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The Gear You Need for Skiing in the Canadian Rockies

Bringing the right gear makes any trip more enjoyable.

By: Mitch Pittman + Save to a List

Jagged peaks and stunning views, fluffy white snow, and a super cute town to après in after days on the mountains, what more can you ask for in a ski destination? We recently took a trip to Canadian Rockies to ski the mountains of Ski Big 3 around Banff (Sunshine, Lake Louise, and Norquay). Bringing the right gear makes any trip more enjoyable. Kristi Teplitz joined me on the trip and here are some of our favorite men’s and women’s pieces!

Majesty Destroyer Carbon Skis

We are lucky to be living in the Golden Age of ski technology. The shape, material, and design of skis have come light-years in the last couple decades and it’s hard to go wrong. But for me, it’s important to fly uphill in the backcountry as well as crush in the resorts, so I ski on the Majesty Destroyer Carbon skis. Lifties often comment, “Holy crap, I didn’t expect these fatties to be so light!” when I unload from a gondola, yet still they charge through crud and rip groomers as effortlessly as they float through powder on their 115 waist.


Nordica Santa Ana 100

The women’s version of Nordica’s Enforcer ski, the Santa Ana 100’s are a force to be reckoned with. They’re fun and peppy skis with enough float to bounce your way through powder and weave through trees, and heavy enough to crush groomers and slice through crud. I’ve been looking for one ski that can handle it all, and the Santa Ana’s are easily living up to my expectations.


Smith Vantage MIPS Snow Helmet - Women’s

A helmet is a super important part of your ski gear, and the Smith Vantage MIPS is a safe and stylish choice. Warm, lightweight, comfy, and with the extra protection of MIPS, you can’t go wrong with this helmet. I love the vents for days I’m working up a sweat by crushing powder turns or days in the backcountry, and I’ve successfully fit numerous Smith and Oakley goggles to my hemet with no issues with fogging or crazy forehead gaps. They also update their colors often.


Outdoor Research Aksel Work Gloves

Warm wool interior and wind-resistant exterior, these gloves are surprisingly warm and held up against the low temps on our trip to the Canadian Rockies. The leather gives great dexterity and grip, making them a solid choice from everything to putting chains on your tires to changing your boots and bindings from walk to ski modes.


High Sierra Luggage

Ski trips are awesome, but it takes hauling a lot of gear to make it possible. High Sierra’s new OTC line (coming out in the Spring of 2019) makes that easy with the organization and durability that these trips require. Ski boots fit easily into the big suitcase along with all of layers for skiing and going out afterward, and the backpack holds all of your camera gear securely with its hard shell and dedicated laptop compartment so you can show everyone how epic the pow was. There's even a secret pocket in the backpack great for keeping your passport or extra cash safe. Read my full review here.


SporTube Series 2

Your skis are likely some of the dearest investments in your gear closet, so you want to make sure they’re taken care of – especially on the way to a powdery wonderland. With the SportTube Series 2, you’ll have peace of mind when sending your sticks into the unknown abyss of airport baggage handling. What’s more, there are rollers on the bottom of the case so you don’t have to throw it on your shoulder for those long walks through the airport and hotel. Read my full review here.


Oofos OOmg Boot - Women’s

Your feet will be happy to slip these on after a long day crushing turns in ski boots! Water resistant and perfect for recovery, these boots are the right amount of squishy and comfy to relieve tired feet.


Outdoor Research Option Balaclava

It gets cold in the Canadian Rockies and the wind can kick up. Keeping your chin and cheeks protected from wind burn will help you be able to ski day after day and get the most out of your trip! We love OR’s Option Balaclava - it’s lightweight, moisture-wicking, and it can even be rolled up into a beanie if you forget yours at home!


OOfos OOahh Slide Sandals

These might at first seem counterintuitive for a trip to a frigid mountain range, but they’re worth their weight in gold. Not only do they help your feet recover from hours crammed in a ski boot, you’ll also need them to walk to and from the hot tub at your hotel. Or better yet, the Banff Upper Hot Springs. With a good pair of socks, I was able to comfortably walk around town for an afternoon in just my sandals. (If it’s a powder day, you can't wear these. Read my full review here


Icebreaker 250 Vertex Base Layers - Women’s

Warm, but breathable, soft and not too thick, I was happy to have my Icebreaker 250 Base Layers with me while skiing in Canada! I normally like merino weight closer to 175-200 for my California skiing, but these kept me nice and toasty when temperatures dropped down to -17 degrees Celsius! 


Icebreaker Men’s BodyfitZone 200 Zone Long Sleeve Half Zip

We all know that being comfortable and warm is all about layering, and that the entire system starts with your base layer. Icebreaker BodyFit layers not only keep you warm, but also breathe and magically wick sweat away without getting sticky or uncomfortable. Just as importantly, they don’t make your friends hate you for stinking up the hotel room, since the fabric is naturally more odor-resistant.


Swix CH6 Ski Wax

Things can get pretty chilly up in the Canadian Rockies, but all the warm clothes in the world won’t help your most important piece of gear perform its best: your skis. For that, you need to treat them with temperature-appropriate wax before the trip to get the most out of your time on the slopes. Your local shop should be able to do this on request, but with a few pieces of equipment, you can wax your own skis and save a lot of money in the long run.


Smith I/O X Goggles

You have to be able to see where you’re going, and the wide field of view of the Smith I/O X goggle lets you do that. The bigger lens gives you confidence in what’s around you and the design makes it easy and quick to swap between lenses in changing light.


Outdoor Research Ascendant Hooded Jacket

Whether you’re bombing groomers or hiking up a ridge to your favorite powder stash, it’s important to stay warm in the cold but also dump extra heat when you’re on the move. The Ascendant jacket is a magical piece of gear that gives you the perfect amount of breathability and protection from the elements, whether you’re lapping the frontside or touring the backside.


Mammut Alvier HS Hooded Jacket - Women’s

Designed for alpine adventures, the Alvier has become a favorite of mine. Lightweight but durable, waterproof but super breathable, this jacket keeps me well-protected from wind, rain and snow. It's helmet-compatible hood and other nicely designed features keep me comfy, warm and dry when I spend all day in the backcountry.


Arc'teryx Sentinal Pant - Women’s

Durable, breathable, and warm for a shell pant, I love these ski pants. I stay warm when I wear my super light base layers, and the side vents are great when I'm touring. The cargo pockets and adjustable belt are both functional and awesome. There aren't a lot of extras with these pants which is why I like them. They have the right amount of pockets and features to make them super usable, while the focus is on the material. I have had my first pair for over 6 years and they look and feel brand new.


Lorpen T3 Ski and Mountaineering Socks

While we both love our go-to Icebreaker, Smartwool, and DarnTough ski socks, we wanted to give some love to a smaller Spanish brand we’re quickly falling in love with. The T3 Ski and Mountaineering Socks have lots of cushion without feeling heavy, and we appreciate the extra padding all the way up the shin. They kept our feet feeling dry warm and dry after long days in our ski boots and have held up after lots of use!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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