11 Backcountry Skiing Essentials
Everything you need to go up and down
POC Fornix Backcountry MIPS Helmet ($210)
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.
La Sportiva Vapor Float Skis ($1,299)
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.
Elevenate Bec de Rosses Pants ($640)
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.
G3 Ion LT Bindings ($549)
Yes, they’re featherweight (a svelte 1.5 pounds each), but G3’s lightest bindings drive the fattest pow skis with authority.
Eddie Bauer IgniteLite Flux Hooded Jacket ($249)
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.
Arc’teryx Alpha AR Gloves ($189)
The Alpha ARs combine Arc’teryx’s unbeatable finger articulation and weatherproofing with an over-the-cuff design for maximum protection.
Black Diamond Pieps Micro Beacon ($390)
Finally, a beacon the size of a smartphone. It still has three antennae for accuracy and an effective range of 328 feet.
G3 Scala Climbing Skins ($209)
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.
Columbia OutDry Ex Diamond Snow Shell ($425)
Columbia adapted its bomber waterproof shell for the slopes, adding an adjustable powder skirt and a drop tail for deep days.
Patagonia Snowdrifter 30L Pack ($169)
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.
Dynafit Beast Carbon Boots ($900)
Dynafit nails powerful descents with the rigid, carbon-fiber, 3.2-pound Beast. It even has streamlined buckles for less drag.