You’re going to a backcountry ski hut! Yay! Untracked pow, great friends, cozy nights. Here’s a packing list to help you prepare for the adventure.
Special thanks to SCARPA, G3, PISTIL Designs, BCA, Ortovox, DPS skis, Osprey Packs and CLIF bar for supporting Backcountry Babes. All brands mentioned below are products we use and recommend in the backcountry. (These are not paid promotions, but real recommendations, FYI)
1. Ski Gear
- Backcountry Skis Powder Skis!!
- Touring bindings If you’re skiing at a backcountry lodge, you’re probably already familiar with the importance of good bindings. We’re stoked on G3 Ion bindings – they are lightweight and easy to step into. Dynafit is another good brand. If you have heavier bindings, you might have to work a harder skinning uphill, but you’ll have the benefit of extra fitness.
- Backcountry Ski Boots The Backcountry Babes consensus for best make and model? Scarpa Gea RS boots.
- Ski Poles -adjustable height, powder baskets, extra grip
- Climbing skins trimmed to fit your skis G3 Skins, perfect for Gently Guided Grades 😉
- Scraper and wax – to get sticky snow off your skis and skins while you tour on those warm days.
- Avalanche Transceiver w/extra batteries
- Shovel – metal not plastic. G3 Shovels
- Probe –G3 Probes
- Repair kit and spare parts for bindings. Make sure all your ski gear and avy gear is in good working order before the trip.
- At least 40oz carrying capacity for water. Water bottles, a hydration bladder (beware the frozen hose situation) and an insulated thermos for tea.
- Backcountry ski backpack to put all this in. Osprey Packs
2. Skiing Outfit
- Sun hat: Something with a big brim.
- Sun glasses: High quality, polarized sunglasses with great sun protection.
- Goggles: For snowy days.
- Sunscreen: Winter formula to prevent chapped skin.
- Lip Balm with SPF
- Helmet? Some people don’t use a helmet in the backcountry, others do. SMITH Snow Helmets for Women
- A warm layer: down jacket or vest
- Waterproof outer shell
- Waterproof shell pants. Uninsulated and bring layers for underneath.
- Wool Buff to keep your neck warm
- Layers! Once you’re hiking uphill you might want to shed layers until you’re in your lightweight base layer, even on the most arctic Canadian Rocky days. Here’s my layering system:
- Patagonia R1 Hoodie or some kind of expedition weight base layer top.
- Wool long sleeved shirt or some kind of midweight base layer top
- lightweight base layer – short sleeved wool tshirt to hike in, or longsleeved lightweight layer to keep the sun off too.
- Wool long underwear aka midweight base layer bottoms
- Ski Socks I like wool socks, as thin as possible, and a new pair each day to keep them from getting crusty and cold. I once went to a professional boot fitter and he told me to get thinner socks. I thought I had thin socks, but it turns out they needed to be thinner. Olympic Bootworks in Squaw Valley USA.
- Sports Bra
- Gloves – I’m excited to try these: handout gloves. I usually bring 2 pair of gloves to rotate through wet and dry.
- Warm Hat – Pistil Designs for style points
3. Hanging at the Hut
- Hut Slippers – crocs, wool clogs, slippers. Some huts provide these for you.
- Wool Socks – sacred socks for sleeping in
- Towel for the sauna. (And maybe a bathing suit if you are shy). One of our Babes rocks a pack towel robe that looks amazing for walking from the lodge to the sauna.
- Snow Boots for walking to the outhouse, sauna, and checking out the views in the evening. You can also skip the snow boots and tromp around in your ski boot shells if you’re packing light. Some huts provide snow boots, too.
- Comfortable Lounge wear for apres ski..usually the hut is very warm, filled with people and a wood burning stove cranking heat, so you can pack lighter weight clothes, T-shirts, whatever!
- Headlamp with extra batteries – usually the huts have lights, but always nice to have your own for going to the outhouse or reading once your roommates are asleep.
4. Random Essentials
- Credit Card, Driver’s License, and Insurance Card in the world’s thinnest Allet Wallet .
- Personal first aid, blister ampoules bandages, personal medications, tampons
- Hair ties, mini hair brush, mini shampoo, mini toiletries
- Contact lenses or eyeglasses
- Cell phone – great for photos and communication on your way into and out of the backcountry. Oh, and no cell service at the hut (yay!)
- Yes, many huts have solar powered electricity with regular electrical sockets, so bring a charger
5. Bonus Points
- a surprise stash of chocolate to share on a special day
- a quote or reading to share with your group on a peak
- a ukulele or guitar with chords/lyrics (most huts have a guitar up there!)
- a great camera and share your photographic efforts
- iPod, often there are speakers at the hut.
- Post-trip change of clothes to leave in the car
- Cash (Canadian or US) to purchase souvenir items. It is customary to tip your ski guide 10-15% of trip cost.
- Books, backgammon, cribbage, cards, games – usually the hut has these things already!
- You are allowed to bring in 24-12 oz. cans or bottles of beer or 40 oz liquor or 1.5 litres of wine per person when crossing the border from the US into Canada. Recommend boxed wine over glass, cans over bottles for the helicopter situation.
**The less stuff you bring, the lighter you’ll travel and the more freedom you’ll have. Plus, there’s usually a weight limit if you are taking a helicopter.**
To be clear, we’re talking about what you need for a backcountry ski lodge with warm beds, a sauna, firewood, and a full kitchen– British Columbia style. Stay tuned for a future blog about what to pack for the more rugged Sierra Club or 10th Mountain Division huts.