Q&A: What’s in Jeff’s gear closet?
Oh, so many things.
“Closet” in this case is most of a room in our house, but also a catch-all for the clusters and piles, bins and racks and shelves and whatever is hanging out in the entry way, or drying out in front of the wood stove.
He keeps his stuff tight, but when you’ve spent forty years chasing great times in the great outdoors, on rivers, rock, snow and ice, and it’s your job – well, pieces of gear, they accumulate.
Focusing on snow for this rundown, here’s Jeff’s current faves and regulars for hard gear and outerwear, plus the essentials for a guide’s pack (much of which we hope all backcountry skiers see fit to carry).
Full disclosure: We’re partnered with Helly Hansen and Blizzard/Tecnica for our professional gear, but all the recommendations below are real and authentic. Really. We don’t get any kick backs to say this. It’s just stuff that has stood the test and is still being loved and used all the time.
The neon orange one-piece that you may have seen in photos or in person is no more. Well, just the neon part. The Ullr Chugach Powder Suit lives! And, is still the shit, according to Jeff. For cold days at the resort, or when the pow is blowing due to heli or face shots, a one-piece is the one-way ticket to warm and dry.
When being able to switch up the layering is more important, his go-to is Helly Hansen’s Odin 9 Worlds 2.0 Shell Jacket and Sogn Bib Pant. The jacket wins with a trim fit that can climb as well as it skis, bomber GORE-Tex protection and generous, well thought-out pockets (a rarity).
The bibs do a great job of keeping out the snow, add more exterior pockets (never too many) and still keeps it easy to switch up layers when needed.
For insulation, Jeff can’t find anything wrong with HH’s Odin Stretch Hooded Insulator. It’s super warm for its weight, AND stretchy, so you barely notice it’s there. You’re just warmer. Synthetic insulation means no worries about moisture or packing out. He wears it under his shell if it’s really foul out, or it works as an outer layer solo on cold days, whether you’re perched on a peak or walking the dog.
bonus points: how many helmets can you count?
One plank or two
THE ALL ROUNDER: Blizzard’s Bodacious in a 185cm (no longer being made, dang) with Kingpin bindings. It’s the oldest setup in his current fleet, but he won’t be letting them go anytime soon. They’re fat, super stiff skis designed for going fast and hucking airs in deep powder – they stand up to high speeds and hard landings. When he’s not too worried about weight, they’re the regular touring choice for yo-yo laps.
THE WORK HORSE: Rustler 11’s in a 192cm with Salomon Warden 13’s. They were the ski of choice for Blizzard’s FWT team athletes, and they’ve proven themselves over and over in our office as a reliable, super fun powder ski that combines a friendly shape and great performance. This is what Jeff heli-skis on, and it’s our main rental choice.
THE ENDURO: The Zero G 108 (the newest version is a 105, same diff) in a 185cm with Dynafit TLT’s. It’s the do-everything touring ski when weight is more of a concern. It can handle anything from corn to deep powder with playful style (Rudi LOVES these), and is the choice for longer days or several uphill days in a row.
THE HOT TAMALE: For those missions where your skis ride on your pack more than you ride on them, the Zero G 095 in a 178cm with Dynafit TLT’s. It’s the ski of choice for spicy terrain: steep, icy chutes where nimble edge control is more important than float. The “sounds-weird-but-totally-a-thing” summer ski.
And when a snowboard is called for, he brings out the Never Summer Summit in a 172cm: big, surfy, all the float.
His everyday boot for five years straight, Jeff is a long-time fan of the Tecnica Cochise 130. For heli-skiing, resort skiing, or yo-yo ski touring, they’re not the lightest, but they’re stiff and ski like a hot damn. End of story.
For straight up touring missions, the lighter, touring specific Zero G Tour Pro is the choice when every gram on his foot matters. Light but still stiff, they’re definitely designed to walk, but they ski better than average given their weight. Not recommended for the ski hill or hucking your age.
Here’s where a bunch of the “closet” gets compressed into what comes along for the ride. Because safe travel in the backcountry means being prepared for the unexpected, not just a snack attack.
Jeff’s uses HH’s Ullr pack as a daypack for heli-skiing, and it carries:
Safety stuff >> shovel and probe, a rescue tarp (doubles as shelter or improvised toboggan), standard first aid kit, inReach satellite spot beacon, waterproof fire starter kit, small titanium pot for melting snow.
Guide stuff >> handheld radio, snow/timber saw, Colltex climbing skins, snow study kit (thermometer, magnifying glass, crystal screen).
Glacier stuff >> small crevasse rescue kit (Petzl rad kit), one 21cm ice screw.
Extra stuff >> extra mitts and toque, extra hooded puffy jacket, hot packs, sunscreen, extra ski strap (cause you can fix almost anything with a ski strap, true story).
When it’s time to go skiing (really, when is it not?), the above is what makes the most regular appearance (and spends the most time being tripped over in our entrance). If you’re wondering more about gear that’s the right match for heli-skiing, check out our gear guide here.
FREE stuff that’ll make you smarter, happier and better-looking (well, the last one might be a stretch).
Click on the image below to grab it.