Whether you call it sidecountry or slackcountry, the value of resort-based backcountry skiing is obvious: wild snow, untracked lines and a new, deeper relationship with the snowy mountains. And it’s all the rage. Fast and quick forays into the deep end of nature’s snowy pool have a unique draw that doesn’t exist inbounds at most resorts. And for those who learn to swim, the rewards are worth it.
Several companies know this, and are making sleek, streamlined packs that are designed to carry essential avalanche equipment (beacon, shovel, probe) along with skis or snowboard, and still offer a little spare room to bring an extra layer, water and some sundries. Their low-profile design also makes them ideal for wearing onto chairlifts.
Osprey’s designers spend a lot of time making packs that surpass expectations, and the Karve 16 provides ample proof of that. A comfy, thermo-sculpted back panel sheds unwanted snow, while diagonal lateral compression straps snugly hug the pack close to your body for an optimal skiing experience. The trim waist strap distributes the load equally over the hips for maximum comfort and dexterity, and external sleeves make use of limited material for quickly accessing the shovel handle and probe. A fully insulated sleeve keeps your hydration hose working on the coldest of days.