Backcountry Skiing Gear List

Backcountry Ski and Technical Gear


  • Skis With Alpine Touring bindings:  We recommend a touring ski with a waist between 102cm and 116.  Skis should be equipped with touring binding, preferably tech style bindings.
  • Climbing Skins: Skins need to be in good condition and cut to fit your ski.
  • Ski Touring Boot: Boots need to be compatible with your bindings. Boots must have a walk mode.*For Those doing a ski mountaineering objective
  • Ski Crampons: Ski Crampons must be compatible with your bindings and ski waist width.
  • Boot Crampons: We highly recommend aluminum crampons.  Make sure they work with your ski boots
  • Harness: Harness must fit over ski clothing, be lightweight, and in good condition. You should also have 2 locking carabiners and a belay device.
  • Ice Axe: Ice Axe needs to be lightweight and short (Less than 55cm)
RELATED: Answers to Your Backcountry Questions


Safety Gear

  • Ski Backpack: A good ski pack should be lightweight and have a dedicated pocket for your avalanche rescue gear and be between 30-50 liters.
  • Avalanche Rescue Gear: You will need a shovel and probe.  The Shovel should have an extendable handle and an aluminum blade.  Both should fit into your pack without sticking out.  Make sure your probe is in working order.
  • Avalanche Beacon: Your beacon should be a modern digital beacon.  Check your battery life before you leave the house.
  • Ski Helmet: While not required a helmet is highly recommend. 


Backcountry Clothing Recommendations


  • Beanie: Light or med. weight Beanie.
  • Buff/Neck Gaiter: We recommend a lightweight buff as it has many uses.
  • Goggles: We really like goggles with changeable lenses for use in bright and low light.  They should also be compatible with your helmet.
  • Sunglasses:  Even if you always prefer to ski in goggles, sun glasses are needed for the up.  Goggles will get fogged with sweat.


  • Warm Gloves: How warm depends on you. We recommend a durable well-fitting ski glove.
  • Light Gloves: lighter weight gloves are recommended for hiking up to reduce sweating

Upper Body

  • Hard Shell Jacket: Waterproof/breathable jacket with ventilation
  • Midlayer: Breathable light insulating jacket.
  • Mid to Heavy Insulating Jacket: When temps are cold, you will be happy for a nice warm jacket.
  • Shell Jacket: Hard or Softshell protection from wind and snow.  Lightweight material with no insulation or liner
  • Top Base Layer:  We really like sun hoodies.


Lower Body



  • Ski Boots: Also listed above under technical gear.
  • Ski Socks: We prefer lightweight socks 


Personal and Group Items

Personal Items

  • Sunscreen: 50 SPF or greater. Make sure your tube is not old as sunscreen can lose its effectiveness over time
  • Lip Screen: Make sure it has at least 30 SPF
  • Food and Water: 1-2 liters of water, enough food for the day
  • Navigation/communication: InReach, Phone, extra phone battery, headlamp, inclinometer/Compass
  • Avalanche observation kit:  Notebook, snow saw, cord, crystal card and hand lense


Group Gear

  • Small First Aid Kit:  CPR mask, Medical gloves, Blister stuff, wound care (band-aids, gauze pads etc), Med tape, Ibuprophren, Scissors.
  • Repair Kit: binding tool, duct tape, extra batteries, ski straps, lighter, skin wax, scraper, baling wire, zip ties, binding screws, and boot rivets.
  • Rescue Tarp/Shelter: One example

Get Answers to Your Most Common Backcountry Questions

About Todd Passey

Todd is America’s 62nd IFMGA licensed mountain guide with more than 20 years of experience. His guiding has taken him across the globe, from the Arctics of Svalbard to Antarctica’s South Pole.

Todd has guided all the “Seven Summits” including 2 Everest summits, 22 Denali summits and 22 summits of Antarctica’s Mt. Vinson. Todd has 10 first ascents in Antarctica’s sentinel range, and climbed test pieces like Denali’s Cassin ridge and the Walker spur on the Grand Jorasses.

Todd is an accomplished skier who’s stomping grounds include Valdez Alaska, the French, Italian and Swiss Alps, Norway and of course his backyard, Utah’s Wasatch mountains.

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