Gear for the Steeps

The essential items for skiing steep terrain, from a self-arresting tool to a helmet to a ski-tuning kit.
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Steeps Gear

 1. Nutcase Tattoo Olive Helmet
Head protection is essential for steep skiing. This one, made by a former Nike designer, defends your melon from impacts and has 11 vents to keep you from overheating. [$85;]

 2. Black Diamond Whippet Self-Arrest Pole
Swap out one of your regular poles for this combination ice ax and ski pole. Use it to claw your way onto the icy entry of a slope or self-arrest if you fall. Just be careful not to stab yourself in the process. [$100;]

 3. Dakine Deluxe Tune kit
Sharp edges will help give you grip on steeps. Take your skis to a shop, or tune them yourself with the Deluxe Tune kit, which comes with a file, pocket stone, wax, scraper, brush, P-tex, and a handy booklet to show you how to use it all. [$45;]

 4. Rossignol Harness Pant
Wearing a harness is a required hassle when skiing in high-alpine environments that may involve crevasse rescue, roped traverses, or rappels. We like Rossignol’s Harness Pant, which integrates a mountaineering harness into the waist area. [$300;]

 5. Line Mothership
At 111 millimeters underfoot, the Mothership is Line’s flagship big-mountain ski—perfect for Alaskan-style steeps. Our testers liked its tenacious edge bite and floaty width. [$925;]

 6. Swany Bad Boy Glove
This waterproof leather glove has molded knuckles and a layer of insulation to protect your hands if you drag them on steeps. And the cuff cinches tight to keep out snow. [$125;]


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12 Cheap Skis

We asked manufacturers to make the case for their best low-cost, high-performance models. As you read, keep in mind that the prices listed are suggested retail prices. Shop around and you’ll likely find these skis for a couple hundred bucks less than what’s listed.