My Backcountry Ski Checklist
With the backcountry ski season just around the corner, it is a great time to get your BC ski kit together so when that fateful day dawns you are ready to shred the pow without any glitches. By following a few quick and easy steps, you will be well prepared for your first backcountry adventure of the season. Here are a few things I like to do in the pre season.
First and most important is making sure that all your avalanche tech gear is assembled and stored in the pack. Avy-probe, shovel, snow study kit and most important of all, your beacon. It would be well advised to check your battery and replace with new freshies for the season to come. Once you have checked and replaced the batteries, set the unit aside as it is smart to come back to it and refresh yourself on functionality before you throw it in your pack.
Another item that I like to look at are my skins, often in the haste of chasing fresh powder, we jam, cram and stuff our skins into the most unlikely places to achieve the all esteemed first tracks. Peel them apart and try to at least pick out the bits of dog hair, pine needles, Copenhagen and the like. If your skins are not so sticky you can give them a boost with Gold Bond Adhesive. While Re Gluing skins can be an option, it is dirty and toxic work, this is probably the point that you should kick down for some new carpets.
Taking good care of your skins will extend the lifetime.
Once I have my kit put together and strategically stowed I like to check out my boots, bindings and skis. If you are a Telemark skier, look at your cables to see if you have wear or abrasion from the thrashing of the season before. Giving all your screws a quick hand check with a Posi-driver is not a bad idea either. Once you have checked out your linkage moving to the finer details of edges and waxing. If you ski Dynafit tech bindings with brakes, make sure the spacer clamp in the heel piece is still secure to avoid dropping your brake.
In today’s world of thermo molding ski boots, we have the opportunity as skiers to remold our boots at the beginning of the season assuring the best precision for the season to come. We are always happy to remold boots for a small fee if you feel the fit has gone south while in storage. If you are lucky you will find your boots free of mice and all the treats they leave behind. Last year I found a winter’s store of Pinon nuts in my climbing boots. The main point with checking your boots is making sure your fit is dialed and that all your hardware is in good functioning order.
Once I have the critical details of my backcountry Kit put together, there are a few extra items I like to throw in my pack. A backcountry repair kit containing screws, a Posi Driver, A lighter with good roll of Duct tape around it, a cable if you Tele. Some binding company’s provide backcountry repair kits as an after market addition. Not a bad investment when all shit hits the fan and you have a one hour hike out or even better …two. I always stuff a bunch of my kids Halloween candy in a Zip Lock and cram that in the pack as well. Comes in handy all of the time. We all have different formulas for what goes in the pack. Obviously the light and fast will forgo some heavier items like the Skeletool I carry in my kit. The best advice here is if you ski in the New Mexico backcountry, you ski in remote places. Plan for the worst and expect the best. With all systems go, it is time to wait for snow.
Hey this is a great way to get your psyche on for the season. Crack a beer, and head to the garage and with these quick and easy steps you will be skiing in style when the snow flies. For more tips and tricks or professional ski service needs, stop by Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works, your one stop backcountry shop.