Deep powder is a religious experience, and it takes just one perfect day of blue skies and bottomless snow to become a pious worshiper. From Alyeska to Taos, powderhounds feverishly monitor weather reports for the next big storm, and after spending a weekend skiing 12,000-foot ridges in Telluride, we know exactly why: powder skiing is as close as man can get to flying in the mountains. The best way to enjoy the fluffy stuff is with the right gear. Here’s what we pack on Powder Day.
Salomon Quest Motion Fit Outerwear
All new for 2014, Salomon’s Quest Motion pants and jacket have waterproof zippers, an integrated powder skirt and gaiters, and a ClimaPro three-layer waterproof membrane. This is the power suit for freeskiers.
X-Bionic Radiactor Base Layers
There’s a reason alpine and nordic ski teams all over the world turn to Swiss company X-Bionic when they need performance layers. Our Radiactor shirt, pants, and socks managed heat and wicked sweat better than anything we’ve ever tried.
Shirt: $139Pants: $129Socks: $30
Discrete 41 Mittens
Four fingers and a thumb makes 41 (Discrete may have skipped math class a few times to chase untouched powder). These mittens a decidedly low tech: they ship as raw leather with a couple helpings of Sno-Seal waterproofing gel. Their old-school styling makes for a simple, classic mitten.
Wagner x GP Custom Skis
Our custom backcountry boards are the perfect ultralight pow-slashers. Outfitted with a pair of burly Dynafit TLT Radical FT ($600) alpine touring bindings, they’ve helped us move uphill in search of untouched snow almost faster than we can shred down it.
Black Diamond Quadrant Ski Boot
If ever there was a do-all ski-mountaineering, big mountain and freeride boot, this is it. One of the lightest four-buckle touring boots available, it’s got a 130 flex rating when locked down; ample room in hike mode makes the Quadrant our favorite for bluebird and storm days alike.
Joy Stick Sauce Poles
The best ski poles stand up to a few seasons of beating and bashing, and these Sauce poles are some of the strongest we’ve ridden with. Sure, you could spend $100 plus on carbon fiber poles, but we’d rather save it for an extra lift ticket.
POC Fornix Backcountry MIPS Helmet and Lid Goggles
POC’s partnership with fellow Swedish company MIPS adds the Brain Protection System (which helps to “reduce the rotational forces to the brain in the case of an oblique impact”) to the Fornix, making it one of the safest helmets on the market. Our favorite helmet company’s excellent ventilation and lightweight durability are on full display, too.
ICEdot Crash Sensor
No matter how many precautions you take, your day may end up in a yard-sale-style crash. A small puck that mounts to your helmet and uses a low-energy Bluetooth connection with you phone, the ICEdot sensor can sound an alarm on your phone and notify emergency contacts with your GPS coordinates to expedite a rescue when it senses dangerous forces that signal a bad crash.
Pomoca Free Climbing Skins
Pomoca’s lightweight designs have been the industry standard for climbing skins since they invented the first pair of mohair skins in 1939. The Free series is the continuation of this tradition, and you won’t find anything faster or lighter for your uphill travels.
Combining snow reports with trail maps, GPS tracking, apres ski recommendations and the opportunity to connect with friends, Snocru is an indispensable winter sports app. We used it in Telluride to find out who had the fastest run of the day, and where to celebrate afterwards.
POC VPD 2.0 Spine Tourpack 20
With enough space to hold your skins, extra layers and a bladder, the Tourpack is a perfect gear hauler for day tours and forays into the side country. The VPD spine protector integrated into the back panel is the selling point for us.