What to Pack for a Backcountry Ski Trip

Backcountry skiing is a wonderful way to experience untouched terrain and wilderness powder stashes away from the lift riding crowds at major mountain resorts. Heading off-piste requires some preparation, however, and that starts with packing the correct gear. Whether you’re into touring or just wanting to take some turns in the wilderness, this is what we’re riding on and wearing in the backcountry this season.

1. DPS Skis: Nina 99 and Wailer 106

How much fun you have on a backcountry ski trip is going to be determined in a large part by what you’re riding. For women, we love the Tour1 Nina 99. It’s a well-rounded ski that won’t let you down on turns in a number of different snow conditions. It’s also friendly on the uphills with a tip and tail rocker that combines with a front and rear taper that makes for a playful riding experience.

For guys wanting a versatile backcountry touring ski, we like the Tour1 Wailer 106. It is built with a lightweight balsa core between two sheets of a carbon/fiberglass pre-pregnated weave. The combination of these materials creates a lightweight but torsionally stiff ski that can handle itself in a variety of conditions from deep powder to late season corn.

2. RMU Core Pack

Carrying the right pack will also go a long way towards having fun in the backcountry. We love the RMU Core Pack for its versatility and strength. The 35L bag is constructed with a super durable waterproof fabric that doesn’t need to be handled with care. It also has two types of ski carry (diagonal and A-frame), dual hydration ports, storage for your avalanche gear and an exterior pocket for wet gear among other fun features. When the ski season is over, this pack easily transforms into your go-to rock climbing bag with more features for that sport.

3. Clothing Essentials by Arcteryx

When it comes to clothing, you want to think in layers, which is something outdoor gear outfitter Arcteryx does really well. The company also makes touring specific winter gear, which makes it a favorite for us. For base-layers we love the Rho AR Bottom and Verticies Hoody. The Rho AR bottoms are mid-weight, insulated tights and super versatile as they can be worn as an insulated base layer for skiing or alone as an outer layer during warmer weather workouts. The Verticies Hoody offers a similar versatility, and can be worn on its own as a top layer. As a base layer we love how it wicks away moisture, is breathable, and stretchy enough to move in. For an insulation layer check out the Atom LT Hoody, which comes in men’s and women’s cuts, and features an insulated hood. When the temps are really cold it is a perfect mid-layer for a backcountry adventure, but it’s also trendy enough to be worn as a stand-alone jacket when the weather is warmer. For a proper ski jacket, we’re wearing the Shaska Jacket this season. Light and packable it is beyond warm and designed specifically with backcountry ski touring in mind. Pair it with the Ravenna Pant and Sabre Gloves. Arcteryx also makes a backcountry pack that we recommend. The Khamski 31was designed with backcountry skiing specifically in mind, and has pockets and placements for all the necessary gear you’ll need to carry on the mountain.


4. G3 Skins

The right skins make all the difference when it comes to having fun on the mountain, and we love the selection by G3. The company’s Alpinist Skins come in trendy designs and color patterns and are super versatile and reliable in a number of different conditions. If you’re looking to break trail with minimal effort try the Scala Skins that also keep the snow from creeping under them. There are also lines of Climbing Skins and Splitboarding Skins.

5. LEKI Tour Stick Carbon V Trekking Poles

Leki makes great poles for backcountry skiing. The Tour Stick Carbon V Trekking Poles are super lightweight thanks to carbon upper shafts, but also sturdy enough to handle cuts thanks to its heavy duty aluminum lower shaft. We especially like the grip system on these poles, which lets you stay clicked in with a variety of different grips.


6. Native Eyewear Sunglasses 

Protect your eyes and look good doing so with the Native Eyewear sunglasses like the Braiden. They feature an innovative polarized lens that can block up to 4x more infrared light than other polarized lens. They also pass Z87.1 testing and offer up to 400nm of UV protection. They also make snowy landscapes look sharply defined thanks to an ability to reduce blue light and selectively filter UV. The Braiden frame comes in a variety of colors.

7. Magnemask Combo Clava

When they wind is blowing you’ll be happy you packed the Magnemask Combo Clava, which does a great job of keeping your face warm and frostbite free in harsh winter conditions. It also features a first of its kind magnetic seam that lets you snap the mask on and off the hood in seconds without having to remove the entire hood from your head. This convenience combined with its warm performance fleece stretchy material makes it our go to for all types of winter sports.

 8. Wigwam Socks

Finally, keep your feet warm and dry with these colorful performance socks from Wigwam. The Snow Altitude Pro Sock is awesome for wicking away moisture, and also boasts a comfy fit and strategically placed cushioning to keep your feet dry and blister free.

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