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My upcoming trip to Chile and Argentina has me running inventory of everything I’ll need for the peak-bagging, Spanglish-speaking, pow-slaying, pisco-sour-drinking good times ahead. As the gear piles up in my living room, here are some of my most trusted products.
Rocky Mountain Underground’s North Shore
This ski continues to blow me away with its ability to crush through crud yet stay super floaty and relatively nimble in tight couloirs and trees. I’m bringing a pair of 2015’s down, and with illustrated top sheets by Jim Harris, they look amazing whether they’re blowing by Jerry’s at the resort or out in the backcountry.
Sidecut: 135 – 145 – 114 – 130 – 126
Rocker: Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot
Core: Solid Poplar
Sidewalls: Military Grade UHMW – 2.5 x thicker than standard
Base: World Cup Sintered base
Edges: Double Thick 2.2 mm
2016’s North Shore 2.0 saw some small changes in the 5-point shape. RMU pushed the contact points closer to the tip, making turn initiation much smoother. This year they turned to designer Juli Watson for the artwork and they are frickin’ gorgeous.
Rocky Mountain Underground’s Summit Pole
These super light yet rugged poles get the job done, inbounds or out. The two-piece design allows you to lengthen the pole up to 135cm during long tours and drop it to 105cm for the descent.
18mm aluminum upper
16mm aluminum lower
Ergonomic Race Grip
Interchangeable Vario basket system
Faction Edison Pants
If you’ve ever skied waste-deep pow, you’ve probably made some solid life choices. You’ve also probably had to endure being drenched at the end of the day, as a good portion of those face shots went directly into your drawers. These Edison pants from Faction cover you up in all the right places. The detachable bibs keep the blizzard out of your pants and the waterproof and breathable Toray Dermizax material keeps you high and dry till the lifts stop spinning or the sun dips beneath the horizon.
Waterproof rating: 20,000mm
Seams: Fully Taped
Vents: Huge outer leg vents
Pockets: Two waist pockets, one cargo and one bib pocket
Mammut Alyeska Jacket
Sporting this coat all last winter was a total game changer for me. The GORE-TEX® Pro material is unreal. With waterproof and breathability ratings through the roof, excellently placed pit zips, and a powder skirt that’s nice and tight, this jacket will keep you dry and your thermostat just right in any conditions. Plus, it looks and feels like it did on day one even after 100+ days in the elements. If you spend anytime in the backcountry, save up your pennies and buy the Alyeska from Mammut.
Waterproof Rating: 28,000mm
Seams: Fully taped
Vents: 2-way underarm zips
Pockets: Two chest pockets, two huge highly positioned waist pockets and an internal zipped goggle pocket
Helly Hansen Warm Flow Ullr One Piece
This piece of magic is for all you big kids out there. If you miss the days of crushing Capri Suns and string cheese while tromping around in your onesie, this is for you. The one-piece design makes this baselayer one of the warmest options for all you winter travelers. The well-placed rear zipper makes dropping a backcountry dookie easier than ever. And the whole adult onesie thing will make you a king at any sleepover.
Lifa® Stay Dry technology interior
Everyone headed to the resort or the backcountry needs a buff. Skida’s Mossy Oak edition will keep the sting of a bitter wind out of your grill while blocking those harmful sunrays. It’s the perfect blend of function and steez, from an amazing company located in the Green Mountain State.
Printed outer fabric: Poly-spandex jersey with MAX-Dri moisture management technology: 92% Polyester, 8% Spandex
Lined with Polartec ¬ micro-fleece: 100% Polyester (made from 87% recycled materials)
Darn Tough Padded Over-the-Calf Cushion Socks
Darn Tough’s sock game is strong. Another incredible company based out of Vermont, these guys offer an ”unconditional lifetime guarantee.” For anyone who has ever worn socks–not looking at you, hippies–this is a bold promise. Over time most socks degenerate as you and your stinky, blister-ridden feet hike, scramble and trudge throughout the coldest, wettest, highest and driest places on the earth. But Darn Tough socks maintain their toughness, and if they do break down, just send them back; Darn Tough will hook you up with a fresh pair.
67% Merino Wool, 30% Nylon, 3% Lycra® Spandex
Supporting your ski addiction can be a tad pricey, but here’s one piece of gear that will never break the bank. Kinco gloves are some of the most durable out there and don’t be surprised if you see nearly every ski patroller at your local hill wearing these.
Durable pigskin leather
Extra HeatKeep® thermal lining
Reienforcing leather patches sewn with Draylon® thread covering the palm and fingers
Pre-treated with Revivex® waterproofing solution
BCA Essentials (Tracker 2 Beacon, B-1 EXT Shovel and Stealth 270 Probe)
Getting out into the backcountry can be dangerous, so if you decide to hit some sidecountry or venture into some uncharted territory, please be prepared. Backcountry Access is now one of the biggest names in snow safety, and they produce some of the best avalanche products on the market. This BCA bundle will help to locate and dig out buried companions when time matters most.
Note to newcomers:
Getting the appropriate gear is one step in the process. Make sure you educate yourself on how to travel safely in the backcountry and how to use your gear.
Mountain Hardware Trango 4
Winter camping is like regular camping, only shittier. During the night, temperatures can drop below freezing and tent walls accumulate condensation from your body heat and breath. This means waking up in a very moist state. Once you do wake up you have to put on ski boots that, with any luck, are about 33 degrees. Oh, and if a storm passed through overnight, half of your tent poles are probably busted. But if you’re like me and appreciate waking up in outrageously beautiful landscapes at the base of epic lines, it’s totally worth it. Mountain Hardwear’s Trango 4 expedition-style tent attempts to address the downfalls of winter camping: Excellent ventilation helps to cut back on the condensation; an enormous vestibule and 6 pockets provide plenty of space for storing gear; and the 5-pole design can withstand ridiculously high winds. So if you have a taste for adventure and want to get into the winter expedition game, this should be your tent of choice.
Written by: Jacob O'Connor @jahcobo