10 Gear Essentials for Sidecountry Skiing

Eric Bryant | BackcountryBackcountry | Gear ReviewGear Review
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Eric Bryant in deep wearing the 10 essentials listed here.


Backcountry skiing is the fastest growing genre of our sport.  Having the right equipment is important;  having the right amount of experience and education is vital.  Listed below are 10 pieces of gear that I recommend for sidecountry skiing or short backcountry day trips.  This is the gear I use know works well.  Gear is never a substitute for avalanche education.  Make sure you get educated before you head out into the backcountry.  Learn where to take avy classes here:  AIARE


1.  BCA Tracker DTS Beacon

If your thinking about heading outside the gate, even for a quick minute, you need a Beacon.  The BCA Tracker is a simple, tried and true avalanche beacon that won’t break the bank but will save your life.

2. K2 Speed Shovel

K2 Speed Shovel.
K2 Speed Shovel.

The second pivotal piece of equipment: the shovel.  With the light weight and large head of the K2 Speed Shovel, you won’t notice it’s there…until you need to.

3. Ortovox 240 Light Avalanche Probe

The third essential: a probe.  It’s easy to fall into  a false sense of comfort skiing sidecountry terrain, but avalanche danger is a real issue.  Carry the Ortovox 240 Probe, and stay light and safe you there.

4. Lange XT 130 Ski Boots

Even though its lift accessed sidecountry skiing, chances are you’re going to have to hike out at some point.  With the Lange XT, you can charge the resort with all the functionality of an alpine boot, then pop her into walk mode for the hike back.

5. Marker Duke Alpine Touring Binding

For a binding the doubles as a resort and backcountry binding, and has withstood the test of time, check out the Marker Duke.  Redesigned for 2013 with a wider frame for greater stability and less issues with freezing up.


Volkl Shiros

6. Volkl Shiro Skis

If you’re out slaying the sidecountry goods, you need the right sword.  Surf through pillows, slash spine walls, and stay on top of the deep stuff with Volkl’s Shiro do everything ski.

7. Dakine Heli Pro Backpack

Heading out you need something to keep all your gear in order, do so with the DaKine Heli Pro backpack.  It’s low volume enough to not hinder your resort skiing, but still has a home for all your essential safety equipment.

8. Scott Team Issue Pole

Keep things bright and fresh with the Scott Team Issue ski pole while you’re out getting steep and deep.

9. Smith Vantage Helmet

Want style and functionality wrapped up in one brain bucket?  The Smith Vantage is the coolest helmet to hike, based on both temperature and steeze factor.

10. Poc Tec IPS Back Protector

When stepping outside the security blanket of the resort, keeping your body safe becomes more important than ever.  Keep your spine safe on that next huck or straight line with the Poc IPS back protector.

Have fun out there and enjoy the deep!

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7 thoughts on “10 Gear Essentials for Sidecountry Skiing

  1. If you’re not in bounds, you’re out of bounds. If you’re out of bounds you are in the Backcountry. Sidecountry is a figment of irresponsible skiers imaginations. IT DOES NOT EXIST. There is in-bounds and Backcountry, PERIOD.

  2. Isn’t Sidecountry alongside or near downhill resort?

    If so then you’d be likely using Downhill skis & boots.
    Not all this Backcountry ski and boot gear.

  3. This list is not good. You left out repair kit and first aid kit. It also looks like your pluging random company’s products. I would’ve left it by saying probe, any probe. Same with shovel, beacon and pack. Skis and bindings are also subjective. Here’s my list in no particular order.
    1. Knowledge(Avy class) 2. Beacon 3. Shovel 4. Probe 5. Partner 6. Small first aid kit 7. Repair kit 8. Extra layers along with extra batteries for you beacon 9. Communication device 10. Did you check your local Avy center before heading out?

  4. Perfect gear picks with the exception of the Shiro. Great bomber ski and super fun in the deep, but not exactly a lightweight touring-friendly stick.

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