Once upon a time, before there were ski resorts and pistes, there was only one kind of gear: backcountry. It is what our grand parents skied on. Since then ski, and since the 1970s, snowboard gear has become increasing diverse and specialised. With wide and shaped skis it is possible to identify five broad currents in the off-piste ski market. Ski touring, FreeRando, Freeride, Backcountry Freestyle and Telemark. Boots and bindings can also be sub-divided into pure alpine downhill, FreeRando and Ski Touring with Freestyle and Freeride disciplines using the same equipment as downhill.

Ski equipment should be complemented with good clothing and a backpack adapted for the backcountry, avalanche search, rescue and safety gear and camping equipment for multi-day tours.