The beginning of a season always raises a multitude of questions.
- Are lift lines going to be twice as long?
- Is the snow going to be knee deep or neck deep?
- Will Alta ever allow snowboarders?
All important questions. All with uncertain answers. But one thing is certain: there will be snow, and you’re going to ski, so instead of fussing with the resort pandemonium, maybe it’s time to venture into the backcountry.
Getting started in the backcountry is simple, and you can do it comfortably and easily with a few key pieces of gear. There’s the obvious ones like a reliable pair of skis, alpine touring bindings, and boots with a walk mode that’s more than just something for après. And there are the less obvious ones that are just as essential. Here’s the rundown.
HELMET: JULBO PEAK
First things first, when you’re in the backcountry there’s no ski patrol. You have to rely on yourself and your ski partners. Everything you do has to be evaluated and safety always comes first. That means take an avalanche class and look at your local avalanche forecast. Always carry a beacon, shovel and probe, and any time you venture into spicy terrain, strap on a reliable helmet.
The Peak is as reliable as helmets come. It’s a dual certified skiing and mountaineering helmet that’s lightweight, well ventilated and comfortable. Remove the ear pads on hot days, easily take the Peak on or off while wearing gloves with the magnetic strap, and ski or mountaineer (or both) with the comfort of knowing your head is well protected.
SUNGLASSES: JULBO FURY
If you’ve been around snow for any period of time, you know how bright it can be. Winter sunburns are real. Pure white snow reflects so much light that without the proper eye protection it’s not only nearly impossible to see, but you also risk snow blindness. Eye protection doesn't get much better than the Fury.
The Fury is big, striking and made for high-output activities. The frame wraps around on the sides to block out sun from all angles, and its lightweight build is barely noticeable while wearing them all day. Perhaps more importantly, the lenses are bookended by high-airflow vents, so even while bootpacking up a steep couloir on a hot day, your Furys won't fog. Save some money and get them in with the reliable Spectron lens, or go all in with the REACTIV Photochromic lens allowing the tint to adjust from clear to dark as the lighting changes.
GOGGLES: JULBO AEROSPACE
Sunglasses are necessary on the way up, but a good pair of goggles can’t be beat on the way down. The Aerospace is a damn good goggle, built without compromise for backcountry users. Just like the Fury, the lens is built with REACTIV photochromic technology — no more worrying about switching lenses as lighting conditions change. The wide field of view and spherical screen mean the frame is never in your way when looking for curves and obstacles in the woods, and the Super Flow System ensures you can see in all conditions.
For windy and stormy days, or when ripping laps without changing your eyewear everytime you start going up, the Aerospace’s Super Flow System allows the lense to pop slightly forward, creating air channels that will keep you from overheating, and will guarantee your goggles don’t fog up. There’s also an Over The Glasses (OTG) version and the more budget friendly Airflux, so every backcountry enthusiast can take advantage of the unique design.
Between the Peak helmet, Fury glasses and Aerospace goggles, along with a reliable backpack, avalanche safety gear, an AT or splitboard setup and a few snacks, you’re ready to take on anything the backcountry can throw at you. If you’re just getting into it, start small with some local low-angle slopes and glades, if you’re an expert venture further than you have before to new mountains and steep faces. No matter what you’re taking on, you can be sure that any Julbo gear you’re bringing will perform admirably, and if anything goes wrong, there’s the lifetime warranty backing your gear up.
The 120-year-old Julbo brand is built on a rich history in alpine-mountaineering, high-altitude, and glacier exploration optics. Including those using prescription eyewear, they have been at the forefront of optical and action sports equipment for the mainstream athlete. From its headquarters high in the Jura Mountains of France, where the company was founded in 1888, three generations have directed Julbo’s evolution from a manufacturer of corrective lenses to a global producer of protective eyewear for all active outdoor pursuits.
Jules Baud, the founder of Julbo began when Crystal hunters, those earning a living by looking for crystals, asked Baud to develop sunglasses to help them better explore the Chamonix Valley. This mountaineering profession has existed since prehistoric times, but it was innovators like Baud who helped set the path for modern mountaineering tech with features like side shields, a horseshoe shape, and lenses made from tinted materials like smoky quartz.
Today, Julbo is an emerging multi-sport eyewear company that makes eyewear for elite outdoor athletes as well as mainstream users. Julbo is fully committed to creating a line of sunglasses with world-renowned optical quality melded with a bold sense of style.
Julbo has also developed a line of affordable, durable, 100-percent UV protective sunglasses for children. Julbo applies the same technology and innovation to its children’s line that it uses to make eyewear for mountain climbers, sailors, and other athletes.