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Backcountry Rider Gift Guide 2012

A backcountry skier or snowboarder is not always as easy to identify as your average resort rider. If you suspect you are about to buy a gift for one of these elusive types, first look in their gear closet for classic signs of the backcountry syndrome: beacon, probe, shovel, skins, and all sorts of other gadgets that look like they may belong in a science lab. If any of the following things are missing, there is your gift.

Black Diamond Expedition Collapsible Poles

Black Diamond Expedition Collapsible Ski Poles- $90

The Expedition ski poles by Black Diamond are the go-to pole for any splitboarder or backcountry skier who may get vertical and need to ditch their poles for an ice axe. Utilizing two collapsing sections gives you a pole that is short enough to fit inside a pack, while extending to a full pole length of 140cm.

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 SPOT Locator Beacon

SPOT Satellite Messenger- $75-$100

If someone you care about likes to venture out into the backcountry alone, a satellite messaging system could be the thing that brings them home. SPOT is a device that allows a person to communicate with specific people anywhere they can get a GPS signal. They can send a distress signal to rescue services, a  non-emergency, “need-help” signal to chosen contacts, or other simple messages to those tracking their progress online. A yearly service plan is required also. Great responsibility comes with these units so educate your loved ones of the risks involved with rescues.

Where to buy:


 Suunto MC-2 Pro Compass

Suunto MC-2 Pro Compass & Clinometer- $55

The one piece of the avalanche puzzle that can most easily be controlled is the slope angle which you will be riding. Your backcountry buddy cannot make a conservative decision on those sketchy days if they can't take an accurate slope angle measurement. In steps the Suunto MC-2 Pro compass with built in clinometer. That's all you really need to know. Stay safe, know where you are.

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 G3 Bone Saw  

G3 Bonesaw Snow Saw- $60

Safety is the number one priority when traveling in the backcountry, there is no point to riding beautiful, challenging lines if you don't get to ride them again and again. One of the main tools your backcountry rider needs in their pack to assess snow structure is a snow saw. The Bonesaw By G3 can be attached to a shovel handle, probe or pole for extended reach, provides snow crystal grids, and is easily packable.

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 Mountain Hardwear Balaclava

Balaclava- $20-$40

One reason people venture into the backcountry is to get closer to nature and test themselves against the elements. Getting a leg up on the competition with a balaclava will help that test go well. When you're skinning up an exposed ridgeline with winds howling from every direction the full coverage of a balaclava is more than just a welcome comfort.

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 Black Diamond Avalung

Black Diamond Avalung- $130- $300

The Avalung by Black Diamond is the most accessible tool that will actually increase the chances of survival when buried by an avalanche. By expelling CO2 gases away from a persons fresh air source, the Avalung gives rescuers more time to find someone buried by an avalanche. A simple sling version can be worn with any pack setup, or equip your favorite person with a pack from Black Diamond that is built with an integrated Avalung. Either way, it's a smart choice.

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