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Backcountry Video

Burton Presents is a web series showcasing Burton’s top riders doing amazing things on slopes and streets all over the world. The latest episode (above), focuses on Danny Davis as he prepares for X Games by exploring the snow-choked forests of Hokkaido, Japan, with Mark McMorris and Terje Haakonsen. Whether it’s in the pipe or some misty forest, few humans truly embody the concept of balance quite like Danny, and when it comes to “training,” Danny does it right. Previous Episodes This installment features Mikkel Bang and Mikey Rencz, two names that run deep in Burton’s history and evoke thoughts [...]

Jeff Catalano

Alpine Touring (AT) bindings have been around for several decades, but the recent explosion of the touring scene has really brought them into the spotlight. AT bindings differ from their alpine counterparts in that they aren’t meant only for skiing downhill. Instead they allow the skier to free the heel of the boot, while staying clipped in at the toe, which creates the ability to “walk” naturally uphill on skis. When it’s time for that ski descent you’ve been working toward all day, simply step back into the heel of the binding and make some turns! Considerations for Choosing AT [...]

Pace Measom

Clothing Supplied by Roark Revival Why Trout? Backpacking fare is often limited to energy bars and freeze-dried meals, but it doesn’t have to be. In cold-water lakes and streams, stretching from the Adirondacks in New York to the High Sierra in California, you’ll find trout. And for more than a few reasons, these fish are an ideal food source when you’re out in the wild. Nutrition Whether you’re backpacking or camping, you burn a lot of calories, requiring a meal that’s high in fat and protein. A 3-ounce serving of wild trout supplies 130 calories, nearly 20 grams of protein, [...]

Lexi D.

The irresistible lure of a backcountry yurt or hut is one of the reasons I was motivated to begin dabbling in backcountry skiing six years ago. As a good friend often proclaims, “Yurt life is the good life,” and I agree wholeheartedly. There’s nothing more special than time spent unplugged in nature, where the necessities of melting water, chopping firewood, and preparing a yurt feast are your chief concerns (besides powder snow, of course). With luck and planning, your home away from home for the weekend. Having taken excursions to various huts and lodges around Utah, Idaho, and British Columbia, [...]

Patrick Law

By now you’ve undoubtedly ogled, researched, and wisely chosen a pair of shiny new sticks or a new board for the season. But have you given any real thought to what you’ll be wearing? After all, your jacket is going to be just as much a part of your quest for pow as what’s underneath your feet. Choosing the right jacket for the right conditions is crucial to maximizing your comfort, protection from the elements, and overall stoke factor. Types of Jackets As you begin the search for your new jacket, it’s important to know the key features and basic [...]

Patrick Law

While you’re carrying on with your mission of chasing untracked lines and lapping the mountain, your ski or snowboard pants are working hard to keep your lower body dry and comfortable. So when choosing a new pair of pants, it’s worth taking some time researching the various fabrics, features, and styles that will be most applicable to your type of skiing or riding. We’ve broken down a few of the most important categories you’ll want to consider before making your selection. Waterproofing The majority of ski and snowboard pants will have a waterproof rating between 5,000 and 20,000mm (5-20K)—the higher [...]

Jeff Catalano

If you want to ski uphill, you’re going to need climbing skins. One of the essential pieces of an alpine touring kit, climbing skins provide directional grip on the snow, allowing you to slide your skis forward without losing progress on uphill terrain. If you’re new to alpine touring, climbing skins can hold their fair share of mystery when it comes to choosing the right material, size and connection type. They also require a little bit of initial setup and maintenance. Although this article is focused on climbing skins for skis, splitboard skins feature the same technology as those made [...]

Connor Johnson

With the seemingly inexhaustible supply of proprietary ski profiles that debut every year, choosing the right profile can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. The profile shape of a ski is a primary determinant for how a ski will interact with the snow, making profile an important feature to consider when selecting a pair of skis. While there exist a lot of variations of each, and every manufacturer has a different name for them, there are essentially four basic types of profiles: traditional camber, directional rocker, hybrid rocker, and full rocker. All graphics by Armada. [...]

