More and more people are leaving the resort boundaries in the distance and escaping into the surrounding mountains. And skiers and riders are going deeper into the backcountry, too. While the terrain is limitless and the powder is bottomless, you’ll need more gear than just your standard snowboard, bindings, boots and goggles. Here are some of the top accessories for your winter 2012 backcountry adventures.
Both Outside’s Gear Guy and Transworld Snowboarding gave the Pieps DSP the proverbial thumbs up, citing features like its three antennae for better pinpointing, multi-signal design for multi burial and digital display as pluses. The DSP gives you distance and direction on the digital display and offers marking function. At $370, it’s a solid buy.
Not only does the K2 Rescue Shovel Plus give you a sturdy aluminum shovel with T-handle, it turns into a makeshift rescue sled. The Rescue Shovel Plus pairs with K2 Backside or Factory Team skis to create a rescue sled that can be used to pull an injured buddy out of the wilderness. All needed hardware is stored in the handle. K2 also says that the Rescue Shovel Plus is designed to serve as a flat surface to balance your stove on and as a backhoe. And did we mention it digs snow… $75.
See it in action below:
The Backcountry Access Carbon 260 is one of BA’s longer probes at 8 feet 4 inches but also among its lightest thanks to its carbon fiber construction. It weighs just 7.3 ounces, which is close to an ounce and a half less than the shorter aluminum 240 (hey, every ounce counts when you’re bootpacking up a steep, windy face). The Carbon 260 breaks down into seven sections and assembles with the tug of its handle. Of course, carbon fiber is never cheap, and this is among the more expensive probes out there at around $80.
The simply (but aptly)-named Brooks-Range Backcountry Multi-Tool is one of the few (only?) tools out there built specifically for skiing and snowboarding, something that’s important when the repair shop is hours down mountain. It looks a lot like a Leatherman but includes ski-specific necessities like #2 Phillips and #3 Pozi bits, a T20 Torx and a series of hex wrenches. It also has standards like pliers, wire cutters and, of course, bottle opener. I put some time on this last season, and other than some sharp edges that dug into my palm, I found that it was incredibly handy. It comes with a canvas case so you don’t poke your abdomen. Find it for around 70 bucks.
You’re not going to want to carry all that gear under your armpit, so get a quality, backcountry-specific pack before heading through the gates. Andrew McLean, a famed backcountry ski mountaineer, once called the Wayback his “favorite backcountry skiing daypack” in a review on Backcountry.com. McLean cited the back panel entry, which cuts down on front-mounted zippers and pockets that can get caught on branches and rocks, external shovel pocket and solid day-pack size as advantages. The Wayback can accommodate skis (diaganol or A frame), snowboards and snowshoes.