You’re skiing or snowboarding at a resort, riding lifts, but the groomers have been totally carved up and even the off-piste snow in the trees is hash. So the only remaining option for finding untracked powder is to go where most skiers and riders don’t go: to the slopes not served by lifts, where you have to climb uphill under your own power. For that, you’ll need a lightweight, compact backcountry snow pack—one that has enough space for your safety gear but isn’t too cumbersome to wear while lift-served skiing. A pack like the Reverb 18.
I really liked this streamlined pack for days of riding lifts at my local resort to access the adjacent backcountry, and for carrying a little food and water on days of just skiing the inbounds terrain at a couple of Idaho resorts with my kids. The slender dimensions of the pack made it virtually unnoticeable on my back when riding lifts or telemark skiing in- or out-of-bounds—even stuffed full, it bulges out only about six inches, so I never removed it for riding lifts, and it hugged me tightly when cruising downhill. Dual zippers the full length of the Reverb 18 open the back panel to access the main compartment and the zippered hydration sleeve, so you can lay it down to keep snow out and get at the contents even when carrying skis or a snowboard.