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Air Flare helps save a life during a rescue at Soldier Mountain last winter

This low cost rescue locator App is saving lives
Posted at 12:43 PM, Nov 10, 2023

FAIRFIELD, Idaho — The Air Flare App turns cell phones into a personal beacon locator giving people an extra layer of protection using a device we all carry.

RELATED | Air Flare App partners with several Idaho ski resorts to help with search and rescue

Last year we told you how Air Flare partnered with several ski resorts in Idaho because most of them have cell service on the mountain and it expedites the rescue process when ski patrol can easily locate a skier or snowboarder.

The CEO of Air Flare came to Boise around this time last year to teach us about this app

Soldier Mountain was one of the resorts that came on board, and it paid dividends last December when a woman got off course and ventured out of bounds near the end of the day.

"That particular day you couldn’t see the tips of your skis, so it was bad and it could have gone the other way," said Paul Alden of Soldier Mountain. "I’m not sure we would have found her."

Low visibility would have made it difficult a rescue

However, the woman had a fully charged phone and she called ski patrol. They asked her to download the Air Flare App, enabling them to quickly locate her position on the mountain.

"We located her within about 30 seconds because of Air Flare and we were immediately able to disperse patrols to where she was," said Alden. "Air Flare saved that lady’s life and made us a believer in the system.”

Ski Patrol at Soldier Mountain

Soon after, every member of the ski patrol team downloaded Air Flare because it took a lot of work to rescue the woman (who wanted to remain anonymous). However, it could have been a different story if the team at Soldier had to also find her location.

"It took several hours to get her out because it was snowing like crazy," said Alden. "It was wet and the two patrol men who went after her had to break trail all the way down to the bottom of Bridge Creek. We are a big fan of Air Flare because it works."

Air Flare adds a layer of protection by using a device we all carry

Air Flare came online in 2018, it's free to download and affordable. It costs five dollars a year or $15 for a lifetime subscription. It can also be used by families to track each other's location.

"It’s a level of protection that you can have with you all the time because it doesn’t affect your battery life and everybody carries their phone everywhere these days," said Air Flare CEO Elliot Gillum.

Soldier Mountain

The App is not a substitute for a spot device or a Garmen InReach that can send out emergency messages from the backcountry of Idaho when people don't have cell service.

However, if you are a skier or snowboarder, the app provides an extra layer of protection as they have a partnership with Bogus Basin, Brundage, Tamarack, Magic Mountain, and of course, Soldier Mountain.