Gear List FAQ's

Over the years our required gear list has evolved to a fairly simple and understandable list. The theory behind this list is simple: you and your teammate need to have the ability to survive any normal backcountry emergency that would force you to be outside for 24 hours. Although we have an amazing crew of very hard working volunteers out on the course, we can't keep track of all 250 of you spread out over 40 miles. If you get lost or hurt, it could be some time before we locate you. This is why we advertise that is an "extreme backcountry race" - you're on your own after you leave Crested Butte. So the gear list is not a punitive effort on our part to make you carry more than you think you need. It has been developed and modified over the years to best ensure your safety and comfort in the event that the unexpected happens.

These are some of the most common questions I receive regarding the gear list.

What skis should/can I use?
All skis are legal (no snowboards, no bikes, please). And people have used everything from straight skate gear to full Alpine Touring gear. We strongly recommend a ski with at least a three-quarter length metal edge. This will allow the control that could be critical to your survival as you speed across the icy, refrozen junk that you will certainly encounter. Most people find AT and Tele gear to be overkill.

Do I really need to carry a spare binding?
Yes. All racers must have a spare binding no matter what skis you choose. There are no exceptions. The "no exceptions" rule even includes those of you who are racing on Tele or AT gear.

Can we share a spare binding with our partner?
Yes, but only if you have the exact same binding and boot combination. NNN and SNS cannot be interchanged.

Are Snow Claw avalanche tools acceptable substitutes for the required shovel?

Can I use my long Nordic pole instead of carrying an avalanche probe?
No. Only "probe specific" ski poles (like those from Black Diamond and Life-Link) are acceptable as probes.

How will I know if the judges will accept what I am bringing?
There are two ways: 1) feel free to email [email protected] and ask and 2) there will be a station at registration before the final gear check where you can get your stuff "previewed/pre-judged." If you are uncertain, we recommend bringing an alternative that you know will pass muster, so that you aren't scrambling for critical gear just moments before the gear check.


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P.O. Box 1349
Crested Butte, CO 81224-1349
[email protected]