by Wagner Skis / Mar 08, 2022

The Gear You Need for Spring Skiing in the Backcountry 

Spring Skiing 

Few things can compare to the warm and sunny days that spring skiing brings after those long, cold winters. The snow gets softer, the sun shines past 4 PM, and everything starts to look a little different — including your kit. As the conditions shift, this is the perfect time to dial in on the appropriate gear to take with you on those sun-soaked (hopefully) backcountry missions. Yes, sunscreen is definitely a good idea, but there’s a little bit more to keeping covered than smothering zinc oxide on your delicate winter skin. So, to help make sure you’ve got all of the essentials, check out our list of the most essential pieces of gear for safe and fun spring skiing in the backcountry.  


Ice Axe 

One of the first pieces of gear to add to your spring skiing kit for a safe trip off-piste is an ice axe. With warmer temps and softer snow, you may be tempted to leave this potentially life-saving object at home, but don’t risk it. Having an ice axe on hand on the uphill will act as a third point of contact (the other two being your ski pole and boots or crampons) between you and the mountain to self-arrest in case of a fall. We really like Black Diamond’s Venom Ice Axe for a lightweight option that’s made of durable stainless steel. It has an easy-to-grip handle that keeps it from slipping out of your hand and the pick is interchangeable with all of Black Diamond’s other ice picks.

Skiing, LaPlata Mountains, Colorado
Photos By Will Berger


Whether you’re boot-packing up a steep face of spring corn or hard-packed, variable snow, having a pair of crampons on your feet will give you the security and traction you need to safely make it to the top. Going against gravity is never easy to begin with, and the Petzl Leopard LLF Crampons are a great ultra-lightweight choice that won’t weigh you down. They have enough versatility to work well in different types of conditions and pack down small so it won’t take up a ton of room in your pack. ‘Cause you know, gotta have room for snacks.

Ski Mountaineering Colorado


Once again, those bluebird spring days can really convince you to leave some of the most essential gear at home in favor of a light load and nothing but a hat on your head. Even if your plans don’t include making it up to the high alpine, it’s simply not worth leaving your helmet behind…ever. Luckily, Mammut makes a lightweight and super-breathable helmet for those gloriously sunny days when you need plenty of ventilation to keep cool. And of course, it gives you the protection your noggin deserves. Check out the Crag Sender MIPS for a low-profile helmet that’s great for skiing and rock climbing.


Why yes, we did save the most fun piece of gear for last. The Julbo Cham sunnies have that classic mountaineering look paired with modern-day features like polarized lenses to make sure the sun’s glare never cramps your style or ruins a ski day. Their top-notch shock resistance means you don’t need to worry about dropping these puppies or crushing them in your backpack, but they look so good you’ll probably end up wearing them all day anyway. 

Julbo Sunglasses


Katherine Englishman


Kat is freelance writer with a focus on outdoor travel, design, and sustainability, She is an avid skier, hiker, surfer and passionate yoga teacher who will take any excuse to have an adventure and call it work. She lives in beautiful coastal Maine with her husband and three-legged dog. We are glad to have her as part of the Wagner family.