Staying safe in the backcountry is mostly about good decision making. But you'll also want a few pieces of simple, reliable gear.
Backcountry Access Scepter 7075 Aluminum poles
The Scepter is BCA’s classic two-piece adjustable metal pole, with a built-in scraper on top to help you keep your skis, skins, and boot soles clear. Because nothing is worse than dragging ten pounds of caked ice up the hill with you.
Black Diamond Free Glide Skin Care wax
Spring skiing means wide temperature swings, which can cause climbing skins to soak up moisture and lose grippiness. To stave off the issue, treat your skins with Black Diamond’s Skin Care waterproofing wax the night before.
Black Diamond Deploy 7 shovel
You owe it to your buddies to carry a serious shovel. This one has a curved aluminum handle that allows it to disappear in your pack. And at just about a pound and a half, you won’t even notice it’s there until you need it.
Ortovox 3+ transceiver
A pared-down version of Ortovox’s flagship S1+ beacon, the 3+ is geared toward the everyday backcountry skier. Its three antennae give it a range of 131 feet unburied. In search mode, the 3+ quickly locates a buried friend—or friends, with the help of a flagging button that blocks victims’ signals once they’re found. Directional and distance readouts are as simple as on any beacon out there.
Salomon MTN Lab helmet
At a mere 11 ounces, the MTN Lab is a climbing lid with skiing aspirations. It’s well vented, comes with a soft liner, and has a lightweight bungee in place of a goggle-retaining strap.
Black Diamond Ski strap
Sure, this 18-inch-long band does a totally admirable job of holding your skis together. But you can also use it to lash a water bottle to your backpack or prevent a problem skin from separating from your board.