Last updated on February 14, 2019
Backcountry skiing adventures require safety preparedness tools and gear that can handle demanding terrain and inclement weather. Taking precautionary measures by packing versatile ski equipment will enhance the experience of mountain travel.
Changes in climate and snowfall can result in an avalanche, especially on off-piste trails. Backcountry skiers should be prepared with digging and signaling equipment including; transceivers, probes, shovels, and snow saws. Water, food, maps, GPS systems, and manual compasses are recommended when skiing unmarked land, as there are no trail signs or resort personnel to assist with directions.
Skiers should stay shielded from the outdoor elements by wearing sunscreen, lip protector, goggles or sunglasses, layered clothing, gaiters, heavy socks, gloves, and snow-resistant ski pants and jackets. Extra socks, gloves and hats should be packed as snowfall and deep powder will wet the original gear. Layering allows for comfortable skiing in regions where temperatures tend to fluctuate throughout the day.
Skiers should wear sturdy downhill boots that will keep the foot in place with adjustable cuffs and heel-release features for safe descent. Crampons can be attached to boots for improved traction when traveling on snow or ice.
Wide, lightweight skis with free-heel bindings provide flexibility for ascending uphill. Lock-and-release binding mechanisms allow for speed and turning control during steep descents.
Downhill poles are effective for balance, control, and vertical ascents on difficult terrain. Skins attach to the bottom of skis for improved footing and comfortable stride while climbing mountainous topography.