The Mountain Institute

Winter gear list

 This is intended to be used as a reference and recommendation for various items. All of items are interchangeable w/ a different style or brand. 


There is an endless amount of skis out there right now. The number listed with the name of the ski is the width underfoot. Essentially, how wide they are. Recommended width is 95 to 105 with 100 being the sweet spot.

A ski is only as good as it waxed and sharpening.

For priorities of gear when acquiring quality equipment, keep in mind the following…





Voile SuperCharger Skis

Pros: Lightweight, easy to ski, fun


Best for: Everyone


Line Vision 98

Pros: Lightweight, easy to ski, fun

Cons: You need to carefully sand down/dremel the rounded rubber piece on the tail for your skin to fit perfectly.

Best for: Everyone


Evo’s list of touring ski’s


Fritschi Vipec Evo 12 Bindings

Pros: Lightweight, easy to use, fast transitions, one of the only bindings that have a DIN setting for both toe & heal (this really increases the safety of your knees)

Cons: All plastic

Best for:  Beginner/Intermediate skiers who only ski a couple times a year

Ski CramponsMust have for icy conditions


Hagan Core 12

Pros: Lightweight, easy to use, fast transitions, all metal.

Cons: DIN setting only in the heel. Can be a little advanced of a binding for those who do not ski tour often.

Best for:  Intermediate/Advanced skiers who ski more than a couple times a year

Ski CramponsMust have for icy conditions

Additional recommendations: ATK Freeride spacers


Pomoca Climb S-Glide

Get the Ready2Climb


BD Evac 7 Shovel

Best one out there

Avalanche probes

Ortovox 320 + PFA

great probe

BD Quickdraw probe 280cm

BCA Stealth 300


  • carbon fiber sounds nice at first but they break easily

    • get a metal probe

  • minimum length of 280cm

Beacons / Transceivers

BD Guide Avalanche Beacon

Easy to use out of the box.

Don’t get the cheaper versions of this Blackdiamond beacon, if you are going to get a blackdiamond beacon, get this one.

Mammut Barryvox S

Easy to use out of the box.

Fantastic beacon.


Ferrino Instinct 40+5L

Pros: Ultra lightweight, extra padding/protection for crampons/skis

Cons: Will not carry heavy weight the best but better than most Dyneema packs. Best to pack light.

Not best for multiday trips

Internal avalanche rescue pocket

Hyperlight Headwall 55

Pros: Ultra lightweight, large space

Cons: Will not carry heavy weight all that well. Best to pack light.

Good for multiday trips

Hyperlight Crux 40

Pros: Ultra lightweight, great features

Cons: Only 40L. Will not carry heavy weight all that well. Best to pack light.

Not best for multiday trips.

Cilo Gear Ski Packs

Many options. They have a military-specific line – call them directly for access

Pros: Lightweight, functional.

Cons: Internal avalanche rescue pocket

Mystery Ranch Gallatin Peak 40

Pros: Functional, carries heavy weight like a pro and allows you to still move

Cons: Heavier


This one is tough.

Everyone has different feet and there are a lot of boot options.

Best to call around and interview shops that have boot fitters who will take measurements and recommend the best boot for you. Most places offer molding of the liners but this is only half the battle. Buy your boots from a ski shop that has a boot fitter, and that is their specific role.

A custom insole can and will go a long way.

If you are in the following areas I can highly recommend…

Jackson, WY: JH Boot room

Breckenridge, CO: A racers edge

  • This shop mostly has race boots, If you already own a pair of boots, get a custom insole made here!


Don’t buy super cheap goggles. You will regret it.

Sunglasses are great, but at the resort and when it starts snowing sideways, you. are going to need a pair of goggles.

Smith Optics

  • smith goggles are great in design. Being able to unclip the strap is more convenient than you might realize.



You may want to consider the following set of lenses.

  • 1x low-light lens (cloudy/flat light days)
  • 1x dark lens (for really sunny days)
  • 1x clear lens for night
Sun glasses

Smith wildcats

Pit Vipers

Poc Devour

You want a pair of sunglasses that won’t fog up while touring. Recently, there has been an increase of sunglass-goggle crossovers. These things are great, you can change out the lenses just like you would on a pair of goggles.


You may want to consider the following set of lenses.

