Gear: Best of the Backcountry

Whether you’re tagging uphill laps at your local resort or touring deep into the wild, this new, lightweight gear will get you far and away—and back home again.


Ski: Dynafit PDG

The perfect weapon for the uphill grind, the one pound, 10.4-ounce PDG boogies on the skin trail and carves snappy turns back down the course. Credit its turnability to a vibration-damping shovel-construction tip. It’s a go-to training and race ski. $700 |

Binding: Dynafit TLT Speedfit

With a 5-10 DIN range, minimal design and steel-built strength, this baby transfers ample turning power to your ski while weighing in at just 10.9 ounces. $450 |


Ski: Faction Prime 2.0

We took the Prime deep into the Alps on a tour out of Verbier, Switzerland. Stable and lively at  98mm underfoot, the do-it-all ski crushed everything from chunder to fluff and instilled confidence on scary steeps and bumpy sastrugi. $1,099 |

Binding: G3 Ion 12

A tech binding you can rely on in the backcountry, the Ion 12 slips easily between tour and ski modes and maneuvers big skis with brawn. $579 |

Safety: Backcountry Access Avalanche Rescue Package

Don’t even think about heading into the backcountry without the proper safety gear. This reasonably-priced package will help, since it combines BCA’s reliable Tracker 3 beacon; a 10.9-ounce, eight-foot-10-inch Stealth 270 probe and a light (600 gram) B-1 EXT aluminum rescue shovel. None of that gear matters if you do not know how to use it though, when assessing conditions in the wild. Fine-tune those essential skills on an AIARE course or refresher this winter ( $420 |

Pack: Backcountry Access Float 27 Speed Avalanche Bag

One surprising knock on avalanche airbags—a piece of gear that could very well save your life in a slide—is that they are “too heavy.” BCA addressed that complaint in this svelte, three-pound pack system. It features the smaller 2.0 cylinder which releases a 150 liter airbag that can not only pull you from the impending grave of a slide but also protect your neck and head from trauma. Is it a guarantee? No. But it can certainly make the difference between staying on top of a slide and burial. $630 |

Poles: Black Diamond Razor Carbon Pro

Weighing in at just one pound, five ounces per pair and consisting of a durable aluminum upper and light carbon lower sections, these poles switch lengths in a hurry thanks to an easy-to-operate FlickLock Pro system you can use without removing your gloves. $140 |

Race Boot: La Sportiva Sytron

Speed freaks rejoice. The 800-gram (size 27 mondo) Sytron stays stable and comfy while you sashay uphill then summon guts for big-mountain descents. It rails turns at speed thanks to a carbon-reinforced polymer construction that’s superlight yet strong, and a solid strap system that holds the foot completely snug. $749 |

Jacket and Pants: Ortovox 3L Ortler

Incorporating merino wool with a fully weatherproof, waterproof/breathable face fabric, this skimo kit provides everything you want for trips deep in the backcountry or just up the local slopes. The jacket and pants each tip the scales at just 15 ounces, but they keep out the elements and include roomy pit and leg zips. $490 jacket, $400 pants |

Quick Energy: Honey Stinger Gluten-free Waffles

Sweet, full of energy and easy to chew even when it’s freezing cold, these gluten-free goodies sate your hunger on the skin track. They come in tasty flavors like Chocolate Mint, Cinnamon, Wildflower Honey, Vanilla and our favorite, Salted Caramel. $24 box of 16 |    


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