It’s the middle of the summer, retreating to the cool mountains and streams on those hot days are likely occupying your time—with some perhaps daydreaming of powder days. But you probably aren’t thinking about your ski gear. It’s likely tossed in the back of the gear room to make way for summer toys and you’ll probably revisit it once the leaves begin to change—realizing that a couple items have run their course.
Rather than waiting until then, summer is a good time to see what gear you played out and need to re-up. It also allows you to take advantage of steep discounts, especially during Fourth of July sales, before retailers re-supply with next year’s gear. Below are a few items to consider before fully checking out until the autumn.
Somewhere in recent past goggles became crazy expensive. Yes, they’ve also gotten better in terms of low light visibility, helmet compatibility, enhancement of certain colors, etc., but some models are getting close to a monthly truck payment. So when you see legit goggles on sale, buy them.
The Squad XL has a ChromaPop lens—which enhances two wavelengths of light, providing better definition especially in their low light lens and when crossing shadow lines. It also has a simple semi-rimless frame that fits well with either a toque or goggle. They have a sharp and clear vision, likely better than those scratched up ones in your closet.
If you’re a backcountry skier consider keeping a down puffy jacket stashed in your backpack akin to a beacon shovel and probe. It’s like the rescue gear you don’t ever want to use, but need to have in case things hit the fan and you have to spend an evening out in the cold.
And while many think a thin synthetic puffy will keep them warm as a spare layer, the 800 fill goose down of the this jacket will actually do the job and not leave you shivering in misery. The General Down’s is also great for wearing when you’re tailgating, winter camping, or digging tunnels in the snow with your kids. However, what sets it apart, and why I always have it with me is it packs super tight into a pocket when not in use, and has pit zips to dump heat.
This spring during storm cycle in the Wasatch I hunkered down just below ridge as a heavy convective snow squall came through, it was nothing for this jacket as the ultra-light Poly ripstop fabric wicked snow, and the goose down kept me warm. I tossed it on over my shell, played boy scout for 40 minutes—sitting in a little hole, and when the sun poked itself out I quickly stuffed it in my bag and shredded steep powder ramps of glory.
Similarly along the same lines of having a down puffy in your kit, a mega warm pair of mitts should also be high on your list. Whether you’re waiting in line for first chair, lapping an empty resort on frigid days, or ski touring, having something burly, toasty warm, and light is a good idea.
I love the BD Superlight Mittens. They’re incredibly warm and designed for high altitude mountaineering or cold smoke powder days. They combine 100 percent waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex with 280g of Primalof Kodenshi insulation and have a leather palm for good grip.
They also have wrist leashes, which when combined with a liner glove is perfect for digging snow study pits. At 284 grams, you’ll hardly notice the extra weight in your bag and they feel oh-so-nice when you swap over from your damp gloves.
“Hey, does this go…” “What, dude? I can’t hear you…” Everyone has been in this scenario before—not knowing what’s below and not being able to hear your partner who is scouting it out for you.
It’s when the notion, we should have radios always comes up. I started using the BC Link 2.0 radios a bit more of the past couple years, mainly because we were in zones that had zero cell service and if conditions warrant, I want to ski the longer shots—making communication mandatory. They hold a two and half mile line-of-sight range, 22 FRS and GMRS channels and 121 sub-channels, along with long battery power.
The smart mic clips is also really slick, as it clips onto your backpack strap making it easy to send and receive beta. I’ve heard BCA can hardly make enough of these – so since the BC Links (not the Link 2.0s) are 35 percent off retail at the moment, consider finally getting some radios. They make communicating with your partners easier, and skiing bigger terrain more enjoyable.
Climbing skins typically wear out via their glue adhesive before the plush breaks down. When that happens you have a couple options: re-glue (a toxic, time-consuming, and not that cheap solution that I don’t advise having done it), or purchase some other skins on a discount.
Currently Backcountry.com has an array of G3 climbing skins for sale. From the basic Escapist, with its 100 percent nylon, Escapist Glide (with a 70/30 nylon mohair mix), to their full mohair Alpinist Plus Speed—there are several options to either upgrade your current set up, dial in a new one, or to have backup in case your skins are on the verge of failing halfway through next season.