  • 1x low-light lens (cloudy/flat light days)
  • 1x dark lens (for really sunny days)
  • 1x clear lens for night

There are not many helmets out there that are multi-sport rated, look descent, and are lightweight

These helmets are rated for skiing and climbing, they are multi-rated. They have headlamp retention slots and goggle straps on the back. They are all very lightweight.

Pants - Hardshells

Flylow Compound Bib

Functional, Beacon pocket, upper part of bib can be removed.

Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pant

Functional, Beacon pocket.

RAB Khroma Latok GTX Pro Pants

Functional, Beacon pocket.


  • Having a beacon pocket can be very helpful for SAR type of applications. You often have a chest harness on with a radio, making it uncomfortable & challenging to have your beacon in a chest harness.

  • Touring all day in hardshell pants can be warm. This can cause your feet to sweat more than normal, making your feet colder and more prone to cold weather injury. Make sure any pant you choose has good ventilation.

  • A good pair of hardshell pants is a must-have.


Pants - softshells

BD Dawn patrol hybrid pants

Functional, Beacon pocket.

BD Recon LT stretch

Functional, Beacon pocket.


  • Softshell pants can make a significant difference when touring all day in warm temperatures.

  • You may want to use your hardshell pants for really cold and/or wet days.


Jackets - Hardshells

Norrona tamok goretex jacket

Norrona lygen goretex active jacket




Jackets - softshells

BD Dawn patrol hybrid shell


  • There are a lot of options
  • Recommended brands
    • Norrona
    • Arc’teryx
    • Rab
    • Patagonia
    • Mammut
  • Must have:
    • Zippers underneath the armpits!
    • A hood!
    • Chest pockets! 
Jackets - Mid layers (puffy/fleece/sun shirt)

A sun shirt is great to have for various conditions

NRS Men’s Silkweight Hoodie

Patagonia Men’s Capilene Cool Daily Graphic Hoody

REI Co-op Sahara Shade Hoodie


Patagonia R1

one of the best fleece type layers on the market


Norrona lygen down hoody

Patagonia Nano puff

Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody

Patagonia micro puff hoody





Guide to Baselayers

As your first layer of clothing, baselayers are arguably the most important factor when it comes to regulating your body’s temperature. If you start with the correct baselayer, you establish a foundation from which to build upon with further layers. Get this wrong and all the most expensive, technical outerwear in the world won’t help you keep warm, dry, and ultimately safe.

Ibex baselayers

Rab baselayers





1x light set (top and bottom)

1x heavy set (top and bottom)


  • 3/4 length is nice for leggings
  • It is best to have a couple of different “weights”
    • lightweight for warm days
    • heavyweight for cold days
  • There are a lot of good brands out there, above are just a couple options



Puffy shorts

Down shorts can make a huge difference if you are standing around and can also be used in rescue situations.

Rab Mythic Down Shorts


Norrona lygen down knickers


For touring, you want a thin wool sock that wicks away moisture. Don’t wear two pairs of socks, your feet will sweat more and you will end up with blisters.

Lightweight is best for touring

Midweight is best for resort skiing

Heavy weight is best for mountaineering/ice climbing



Repair kit

Ski straps

Alpine Dish Brush/Scraper

  • #1 most borrowed item

Leatherman SKELETOOL multitool

SOL Emergency Blanket

(just one..which one to bring depends on the trip)

Gear repair tape

Glop stopper wax

Extra pole basket

  • don’t leave home without it!

Bailing wire/Galvanized steel wire (16g or skinnier)

Zip ties

hose clamp (ski pole repair)

Accessory cord

Steel wool and epoxy packets

This is used if a binding rips out. You can fill the bad hole with epoxy and steel wool, rescrew the binding to the ski and make it out of there.

Spare binding and parts

Extra skin tail strap

It is hard to find the perfect bag to carry items like this. These semi-water-resistant zippered bags have been descent the past year.





Medical/first aid kit

1x TQ

1X Chest dart (paramedics)

1x Combat gauze

1x NPA

1x Ace wrap

1x Cravat

2x Tegaderm (these things are great for wounds)

4-6 pills of tylenol & ibprufen

Blister care

It is hard to find the perfect bag to carry items like this. These semi-water-resistent zippered bags have been descent the past year.






Hand warmers


Hat with decent-sized brim for sun protection




Neck Gaiter


Hut/Camp booties

Face/Nose protection

Duck tape

  • put a couple of wraps on your ski poles!

Nalgene/Water bladder

  • avoid the skinny opening Nalgene, water will freeze easier.

Snow climbing tools

Voile Straps