What's In My Pack: Marcus Caston
He may not have the best nutrition advice, but we promise you can trust him on gear.
Photos by Cam Mcleod
Name: Marcus Caston
Occupation: Pro Skier and Coach at Party Beach Ski Camps
Sponsors: Helly Hansen, Tecnica, Blizzard, LEKI, Osprey, Snowbird
Marcus Caston grew up with Utah as his playground and continues to call Salt Lake City home. “As far as sports goes, there really isn't anything you can’t do around here. I grew up skiing (obviously), but there is tons of mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, soccer, tennis, etc. This place puts out a lot of really strong people and athletes.”
Caston has killer powder skills and a playful spirit.
Along with putting in a 40+ hour work week playing in the mountains, Marcus does his overtime working on his Party Beach Ski Camps. A child at heart, these ski camps are a completely natural off-season project for him. “We go have fun, and when you are having fun you want to try harder to be better. Party Beach allows me to ski like a kid again while refining my techniques for the winter.”
We had Marcus spill the contents of his pack (it’s an Osprey, naturally), and here are some of his essentials.
When you’re heading into the backcountry, what are 5 things that can always be found in your day pack?
Besides my beacon (1), shovel (2) and probe (3) I always carry a leatherman (4) for fixing whatever. My Helly Hansen Verglas Hooded Down Insulator (5) is light and packs down to nothing and offers tons of warmth when you need it. I always bring my phone in case of emergencies, to look at maps, and to keep my mom updated to keep her from worrying. My POC Fornix Backcountry helmet (6) is super lightweight which makes for an easy call to throw in the pack. Lastly, I bring my camera (7), it’s a beautiful world out there.
Weather conditions can often be unpredictable in the mountains. Tell us a little bit about what you do to layer up for long days in the backcountry.
I go light close to the skin, wearing my Helly Hansen flow base layers (8). My HH Odin Mountain pants (9) and jacket (10) are just a light shells for a little warmth and have plenty of ventilation for the up. If I need more warmth than that, I throw over my HH Verglas down insulator (5) or Icefall down jacket depending on how cold it is. The trick is to keep from sweating on the up and having something warm to throw over for the down.
What are some of your favorite accessories?
I always wear my buff (11); that goes without saying. My POC Glacier glasses (12) are my new favorites, they replace goggles for me on most ski tour outings unless it's going to be over the head powder. My PNH hat that I picked up on our Warren Miller trip to Alaska a few years ago is my go-to touring hat. My LEKI basic liner gloves (13) are super light weight and offer the right amount of warmth while going up, keeps the snow off your hands while transitioning, and has touch screen compatibilities for popping off those grams.
What ski setup are you grabbing for most often these days?
For skis, I have been switching between my Blizzard Zero G 108s (14) and my Zero G 95s (15) depending on conditions and the mission. If the snow is good and for longer missions, I have been going for the 95s because they are just so light weight and ski so solid. When the snows a little more beat or I want to go a little faster while skiing I go with my 108s. For boots, I have been skiing almost exclusively the Tecnica Zero G Guide Pro (16). It’s a charging 130 flex 4-buckle boot with a power strap that's also super warm and comfortable and comes in at only 1500 grams.
What’s your go-to road trip snack?
I am addicted to sugar and junk food. My typical gas station purchase is Skittles, king size Reese's, a donut, nacho cheese Doritos, and a french vanilla cappuccino.
What on-mountain snack do you always have in your bag?
Power Bars (17) for energy, but the secret weapon to keep you going is Watermelon Bubblicious. When you are cold and tired, pop in some Bubblicious (18) and suddenly you feel like superman. If Bubblicious isn't available, try Bubble Tape, or Big League Chew. Big League Chew flavors “Out of Here Original” or “Ground Ball Grape” are my favorites, but “Swinging Sour Apple” can be a great choice as well.
What’s your preference when it comes to photos? Do you like to keep a camera on you to document epic days?
I usually always have my camera on me. I’m a senior photographer at “Out of Focus” Magazine so I have to document my adventures. But seriously, skis are magic and take you to the most amazing places, so I love having my camera to document.
You were recently crowned Best Hair in Skiing by Powder Magazine. Tell us a little bit about your hair care secrets.
No secrets, it’s all about the grease that comes out of my head. I don't have the most grease in skiing, but I do have the best grease.
Can you tell us about some of your favorite places to ski right now?
I have been loving skiing at home in Utah this winter! I have traveled so much over the years that I haven't fully explored my home Wasatch Range, so I have been having a blast getting out and seeing my backyard in a different light. Scandinavia is my hot spot for traveling right now. Beautiful mountains right to the ocean and beautiful women everywhere, can’t beat that.