Get The Gear: Five essentials to get you to the skintrack

To help first-timers ascend and descend with ease, we’ve put together some gear selects that aid in making strides in the backcountry.

Evan Stevens’s Shared Knowledge

Internationally certified guide Evan Stevens, 40, is no stranger to academia. His interest in working in the mountains started with his undergraduate education, where he studied cartography and geographic information systems with a focus on avalanche science. He then applied his degree while working for five years with the Utah Avalanche Center before moving to British Columbia, where he now guides, teaches and oversees ACMG courses and exams.

Sheldon Kerr’s Constant Learning

Ridgway, Colo. resident Sheldon Kerr, 33, is up front about her drive toward excellence. It’s that personality trait that’s motivated her to stay in the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) training program for a decade and to pursue becoming an internationally certified mountain guide.

Conor Hurley’s Workplace Passion

Conor Hurley, 38, didn’t always want to be a guide. Growing up in New Hampshire, he attended the University of New Hampshire before bringing his Vermont-based coffee-roasting business to Revelstoke, British Columbia, where he moved in 2007 in search of bigger mountains.

Holly Walker’s apprentice ski guide journey

In February 2015, while skiing out of bounds in the Swiss Alps, Holly Walker was caught in an avalanche where she sustained a blown knee. During her recovery, she spent time processing her career, which, after college, landed her behind a desk and on British Columbia’s Whistler and Blackcomb ski patrols to satiate her need for mountain time.

2019 Skills Guide: The Level Four Experience

Been there, toured that. You’re the old dog, the seasoned pro, the one who most often calls the shots and who others look to on tour. Maybe your gear is top-of-the-line; maybe it’s ratty and worn from all those hundred-day seasons.

2019 Skills Guide: The Level Three Experience

Moving along a skintrack feels like second nature. So does setting one, since you’re the friend who’s often up front breaking trail. That’s because you’re among the more knowledgeable and experienced of your regular touring partners.

2019 Skills Guide: The Level Two Experience

You’re comfortable skinning and ready to venture into the backcountry and easy-to-manage avalanche terrain, either with a guide or some knowledgeable friends.

2019 Skills Guide: The Level One Experience

You’re just getting into skinning, intrigued by the prospect of hiking for turns, getting a bit of wintertime fitness and, eventually, possibly heading into avalanche terrain.

Beyond the Gates: How the BRASS Foundation is teaching racers avy safety

How, in the wake of two U.S. Ski Team development-athletes’ deaths, snow-safety organization BRASS is educating the U.S.’s youth racers.