Throwback Thursday: Your First BC Setup

Do you remember your first backcountry setup? Backcountry’s staff does. And nothing compares to the feeling of sliding a brand-new, or new-to-you, bc setup uphill…except maybe the feeling of flying down on it afterwards.


Whoever said ‘a quiver of one’ had the wrong idea.

For Editor Tyler Cohen, it was a pair of 168cm Atomic Kongurs mounted with G3 Targa bindings. “I think I might have spent $200 on them, and I overdrew my bank account in the process,” he remembers. For his first backcountry run, he took a ski down Vermont’s Teardrop Trail, a Mt. Mansfield classic, which, according to legend, is so named because of the tears it brings to skiers’ eyes as they careen down its speed-inducing slope.

Associate Publisher Paul Davis, the office’s token snowboarder, remembers finding a full Burton prototype in a shop in 2002, mismarked for somewhere around $100. “Back then there were no split-specific bindings—you just put your regular bindings on these crazy aluminum metal plate thingies and hoped all the shit that was going on didn’t explode,” he says. “I think about 50 percent of the time something broke.” Even though splitboarding technology has increased drastically over the last 10 years, Davis remains skeptical. “I never fully trust it all. Snowboarders are simple folk—all that moving shit makes us nervous.”

When asked about his first bc setup, Editor-in-Chief Adam Howard looked quizzical. “It depends what you call ‘backcountry’,” he remarked. “In a diagonal, Scandinavian sort of way, that would be a pair of Rossignol Chamois (215) with Dovre three-pin bindings. Terrible skis really, and probably 10 years old when I started tele turning on them in 10th grade.” From there he moved on to a pair of “burned out” Fischer RC4 Slaloms with Voilé Three Pin cables. “Also terrible,” he says.

Whether you got your first bc setup 10 years ago or 10 days ago, send your memories to   


  1. Rick Posekany says:

    1975.. Rossi Haute Routes with Ramer’s, Ramer’s serial Number #12, Galibier Makalus

  2. DeepwoodSkier says:

    My first setup was a 200cm k2 tRc with Voile 3 pin and asolo snowfield leather boots. The boOt/binding system could never Drive those skis. I was inspired by a trip to utah where all the bc boys WERe tAking alpine boards and mounting tEle biNdings. The differenCe Was they had scarpa t1’s Plastic boots. I noted that most weRe skiing alpine on tele gear. Eventually i evolved to tech biDings and at gear:-)

  3. Karhu xcd 190 XCd and merrel lace up ski boots. Unh.

    • Same here. Mine were 205cm, on rotefella three-pin bindings (the red and white ones). I still have all of it in my garage.

  4. Featherstone says:

    Black Diamond toutE neigE 205 cm, riva three pin and Merrill leathers with Velcro straps. First ride downhill on this sWeet setup was Grand targeE mt circa 1983/84. I spotted the only other free heeleR on the mt that day and raced down to catch up with him And asked if I could follow him down so I could figure out the tele beta.

    He said sure thing and we skied together all day with him giving instructions on how to drop the knee and Angulate. Turns out later at the bar while watching a World Cup downhill race on the tube that he was a back country ski Guide/instrucToR with a Jackson hole guiding service.

    That was the spirit oF the early tele days.

    Salute to you wherever you are!

  5. Montucky kid says:

    My dad gave me his old pair of 210 cm swallow tele skis. Metal edge, double camber, 3 pin bindings, black putty holding the chipped up sidewalls together. I found a pair of used asolo leather boots and floundered along for several years on the setup. I remember doing a lot of faceplants on a 40″ powder day at bridger bowl.

  6. Sandia Don says:

    1988 or 89.
    Kazama Coluoir’s with riva cables and Asolo snowfield low leather boots. could have had asolo extremes lightly used demos for the same price but i thought i should emphasize uphill performance. stupid!!!

    moved on to atomics with bds and garmont synergy boots. pretty good rig.

    now moved to at with some mid-fat volkls, scarpa boots and adrenaline bindings. i think this time i went too far the other way. skinning up on that rig is a killer. but i can bomb down absolutely anything. what’re you gonna do?

  7. Kestle LW’s – 49mm width if I remember right , no side cut but they had metal edges! (with no offset) – with a super skimpy 75mm nordic boot. ‘ Thought that I ruled the world when I upgraded to Kazama Mt Highs and Asolo leathers

  8. This is the gear I ski today! Please people see the light. LIGHT IS RIGHT. SKINNIES and 3-pin ARE to skiing what the fly rod is to fishing!

  9. Jim Casciano says:

    Fisher Red masters with bindings removed and converse all-stars attached with wood screws. worked for the north woods of new jersey circa 1968.

  10. Michael Yampolsky says:

    Really bad rossignoll skis, volie three pins, and merril ultra leathers all bought as a package From ll bean. I think our crew wEre the first tele skiers in the poconos challenging 450 feet of blue ice. Lots of falls and lots of laughs.

  11. Sean McDonald says:

    Hmm…Not really a BC setup per se…but Dynastar Coupe Du Monde GS, Nordica Grand Prix, Look and every one’s favorite – secura fixes. Nasty but a step up from boot packing/post holing for sure! Anything to be in the BC!!

  12. Bob Edenbach says:

    Tua Montets, Riva 2s and Merrell leather boots.

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