Ten essential items ready for skiing adventures

Having the right equipment is often the leveraging factor between an enjoyable day and unpleasant circumstances.

By Robb Report Team 01/06/2017

As the snow season cranks up, no doubt you will need some gear for your backcountry adventures. Having the right equipment is often the leveraging factor between an enjoyable day in the wilderness and really unpleasant circumstances.

From the perfect pair of poles and skis and warm apparel for the extremities to a life-saving avalanche airbag and beacon, these 10 winter backcountry essentials will have you prepared and protected off-piste.

Völkl 100Eight All-Mountain Freeski

Germany-based Völkl has been crafting high-quality — and sometimes surprising — World Cup–worthy ski equipment since 1923. It continues this tradition with the 100Eight. These all-mountain free skis are made with Völkl's 3D.Ridge, a setup that offers a lively and playful ride, thanks to a flat-tail design, full rocker, early taper, and an open radius.

The 100Eight is built of lightweight construction (fibreglass and composite cap with poplar and ash core) and boasts a raised central ridge that levels out near the edge, aiding in the ski's agility. Simultaneously, the centre ridge works as a balancing element, allowing for hardness distribution, which creates a harmonious flex on the ski.

Advanced and expert skiers will love the 100Eight's versatility, opening up all mountain conditions, from deep fresh powder to groomed slopes, $US699 (about $A940); volkl.com.

Why not put this piece of gear to good use on any one of the 10 Best Heli-Ski Escapes for 2017.

Leki Alpine Stick Trigger S Vario

It's not all about size when it comes to poles. In this case, smaller is better. The carbon-and-aluminium Leki Alpine Stick Trigger S Vario quickly folds down to 38 centimetres when you are ready to pack it up. With an adjustment range of 110 to 130 cm, you can go long or short, whatever your preference might be.

Compact and lightweight (a pair weighs 510 g), this pole offers a stiffer, thus stronger, performance than most folding poles due to Leki's SpeedLock 2 locking mechanism and great shafts: 100-percent carbon upper ones to be exact. Perfect for spontaneous pleasure seekers, the Leki Alpine Stick Trigger S Vario should be part of every ski-lover's trunk space, $US200 (about $A270); leki.com.

Why not put this piece of gear to good use on any one of the 10 Best Heli-Ski Escapes for 2017.

Uvex Snowstrike Variotronic Goggles

For those who like a rose-coloured-glasses view, the Uvex Snowstrike Variotronic goggles should be on your must-have list. Designed to adapt to ever-changing light conditions on the mountain, the lens of the Snowstrike changes colours in less than 0.1 second. Sudden fog patch on a steep slope? No problem.

The clear lens changes to the red lens, increasing contrasts. A neutral blue adjusts for bright conditions, and violet adjusts for sunny days that can create snow reflection. And if the tint doesn't change fast enough for you, there is a switch on the goggle strap that can be manually adjusted anytime— which is also great for those days that you are simply in the mood to see the world in a different colour, $US500 (about $A670); uvex-sports.com.

Why not put this piece of gear to good use on any one of the 10 Best Heli-Ski Escapes for 2017.

POC Receptor Backcountry MIPS Snow

Whether you're skiing the slopes or boarding backcountry, you're going to want a helmet that can keep up. Most helmets will protect you in a collision, but the safety features here go far beyond cranial crash cushioning.

The POC Receptor Backcountry MIPS helmet will also help rescuers find you in an avalanche. And on impacts it's way more than just a hard shell: Its MIPS designation stands for "multi-directional impact protection system," which reduces the rotational forces to the brain at impact.

Then, in a worst-case scenario, the embedded RECCO reflector enhances radio signals from search-and-rescue RECCO detectors, aiding in the search if you are buried in an avalanche. The RECCO Rescue System is a two-part technology. Ski resorts and rescue teams carry RECCO detectors. The detector sends out a directional search signal, which is echoed by RECCO reflectors worn by skiers, riders, and other outdoors people.

Other features include a ventilated double-shell anti-penetration system, multi-impact EPP foam and Kevlar liner, an Aramid penetration barrier, detachable ear pads and detachable neck roll, goggle clip, and compatibility with the communication neck roll complete with Beats by Dre speakers and microphone. Available in white, black, orange, and blue, $US250 (about $A330); pocsports.com.

Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Avalanche

The idea of dropping in via helicopter to ski or board down untouched terrain is appealing in so many ways — except the avalanche way. Having known someone who was taken by storm on a heli-ski adventure, I'm of the opinion you could never be too prepared.

