Learning Curve: Backcountry Skis

Movement Goliath Backcountry Skis     Photo: Shana Novak

In the Store:
Only a few companies still market some skis as "telemark" and others as "alpine touring," but we don't believe in segregation: Buy the boards you like best. And, yes, you can put alpine-touring or telemark bindings on alpine skis—just be aware that they might be much heavier. And take the time to get the right boots: Nothing ruins a day in the backcountry faster than blisters.

In the Field:
Make sure you've got the right safety gear, knowledge (sign up for a Level I certification with the National Ava-lanche Foundation, avalancheschool.org), and an insulated jacket, which could potentially save your ass. Telemark skiers: If you're heading out of bounds, remove your leashes—in an avalanche, attached skis can drag you down or hang you up.

At Home:
Skins losing their stick?.

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