Backcountry Video

As the scope and range of outdoor pursuits grows and mountain athletes continue to specialize, the need for activity-specific outerwear tech is more apparent than ever. To satisfy the wide range of performance needs, Gore-Tex offers three unique technologies—Gore-Tex, Gore-Tex Pro, and Gore-Tex Active. But before we break it down, a few definitions are in order. At the heart of the Gore-Tex fabric is an extremely thin membrane with over nine billion pores per square inch (as shown to the right between the two fabrics). These microscopic pores are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet, so they don’t allow [...]

Pace Measom

Climbing the Iconic Peak on the 150th Anniversary of the First Ascent, Powered by Mammut. “Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.” Edward Whymper So People Really Do Win These Things The Matterhorn is perhaps the most famous, most recognized mountain on the planet. It’s the crown jewel of the Swiss Alps and its likeness can be found on everything from deodorant [...]

Pace Measom

Climbing the Matterhorn is without question one of the world’s great classic adventures; a bucket-list must-do for anyone with a passion for mountains. In July of 1865, an English climber named Edward Whymper became the first human to stand on the summit of the Matterhorn—Switzerland’s most famous mountain. On the descent, the triumph of the summit quickly turned to tragedy, and in the 150 years following, the controversy, fame, and mystique surrounding the mountain have only grown. In 2015, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first ascent, Mammut launched a sweepstakes on Backcountry to win a trip to climb [...]

Pace Measom

Highway 89 is a slow road. It winds north from Mexico to Canada for nearly 1600 miles, connecting seven iconic National Parks including Grand Canyon, Zion, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone. As long as there have been cars, 89 has beckoned to travellers yearning to see the American West, especially so during the ‘50s and ‘60s—the golden age of the American road trip. Faded remnants of the era are still visible in the one-stoplight towns that have since been bypassed by modern freeways―boarded-up motor inns, faded diners, and neon signs that have long gone dark. With the promise of Teton powder [...]

Matthew Pizza

In addition to length and weight, another way fly rods differ from one another is in their action. Loosely defined, it’s related to the flex pattern of the rod; the action and flex of the fly rod significantly affect its feel and performance. Rod actions are rated as soft, medium, and fast. Following is a rundown of each. Fast Action Most fast-action rods will be tip flex, meaning only the tip of the rod is going to bend while the butt is very stiff. These rods can be hard for the beginning angler to cast, but if you are on [...]

Dan Gates

Finding the right set of snowboard bindings can take your setup to the next level in terms of comfort and control. Backcountry Expert Gearhead Dan Gates reviews some things to consider when picking out your next pair. Snowboard bindings are the direct interface between you and your board. A good binding should enhance the natural flex pattern of your board as well as provide all-day comfort, because when the goods are good, you don’t want to have to head to the lodge with hurting feet while your buddies are scoring lap after lap of freshies. Flex When picking a binding [...]

Colin Clancy

Ten years ago this very moment I may have taken a break from shotgunning beers with my ski bum friends to stir the Crock Pot of sloppy joes simmering atop the toilet for lack of table space. Or I may have been hot-lapping Loveland Pass backcountry lines under the full midnight moon until the cops kicked us out. More likely, though, I was dropping into the superpipe on a stolen cafeteria tray, because we did that damned near every night. I earned my ski bum stripes at Copper Mountain, where I spent two seasons bumping chairs, shoveling snow, setting up [...]

Ryan Schoeck

Above Photo by Tommy Chandler On their own, they look like something you might wear to a costume party. Little half leg tights, arm sleeves, mesh net tank tops, and even those special covers for your shoes called “booties.” And while they might look a bit ridiculous by themselves, these layers of clothing can make or break your rides when Mother Nature decides to flex a bit of her muscle. Every year, around this time, we go through a transition. Those glorious days of mindlessly throwing on our jerseys, shorts, helmets, and little else before rolling out the door come [...]

