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7 Weird Things To Pack For Better Backcountry Skiing

Utah backcountry skiingWasatch, Utah backcountry; photo credit: Sean McCoy.
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Fresh pow is in abundance this winter! Thinking of heading to the backcountry for untracked snow? Keep these items in your pack to have a better time out there.

backcountry skiing weird things to bring for better time
A skier tours the Wasatch backcountry; photo by Sean McCoy

The Tetons and Wasatch are buried. Colorado is covered with a thick white blanket. And the Sierra’s drought is finally over—because five years worth of snow just fell on the Tahoe area. Whether it’s Mother Nature, ULLR, or tiny elves responsible for the mass of snow slamming the country, skiers everywhere are thankful.

While everyone knows to bring a beacon-shovel-probe and the like, you may consider these out-of-the-box gear items.

Poop Kit

It’s a must! Just think, ya don’t go camping or backpacking sans deuce tackle. Why ski in the backcountry without the gear for your rear? I have rolled-up TP, hand sanitizer, Handi Wipes, and a dryer sheet all neatly stuffed into a doggie doo-doo bag. I mean, nobody, and no booty for that matter, is psyched to use a t-shirt sleeve or a sock to take care of business.

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Have you ever been forced to use a handful of snow? It’s awful and an egregious misuse of a snowball.

Cat Crap & Chicken Poo

Not the real stuff, the anti-fog and lip balm. Rub the Cat Crap paste on your sunnies or goggles and clean them with a lens wipe. Muggy skin track lens condensation will be a thing of the past.

7 Weird Things To Bring For Better Backcountry Skiing

And while you’re earning your turning, don’t forget to protect your lips. Chicken Poo uses 100 percent all natural ingredients to shield your lips from the elements, including avocado…which is nice if you get hungry.

Duct Tape & Bailing Wire

An unwavering fact of outdoor adventuring is equipment failure. Busted gear happens to the best of us and it typically occurs at the worst possible time.

duct tape backcountry skiing

Bindings, ski boot buckles, power straps, and poles, things break on ski tours when you’re far away from the car. Even seemingly unnecessary items can be a drastic downer if they break.

You ever skied waist-deep powder with a busted fly zipper? Not cool. Duct tape, bailing wire, and a little MacGyver-esque ingenuity can fix just about anything. Remember it doesn’t have to look pretty to work.


‘Cause GORP ain’t cuttin’ it, my friends. I’m all for saving weight on long backcountry tours. Lugging a heavy pack up a skin track and skiing with pounds of gear flopping on your back can spoil an off-piste experience. But you can’t skimp when it comes to food — it’s fuel.

Beef jerky? Yeah, that’s ok, I guess. Cold pizza? Passable. But why not treat yourself to some fancy cheese and charcuterie? Ever had brie, spicy jam, and crackers, or elk backstrap and bacon-wrapped dates at 14,000 feet? It tastes better, I swear.

Old Yoga Matt Scrap

A small rectangle — let’s say 12” by 24” — can have a multitude of uses. Use it as a serving dish (see FOOD), stand on it at the end of your adventure for a dry boot change platform, or lay it on your tailgate for a mud-free bench.

My favorite use is rump insulation. Once you’ve topped out on an objective, take a seat and look around. The whole point of being in the backcountry is the opportunity to enjoy a secluded, wild space.

Get your avy shovel out, dig a hole deep enough to dangle your legs into, place your yoga mat scrap on the edge, and plop yourself down in the direction of something beautiful. The mountains are rad. Look at them for a while…while eating something delicious, of course.

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