1. All ski pants shall be black.
2. All vehicles shall be AWD or 4×4.
3. Beacons shall never check below 75% battery power. Whip out your transceiver for a rescue in cold temps, immediately lose a huge amount of battery power. Then switch to receive and suck up the remainder. Next, throw away your bricked beacon and start probing way too late to save a life. In other words, keep batteries fresh.
4. During summer, climbing skins shall be stored in freezer, with release strips. If you freezer is full of frozen peas and smoothie bananas, at least store in the dark at cool temperatures.
5. Avalanche airbag backpack shall (nearly) always be worn. Just like clipping the seatbelt in your truck. BUT, know that somewhere around 11% of folks with airbags, caught in avalanches, fail to trigger their balloon. Practice! If necessary rig an easy-pull system using some webbing or cord.
6. A thermos bottle with hot drink shall always be carried. Place this at number 1 if wives or girlfriends are involved. Sexist, yes, but reality is reality and payback is real.
7. Goggles shall be remembered. Even for sunny nice days. Wind happens; gravel and ice chunks are not appreciated by your corneas. Hint: If you find you tend to keep your goggles in your rucksack most of the time, shop around for lower volume “low profile” versions or junior size (but always with double lens to prevent fogging).
8. Beacons shall be switched on when put on. But check anyway.
9. Weather and avalanche forecast shall always be checked. Makes for better conversation during the drive than your choice in quickstop burritos.
10. Socks shall always be wool. I’ve tried it all. Wool is always better.
11. With due respect to spiritual teachers of yore, the golden rule actually works pretty well for ski touring life. Yes, it does go to ELEVEN, commentators, your commandments?
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.