1/10 chance of eternal nothingness. While wearing a pack, though, your chances jump to 97 percent. May not seem like much, but that's a 10 percent chance of dying versus a three percent chance of dying—insurance that's worth the cost, one could argue.
Though there wasn't any snow in New York City last week, we decided to blow one of these avalanche packs up on Broadway outside the Supercompressor HQ to see it in action. No snow, but if you've ever walked through Soho on a weekday, you know that the crowd itself can be something of an avalanche. (Don't worry: no one was even mildly hurt in our experiment.)
For maximum effect, and the collective peace of mind of passersby, we decided to have one of our shorter employees be the guinea pig. Molly McGlew, our dear social media editor, agreed. She then regretted her decision when I told her the compressed nitrogen canister had something north of 4,000 PSI.