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Patrick Law

Ski touring, AT skiing, ski mountaineering, randonee … whatever you call it, getting into the backcountry on skis is becoming more and more popular. The idea of escaping into nature and away from the crowds—and enjoying untouched snow—may sound really good, but where do you start? There are two essential components, education and gear. We’ll tackle the equipment question in this article; you can learn how to get an education in backcountry safety here. But before you consider what equipment you’ll want to acquire, think about where you’ll be skiing, how you plan on skiing, and the type of terrain [...]

Lexi D.

The active women in your life will likely be spending time outdoors this winter at every opportunity. But it can be tricky to pick out the perfect gift for the women of winter. Speaking from experience, here is a list of my favorite cold-weather gear and clothing suited for the active, winter-loving lady in your life, be she outside shredding in her natural habitat or indoors snuggled up fireside. On the Mountain Fischer Ranger 98 Ski In what may be my favorite quiver ski of all time, Fischer has managed to put together a real solid set of sticks for [...]

Rob de Luca

In the early ’90s, when dinosaurs had only recently been supplanted by mammals and plaid shirts were worn layered on top of each other, terrain parks were in their infancy. They were an attempt to welcome snowboarding to the resorts and to corral (unsuccessfully) the skate-inspired tricks that boarders favored and that upset the status quo. Initially, skiers were not allowed in the parks, but with youth being youth, that restriction became more of a temptation than any marketing ploy could ever hope to achieve. Skiers began “poaching” the parks, and not long after, the first production twintip ski (the [...]

Sean Zimmerman-Wall

The sound is unmistakable. A loud rumble accompanied by the sensation of having the rug pulled out from under you. In seconds you’re rushing downslope, tumbling, caught in a washing machine of snow, rock, and wood. The sky fades in and out and you gasp for air as you’re force-fed thick, suffocating snow. Moving at 60 miles an hour, you’re helpless to stop the cascade. You reach for the small handle located on your shoulder, and a sudden “whoosh” fills your ears. Large sacs of air deploy around you and you start to rise to the surface. After a minute, [...]

jason sager

So you say you’re going on a road trip to a chilly destination. Maybe it’s to your parents’ or the in-laws’ for the holidays, and maybe you’re going to squeeze in an event like the Iceman Cometh. Late fall and early winter can be a volatile time weatherwise. Unless you’re headed to somewhere like southern Florida or Los Angeles, you can’t be too certain of what weather to expect. Heck, when traveling with the family or to see family, you can’t even be too certain of what time of day you’ll be able to go for a ride. Sneaking out [...]

Pace Measom

The discerning gift giver knows that the best gifts—like good cheese or fine whiskey—get better with age. We’re talking about items crafted from leather, wool, canvas, and steel—materials that feel better, fit better, and look better the more they’re used. Over time they acquire character, stories, and charm. Not only will these gifts keep giving year-round, they’ll keep giving for years to come. Red Wing Heritage Boots Red Wing boots are cut from the finest American leather, triple-stitched on 100-year-old Puritan sewing machines, and made by skilled craftsmen in Red Wing, Minnesota, USA. These are the real deal—you won’t find [...]

Austin H.

Avalanche airbag packs are unlike any other safety tool in a backcountry skier’s arsenal. Pull a handle and, in the blink of an eye, you increase your chances of ending up on top of a slide instead of underneath it. The very same technology that enables this survival advantage makes this safety tool unique in the eyes of airlines and regulatory institutions. We distilled the information from airbag manufacturers and airline regulations into a short guide for traveling with an avalanche airbag pack on planes. If you read nothing else in this article, keep one thing in mind: The safest [...]

Rob de Luca

You’ve read product catalogs, seen magazine gear guides, and heard lift-line conversations referring to “big mountain” or “freeride” skis, but all you can tell is that they look a little longer and sometimes a bit fatter than your own. So what makes a big mountain freeride ski different from a powder ski or an all mountain ski, and why would you want a pair? Here’s the breakdown. While the term “big mountain” may sound a little ridiculous taken out of context (aren’t we all skiing on the same mountain?), it comes from the competitive freeride (or “extreme,” if you’re over [...]

Garson Fields

Mountain bikers have a reputation for being a picky bunch. From trails to tires, there’s usually no shortage strongly held opinions, which can make buying the right gift for a biker a challenge. If you haven’t been given a detailed wish list, and you really want to get the mountain biker in your life a gift he or she will actually use, read on. The following items stand a good chance of earning you some serious points this holiday season, with even the pickiest of riders. Blackburn Wayside C02 Inflator Simple, reliable, and absolutely indispensable, this C02 inflator makes a [...]