Wally Phillips

Selecting a new pair of ski boots can be difficult, to say the least. Backcountry Expert Gearhead Wally Phillips, a former bootfitter, offers some guidance to help you select just the right pair of boots. Every year, ski companies roll out their shiny new boots in a myriad of styles, sizes, flexes, and widths. If you’re wondering what it all means and how these correspond to your specific skiing needs, here’s a little guide designed to help you make sense of this dizzying array of choices. Your skiing style The first thing you’ll want to consider is the type of [...]

Patrick Law

How much waterproofing do you really need in a jacket or pants, and what factors affect how waterproof your jacket will be? Membranes, Laminates, and DWR Coating When people picture high-end outerwear, they’re thinking of jackets with a waterproof breathable membrane. If you’re really getting after it and expect some nasty weather, then this is what you want. Note that we’re not talking about heavy-duty coated garments like foul-weather gear for sailing; the PVC coating on this may be great for keeping the wet stuff out but it makes this jackets and pants heavy, and you’ll be sweating buckets if [...]

Adam Riser

Until synthetic insulation, down feathers were the primary insulation used in sleeping bags and puffy jackets. Down feathers offer powerful warmth, but they have a weakness: moisture. A new type of water-resistant down insulation addresses this weakness, and we’ll discuss its benefits in this article. The Beginning Temperature and weather are two of the biggest obstacles to any outdoor activity. Much of the gear that we use either protects us from weather or helps us regulate temperature—and some do both. Until recently, down feathers were the primary insulation used in sleeping bags and puffy jackets. Down feathers offer powerful warmth [...]

Adam Riser

Looking for a ski or snowboard jacket, a technical shell, or a rain jacket? Here’s a guide to waterproof jackets and pants, including features to look for and features to avoid. What’s Covered: Ski and Snowboard Jackets Technical Shells Rain Jackets Ski and Snowboard Pants Technical Pants Rain Pants Ski/Snowboard Jackets Key Features: In a broad sense, anything with a powder skirt can be considered a ski or snowboard jacket, as that’s really the only unifying feature. Powder skirts are pretty key, because whether you’re riding deep powder or just experiencing a particularly nasty crash, snow is always trying to [...]

Cole D. Lehman

You’ve probably heard that yoga can fix every problem known to humankind—and that’s suspect, isn’t it? Yes, it certainly is. Anything touted as a miracle cure deserves scrutiny. That’s why more research is being done on the ancient practices of yoga and meditation. So far, the confirmed benefits make it worth looking past the hyperbole and getting over the discomfort of trying something new. It’s especially important not to get caught up in the story that “yoga is for women.” Yoga is for everyone. Athletes and pro sports teams use it and attribute it to their success—from the NFL to [...]

Jared Downs

We’re often not very good at planning for the worst, and fail to plan ahead for emergencies when we’re heading outdoors. After all, what could go wrong? The answer is, “Plenty.” Having a first-aid kit handy is an essential component of your equipment because it can make all the difference if and when a serious situation arises, or even when you just need to tend to a minor problem. In 2007 I began backpacking and as time went on I realized there were many things that I either did not know or situations I was not properly equipped to handle. [...]

Curtis Jensen

While the reasons for a bike tour are ever-increasing, packing for a bike tour depends heavily on the time frame, distance to be covered, weather, and road conditions. However, before you pack, it’s best to determine what kind of tour you’re actually going to have. In general, most cycle tour itineraries fall into four categories: Credit-card touring means paying for food and lodging along the way at motels, B & Bs, hostels, or cafes. And, aside from clothes and bike equipment, the most important item to pack on a credit-card tour is, well, a valid credit card. Supported touring typically [...]

Cameron C

Canyoneering provides an incredible way to explore the depths of remote canyons etched by millions of years of erosion. The sport will lead you to beautiful areas and views rarely seen or experienced by others. Stealing Solitude: Legendary Outlaws and Sketchy Slot Canyons in Robber’s Roost from Backcountry.com on Vimeo Last year Backcountry.com created this video about canyoneering in the network of canyons in southern Utah known as Robber’s Roost. Several customers called our Gearheads in Customer Service looking for more information about the trip and how to get started. This article is a beginning guide for anyone who is [...]

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