Living to ski as much as possible is no easy task; it takes considerable commitment and planning. It’s all about being prepared, from being ready with gear to outlast storms or explore new areas, to being dialled for après with a pocket flask and shades.
The gear on this list is for any serious skier who wants to feel confident in their equipment and maximize fun times on skis:
1. sweet skis
If the name of this ski doesn’t get you stoked, there’s likely nothing that will. G3’s Sendr is crazy light, nice and stiff. The shovel nose keeps you floating in powder, and the ski acts similar to a rocker ski when flexed in the snowpack. Backcountry here we come.
2. Booster straps
It’s difficult to convey how superior Tools4boards booster straps are than conventional Velcro ones. Skiers who like to charge hard can get painful shins from tight straps. Before I used booster straps, I’d take ibuprofen on the hill to get through the pain. Now I can tighten my straps more, but without the pain.
3. Well-fitting backpack
One of the most essential pieces for a successful ski day is a well-fitting pack. The AlpineLite Tour 45 Backpack has all the room for backcountry gear, and is well-thought-out with features like a ski-carry system.
4. Tried-and-true backcountry shell
I’ve been using the Synergy jacket for years, and with each year, there are little improvements to keep this GORE-TEX jacket at the top of the game.
5. GoPro Hero5
Make the memories of a single ski day last all winter. The GoPro Hero5 Black has all the quality and features any person could ever want, but in a tiny sleek package that draws less attention.
6. Awesome ski socks
I’ve been skiing Dissent Labs socks for the past five seasons, and GFX Compression Wool Socks are my go-to. They’re highly breathable and comfortable for long days in your boots. Merino wool gives them anti-microbial qualities, which is a lot of syllables to simply say “they won’t stink.”
7. The perfect layer
Christmas came early last year when MEC sent me a prototype of the Light Obsession Hoodie. It instantly got bumped up to the top of my Favourite MEC Softgoods List. It’s like you’re wrapped in 50,000-count bedsheets, while staying warm. It packs up really well and layers perfectly.
7. High-traction skins
You gotta get up to get down! G3 Alpinist skins will get you there.
9. New shovel
Everybody loves a new shovel. The D-grip handle on this AviTech Shovel makes digging easy, and it has an ice axe loop attachment point, which meshes well with the MEC Alpinelite Tour Backpack.
I’ve been using the Ortovox 3+ Transceiver for the past few winters, and its easy-to-use and understand interface has helped keep me and my buddies safe.
11. Leak-proof flask
12. Classic glasses
Oakley Frogskins came out in 1985 and are the choice eyewear for aprés celebrations.
13. Serious base layers
T3 Long Johns are my favourites when I ski in colder regions, like the Rockies. These ones are lightweight, warm and super functional for high-output skiing.
14. Ski boots
Happy feet make for a great day on the slopes. I’ve been skiing in the previous generation of the Salomon MTN Lab Ski Boot, and can easily say it performed better than I could have hoped for. It fits into tech bindings and some Salomon resort bindings. Prior to this year, there were boots we called “one size fits all,” but now there finally are!
15. Great headlamp
From first chair to last call, it seems my commutes are always in the dark. The Tikka Headlamp solves that problem.
16. Dawn patrol sleeping bag
The MEC Talon -3 is my goldilocks. It strikes the balance of being light enough, yet warm enough, for all but my coldest winter camping nights. I’ll use it on a hut trip, camping at high altitudes or in fall weather.
17. Crisp vision
You can never put too much emphasis on vision while out in the snow. On bright days, you could sunburn your eyes; on flat light days, the right lens choice could mean the difference between accidentally skiing in the wrong place or having a safe fun run. The Oakley Prizm lens lineup offers a diverse set of lenses for any given day, including the Fall Line Goggles. Oh, and they look pretty slick too.
18. Compact stove
The MSR PocketRocket 2 folds up to into its own little carry case, and can turn lunch from a shivering huddle to a full-on feast. The built-in windshield system protects the burner from being blown out by wind gusts, and the burner control can be tuned even when you’re wearing gloves.
19. Hot fuel
At home, I’m the guy with the spoon in the peanut butter jar, but on the hill it’s a little simpler in peanut butter bar form.
Bring on the snow!