Adam Riser

Staying warm is the key to having fun in freezing temps. Here’s a breakdown of the two basic types of insulation and the kinds of jackets they insulate. Down vs. Synthetic The overriding principle at work in insulated jackets (and sleeping bags, mittens, or any other insulated apparel) is the same: air is trapped in the small spaces between the filaments of down or strands of polyester, providing warmth in cold conditions. Loftier (or puffier, if you will) materials consist of more air, and offer a greater warmth-to-weight ratio. Overall, down is lighter, more compressible, and longer-lasting than synthetic insulation. [...]

Stephanie Nitsch

Combine all your gear for backcountry skiing or splitboarding with the basic essentials of rock climbing, and you’ll have a fairly comprehensive equipment list for tackling ski mountaineering expeditions. Aside from the mandatory outdoor essentials like avalanche safety gear, extra layers, water, food, and sun protection, here are the bare bones of what to bring on an alpine ski climb. And though it goes without saying, don’t just acquire all the gear—know how to use it. Equipment alone won’t do you or your partners any good, but sound experience and skill will. Photos by Abby Stanford Harness Lightweight, mountaineering-specific harnesses [...]

Pace Measom

After 20 years of working with the best outdoor brands on the planet, we’ve forged relationships that allow us to collaborate with their design teams, bringing you unique and exclusive products you simply can’t find anywhere else. ExclusiveFilson Down Cruiser Parka The signature Filson heritage he’ll love in a versatile, go-anywhere flat black color—and you can only get it at Backcountry. Filson was founded in 1897 to outfit northbound fortune-seekers with reliable clothing for the Great Klondike Gold Rush. Fast-forward 118 years and a lot of Filson’s apparel still bears a striking resemblance to the clothing of the past. Filson [...]

Rob de Luca

What is an “all-mountain” ski, and is it the ski for you? It’s very name implies maximum versatility, but despite what manufacturers claim, no single ski can really perform well in all conditions on all terrain. The key is to find out what “all mountain” means to you, and go from there. Keep an Open Mind Aiming to make purchasing easier for the customer, ski manufacturers place their products into categories so that in theory, you as the consumer will have an easy time shopping for skis, or boots, or outerwear. But while categorizing gives you a good jumping-off point, [...]

Catherine Greenwald

If there’s something that can be said for certain about ski mountaineers, it’s that they’re a pretty fit bunch. Competing in skimo races and even doing regular winter dawn patrols takes months of workout preparation. You’ve probably been running, doing interval training to build up your endurance for the uphill slog, and maybe even doing some strength training for ripping the downhill portion. But are you addressing the specific demands of ski mountaineering? Strength training is an integral part of ski training, but it’s also important to address ski-specific movements and situations. According to Taylor Eley, General Manager of the [...]

Rob de Luca

If you’re just getting into skiing, or have been on the same skis for years, the terminology now used by retailers can be confusing. The good news is, the ski categories prescribed by retailers and manufacturers stay relatively consistent year to year, and for the most part, the skis themselves do fit into those roles. But what is the difference between all mountain, big mountain, backcountry (aka alpine touring or AT), carving, powder, and park and pipe skis? And which one is right for you? A breakdown of these ski categories can help narrow your choice. All-Mountain Skis The term [...]

Lexi D.

The Norrøna Lofoten Gore-Tex Insulated Jacket and the Gore-Tex Pro Lofoten Bibs cater to ladies who aren’t afraid to battle the fiercest weather to find turns. The Gore-Tex fabric on both pieces offers superior protection from the gnarliest conditions on the hill.  I tested both the jacket and pants for over 30 days skiing here in Utah. The lightweight PrimaLoft Silver insulation (100g) incorporated into the jacket blocks penetrating cold and is the perfect companion to help you ride bell to bell at the resort. I’ve tested this jacket, which Norrøna calls its “warmest, waterproof freeride jacket,” while skiing at [...]

Lexi D.

Chris Rennau is a Montana-based freeskier and a team athlete for Liberty Skis. He has attempted to huck the infamous Class 6 cliff at Big Sky Resort on three separate occasions piloting his trusty Liberty Helix Skis. We were keen to learn a bit more about how he manages fear in the face of such an extreme feat. Chris, before we launch (pun intended) into your infamous attempts, tell us a little bit about Liberty Skis. What makes them different from other ski companies? Liberty Skis, based out of Avon, Colorado, has been in business since 2004. Liberty incorporates a [...]

