11 Backcountry Skiing Essentials

Everything you need to go up and down

Your climbs and descents are about to get even better. (Dustin Sammann)

POC Fornix Backcountry MIPS Helmet ($210)

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(POC)

POC has taken the brain-protecting MIPS system and put it in a backcountry-specific helmet that weighs just shy of a pound. Adjustable vents en­sure you don’t get too clammy. 

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La Sportiva Vapor Float Skis ($1,299)

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(La Sportiva)

At just three pounds per ski, the carbon Vapor Floats are nearly a third lighter than similar lollipop-shaped powder planks, meaning you work less on the way up and fly more on the way down.

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Elevenate Bec de Rosses Pants ($640)

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(Elevenate)

Named for the famed freeride mountain in Verbier, these top-end bottoms from Swedish outerwear upstart Elevenate feature three-layer Gore-Tex and a look that’s pure athleticism. 

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G3 Ion LT Bindings ($549)

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(G3)

Yes, they’re featherweight (a svelte 1.5 pounds each), but G3’s lightest bindings drive the fattest pow skis with authority.

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Eddie Bauer ­IgniteLite Flux Hooded Jacket ($249)

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(Eddie Bauer)

The IgniteLite is a slimmed-down, air-permeable midlayer that vents on uphill slogs, with cushy synthetic insulation that keeps you warm on the descents. 

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Arc’teryx Alpha AR Gloves ($189)

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(Arc'teryx)

The Alpha ARs combine Arc’teryx’s unbeatable finger articulation and weatherproofing with an over-the-cuff design for maximum protection.

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Black Diamond Pieps Micro Beacon ($390)

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(Black Diamond)

Finally, a beacon the size of a smartphone. It still has three antennae for accuracy and an effective range of 328 feet.

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G3 Scala Climbing Skins ($209)

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(G3)

Scaled skins deliver more glide, but they don’t fold or store well in your pack. G3 solves that problem by using a hybrid construction, with plastic scales up front and pliable nylon hairs everywhere else. 

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Columbia OutDry Ex Diamond Snow Shell ($425)

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(Columbia)

Columbia adapted its bomber waterproof shell for the slopes, adding an adjustable powder skirt and a drop tail for deep days.

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Patagonia Snowdrifter 30L Pack ($169)

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(Patagonia)

With all the focus on airbags, it’s good to remember that most days you just need a slim, well-built ski carrier that fits lunch and layers.

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Dynafit Beast Carbon Boots ($900)

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(Dynafit)

Dynafit nails powerful descents with the rigid, carbon-fiber, 3.2-pound Beast. It even has streamlined buckles for less drag.

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