Off piste or backcountry skiing is one of the most exhilarating sensations around.
I’m a big fan of check lists – check out The Check List Manifesto by Atul Gawande.
This page functions as an online checklist by checking off the tick button for each item.
Alternatively, access a print version by hitting the button to the right.
This will hide all the images and supplementary info and you can then print it off as a hard copy.
If you need to rent kit while skiing with me in Chamonix, I can strongly recommend the Concept Pro Shop.
I have worked with Nico, Louisa, David and Mathieu for many years.
They are helpful and professional with a wide range of modern kit
|Things to slide with.
|For more info on my 2020 ski touring kit selection, click here
|Downhill or ski touring boots.Try to avoid hiring boots as blisters often result.
|Try as many makes as possible to see which one fits your foot best. Touring boots are now almost as good as downhill boots. I use Tecnica Zero G Pro, fitted by the Concept Pro Shop
|Skis and bindings
|Your preferred ski and binding
|95% of my skiing gets done on Fischer Ranger 107's mounted with Marker Alpinist bindings for most days. They're not for everyone, being wide and stiff.
For powder hooliganism, I'm on K2 Pinnacle 118's mounted with Marker Kingpins.
If you're in touring boots, you MUST use a touring binding. Failure to do this can result in a spiral fracture of the tibia and fibula. I speak from personal experience.
|preferably fixed length. Powder baskets useful
|Adjustable/telescopic poles often break or malfunction. I've been testing Zeek carbon fibre ski poles for the last 2 seasons. These British made poles have made a significant improvement to my ski performance as well as saving weight
|preferably a digital triple antenna model
|I use a Mammut Pulse, but strongly recommend the Element, which I supply FOC as part of my hire fee. Please reserve in advance. The Mammut Barryvox is getting very good reviews as well
|with a telescopic handle and a metal blade
|I use either a K2 Shaxe or a Voilé Telepro. I supply these FOC as part of my hire fee. Please reserve in advance
|2.4m minimum length
|I use a Black Diamond QuickDraw 240. I supply these FOC as part of my hire fee. Please reserve in advance
|35-50 litres, with straps for carrying skis
|The size of your pack is going to be determined by the size of your kit. Please bear in mind that you will be asked to carry some group kit such as repair kits, a group shelter, a rope or a spare layer. This will probably take another 2 or 3 liters so you will need to have some margin. On hot days you'll also need space for your warm clothing in the pack. I prefer packs with a zip off back to access stuff that's low down quickly and easily. I also like packs that carry skis diagonally across the back rather than A framing. I have had a connection with Lowe Alpine for many years and was asked for design specifications for a ski touring pack. The resulting product is the Descent 35 which I use for much of my ski touring work.
Should an airbag pack be necessary, I use a modular ABS system
|The decision to wear a helmet is a personal one
|Helmets are becoming more and more popular. I personally don't use one for skiing, but equally you are very welcome to wear one if you so wish.
|If we are skiing on a glacier ( for example the Vallée Blanche )
|I can supply these FOC. Please reserve in advance
|We all have different systems. This one works for me
|That's underpants in northern England
|Good quality socks are essential.
|I use Lenz heated socks. I must be getting soft
|Depending on temperatures, you may need 1, 2 or 3 leg layers
|The second layer of leg insulation
|For ski touring, a good shell pant with side zips for uphill effort
|I use Patagonia Untracked Goretex pants. I'm on my second pair and the Patagonia repair policy has done me proud several times on both pairs.
|A long sleeved crew necked or short zip top
|Mid layer top
|A long sleeved top with a full length zip
|A light weight synthetic or down jacket
|I use the Arc'teryx Atom. Light and warm
|A good quality waterproof, windproof and breathable shell jacket
|I use the Arc'teryx FL
|Woolly hat. Long enough to cover your ears as well
|Baseball cap if you want to look continenta, a cricket hat for Brits
|Category 3 lenses at least. Additional low light lenses useful
|I use Cébé S'Tracks with interchangeable lenses
|Low light screen useful
|Gloves to skin up with and/or ski down when it's warm
|I use leather gloves from Simond for 99% of my days on skis
|For when it's chilly. Mittens if you must, but not recommended
|I have a pair of ski gloves that stay in my pack most of the time
|SPF 30-50. Just enough to last the trip. Share with your mates?
|Don't share this with anyone unless you're prepared to kiss them
|So you can get up for breakfast at the right time.
|I use a Suunto with an integrated GPS
|Depending on our plan for the day
|Something to go in that bag
|Often we will be getting to the hut in early afernoon but you'll still need something to keep you going. At most huts you can buy a late lunch but I like to carry a sandwich as well as snack bars
|Chocolate, nuts, energy gels ? Keep some in your pockets
|"How much water do I need?". If I had a £ for every time...
|For off piste you can get away with half a liter. On cold days I often carry a flask instead
|You'll need money for après-ski at the very least
|If you've got a pass for the area we're in, bring it along
|Switched off and at least 40cm away from your transceiver
|Make sure you know the emergency number for the area. Ask me if you don't