Pace Measom

This is a story about a man and his cat, but mostly the cat. Since Millie’s story debuted on Backcountry last May under the title, “My Climbing Partner Eats Chicken Liver,” she’s attained celebrity status. Thousands shared her story on social media and continue to follow her adventures, cat food companies are shipping grub to her doorstep, and she’s even had photo ops with internationally renowned publications (which legally, I can’t name prior to their being published). So it was a real pleasure to get out with Millie and her partner Craig to experience the action firsthand. Climbing partnerships require [...]

Lexi D.

Backcountry.com’s online community encompasses a passionate group of wanderers, adventurers, Gearheads, and athletes. Get the rundown on the raddest happenings within the Backcountry community in You Are Backcountry, your connection to the best product reviews, photos, and videos submitted and uploaded by our athletes, our employees, and you! In this installment of You Are Backcountry we’ve compiled the best community-submitted gear reviews with beards on Backcountry.com … and we’re running a contest!  Vote for your favorite Backcountry beard in the comments below – the most votes wins this manly Patagonia Fjord Flannel to complement his facial achievements. Backcountry.com Customer Service [...]

Sweetgrass Productions

We’re very excited to present a clip from the latest Sweetgrass production, Afterglow. As you’ll see, it’s a completely new take on night skiing, featuring a ton of lighting equipment and some very, very cool outerwear. Check out the video, and read on after for an exclusive short interview with the filmmakers, Nick Waggoner and Mike Brown. We’ll let Sweetgrass introduce it: “As our most ambitious project to date, Afterglow is a lifelong dream realized, on an imaginable—but completely ludicrous—scale. From deep pillows to Alaskan spines, it’s all filmed at night, with massive lights, custom-made LED suits, and a national [...]

Stephanie Nitsch

It often comes off as an insult, but the 14 of us were thrilled to ski like girls. Photos by Abby Dell I was surrounded by 13 other women—many of them strangers—on an eight-day splitboard and ski mountaineering tour in Canada’s Selkirk Mountains. Together, as eleven students and three guides, we had enrolled in the Alpine Finishing School, an introductory ski mountaineering course hosted by the Salt Lake City-based non-profit SheJumps, whose mission is to “increase female participation in outdoor activities.” Run in conjunction with the Selkirk Backcountry Lodge and ACMG guide Anne Keller, this annual, girls-only Alpine Finishing School [...]

Mountain Athlete

Rob Shaul’s Mountain Athlete Gym in Jackson, Wyoming, is where skiers who are serious about what they do, including pro athletes, develop the strength and endurance required for high-stakes mountain sports. Here, Rob Shaul, owner of the Mountain Athlete training center in Jackson, Wyoming, runs through a must-do routine to get ready for the ski season: My biggest mistake as a strength and conditioning coach occurred the first year I designed a dry land training cycle for local skiers here in Jackson. Skiing is leg-intensive, and so was my program. My athletes did thousands of heavy front squats, back squats, [...]

Lexi D.

Backcountry.com’s online community encompasses a passionate group of wanderers, adventurers, Gearheads, and athletes. Get the rundown on the raddest happenings within the community in You Are Backcountry, your connection to the best product reviews, photos, and videos submitted and uploaded by our athletes, our employees … and you! Here at Backcountry we are pretty darn excited about the launch of the GoPro Hero4 and to celebrate we curated a collection of our best community-submitted GoPro shots and videos!  Let ‘er rip! Backcountry.com community high flyer Denis, from Russia, captured this shot while piloting a hang glider with the Hero 3 Silver [...]

Lexi D.

In British Columbia, Canada, tucked alongside the Columbia River, you’ll find the tiny town of Revelstoke nestled under a multitude of lofty glaciated peaks. Yearning for an escape from Utah’s summer inferno, I stuffed my Subaru with my mountain bike, paddleboard, and backpacking gear to see what this famed ski town had to offer. Photos by Bruno Long Surrounded by National Parks, Revelstoke boasts a rich heritage in forestry, the railway industry and ski jumping. My adventure began with a mountain bike ride on the high alpine singletrack of Frisby Ridge. I marveled at stunning panoramic views of glaciers clinging to [...]

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