Enter the Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Avalanche Airbag Pack. With enough space to stash your day-trip essentials, plus some peace of mind, the pack features a repackable airbag with lithium-ion-battery-powered jet-fan inflation. JetForce has a dedicated avalanche tools pocket, a HiLo helmet holder, hip-belt pocket, internal accessories pocket, an ice-axe attachment, and diagonal-carry ski straps.

The JetForce Technology airbag system is rechargeable, travel-friendly (unlike models with compressed air, it can be carried onto an airplane), and durable. If you need to deploy the JetForce system while you're carrying your skis, not to worry: The kit is designed to safely deploy anyway. Oh, and there's zippered back-panel access., $US1100 (about $A1475); blackdiamondequipment.com.

Why not put this piece of gear to good use on any one of the 10 Best Heli-Ski Escapes for 2017.

Mammut Pulse Barryvox Avalanche Beacon

This compact, life-saving device is a trusty companion for those who adventure to the summit in avalanche territory or for a day hiker who likes to go off the trails. Weighing 210 g (with batteries), the Mammut Pulse Barryvox Avalanche Beacon has three antennae and can be used in digital or analogue mode.

Better than a search-and-rescue dog, the device will search for the strongest signal and give an overview of distance, direction, and number of victims — above and below the surface. The Mammut Barryvox is 100-percent Swiss made. Bonus: Mammut is a leader in campaigning for fair working conditions and takes strides to produce environmentally responsible products, $US490 (about $A655); mammut.ch.

Why not put this piece of gear to good use on any one of the 10 Best Heli-Ski Escapes for 2017.

Marker Hybrid Body Vest

Marker's most state-of-the-art body vest features closed-cell honeycombed Multi-impact Adaptive Polymer (MAP) padding that absorbs more energy than other foam and padding and are thin and lightweight. The pads are even suited to multiple impact, since they snap back to shape nearly instantaneously.

The honeycomb structure not only reduces weight but also helps with air circulation. A sandwich design of three MAP layers of varying stiffness and thickness allow layers to move independently for flexibility, comfort, and more airflow. We don't condone throwing yourself down the mountain, but if you do, put this on first, $US289 (about $A390); markerusa.com.

Why not put this piece of gear to good use on any one of the 10 Best Heli-Ski Escapes for 2017.

Progressive Merino Ski/Snowboard

Thinner than most ski socks, but warm thanks to the merino-wool and synthetic-fibre (to wick moisture) blend, Progressive Merino Ski/Snowboard Compression Socks do more than line your boots. Engineered with padded zones strategically placed to relieve pressure where needed based on where tight boots press against your leg.

The compression attributes keep muscles and joints supported and increase circulation. Without the threat of cramps and cold, tired feet, stay comfortable on the slopes longer. Sizing is based on calf measurement (measure at widest point) for optimum fit and performance, $US60 (about $A80); cepcompression.com.

Why not put this piece of gear to good use on any one of the 10 Best Heli-Ski Escapes for 2017.

Iridium 9575 Extreme Satellite Phone

Iridium Extreme's hardy handset is what you need if you're out in the middle of nowhere and need to communicate or want the insurance of having a fully integrated one-touch SOS button with emergency response service in the palm of your hand.

The phone features four hours of talk time; 30 hours of standby; SMS and email capability; GPS-enabled location-based services; supports online tracking and Google Mapping services; and accessories to create instant Wi-Fi hotspots anywhere. This dust-proof, shock-resistant, and jet-water resistant phone is built with military-grade durability for the harshest conditions on the planet. It even includes a wind-resistant microphone.

Its diamond-treated grip provides stellar in-hand ergonomics. It comes with a travel charger with international adapters, car charger, leather case, USB cable, CD-ROM with software, two accessory adapters, magnetic vehicle-mount antenna, and a hands-free earpiece with microphone. A service plan is required, $US1300 (about $A1740); iridium.com.

Why not put this piece of gear to good use on any one of the 10 Best Heli-Ski Escapes for 2017.

Leki World Cup Racing Ti S Lobster Ski Glove

Designed to fully integrate with Leki's Trigger S pole grip, the Leki World Cup Racing Ti S Lobster ski glove offers the proficiency of a glove with the warmth of a mitten. The lobster-claw–designed gloves caters to racers, but can be used by all level of skiers — and with non-Trigger poles.

They are made with premium goatskin on the body and palm, along with a Thinsulate insulation, keeping hands warm and dry. Ceramic-enforced silicone finger and thumb pads and a titanium knuckle protect racer's hands while running gates.

Trigger S Technology lets you skip the straps while securing your poles. A waterproof liner with boa fleece contributes to the overall high-performance ski glove, making the Leki World Cup Racing Ti S Lobster a great fit for racers and freeskiers alike, $US280 (about $A375); leki.com.

Why not put this piece of gear to good use on any one of the 10 Best Heli-Ski Escapes for 2017.


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