BCA Traverse EXT shovel $45
If you're chopping hard snow—or otherwise reefing on your shovel—nothing beats an aluminum blade and shaft. The EXT has both, and the shaft extends to 30.5 inches for added leverage.
G3 Rutschblock Cord $23
Looking for weak layers in the snowpack? This handy, lightweight cord (along with two probes) lets you perform a Rutschblock test with minimal effort.
Recco Reflectors $25
While inbounds avalanches are rare at resorts these days, tree-well immersions are more frequent—and deadly—than you think. To help find lost or buried skiers, 330 ski resorts worldwide are equipped with Recco avalanche detectors. Wear a pair of these stick-of-gum-sized reflectors on either side of your body, and if you go MIA, patrol will have a better chance of finding you.
Tracker DTS Beacon $300
One of the most user-friendly beacons just got friendlier. The redesigned harness (not pictured) makes it easier to transition to search mode, and the battery compartment has been strengthened to make the device even more shock resistant.
Life-Link Professional Snow Study Kit $100
Once you've got the chops to travel safely in avalanche country (see "The Skills, page 177), get the tools you need for in-depth snow analysis. This kit includes two Celsius dial stem thermometers, a slopemeter, and a snow crystal identification card.
Black Diamond AvaLung II $115
Worn over your jacket, this simple device redirects carbon dioxide away from your "oxygen-intake zone (the space around your head when you're buried in an avalanche), which helps prevent CO2 poisoning and ice-masking. No one has died using an Avalung, and Black Diamond has sold over 12,000 units, mainly to snow professionals.
Life-Link Speed Carbon Fiber Probe 280 $80
Because Life-Link's "Quickdraw Tension System aligns all probe sections with one quick snap, you can start searching faster. At 9.5 ounces, there's also no weight penalty.
Black Diamond Clipwire Ski Leashes $15
Most resorts require that freeheelers have leashes. These ones swivel easily, don't freeze up, and have glove-friendly wire gates. Just remember to take 'em off in the backcountry: In the event of an avalanche, you don't want to be dragged down by your skis.
Dakine Hippy Flake Hat $25
If Dakine is making them, you know Peruvian hats are—probably for the first time since '78—officially "cool. Regardless of the fashion quotient, this fleece-lined, ear-flapped brown beauty will keep your dome warm.
Black Diamond TeleKneesis Kneepads $39
Don't wait until you bonk your knee to buy a pair. Protect your patella, shin, and lower thigh with these low-profile, molded-foam pads.
Granite Gear Mush Dog Boots $17/set of two
Lassie may have crampon-like claws, but she doesn't have skins, right? Not so fast: These booties come in four sizes and have climbing skin material sewn on the bottom.
REI Weatherproof Journal $8
Record snowpack data with a ballpoint. Write haikus about powder days in pencil if you must (just don't send them to us). Your words will never bleed if they're in this water resistant journal.
Black Diamond Glide Lite STS Ascension Skins$120 (100 mm)
You don't want to be futzing with skins when you should be skiing. A glove-friendly tail-attachment system (not shown very well) is quick and simple to use, while a glue-free strip (also not shown) down the middle makes it easier to pull them apart.
7 8 DEC 2004
ProTech Sunscreen $16
Fragrance-free, non-oily, wind- and water-resistant.
Adventure Medical Kits Cuts & Bolts Essentials $32
Chances are you'll be able to sew, glue, strap, tape, patch, or pin whatever you break with this little 10-ounce repair pouch.