Ski gear is a matter of taste for resort skiers, but it becomes a matter of life and death for back country skiers. As a resort skier, you have a company of highly trained professionals seeking to ensure that your day on the slopes is as safe as possible. Now that won’t help much if you decide to ski outside your abilities, however it means that dangers such as avalanches aren’t one of the things you have to worry about.
For the resort skier, your ski gear will probably consist of a coat, snow pants, a hat, gloves, and of course boots, poles, and bindings. Goggles or sun glasses are recommended, but which you take is a matter of personal preference. The danger is minimal, because you just can’t get that far from other human beings within the confines of a ski resort.
For a back country skier however, the odds are good that you will be miles away from the nearest person who isn’t in your ski party. (you should never back country ski alone) This means your party must not only be equipped to handle skiing, but also prepared to respond to any emergencies that could arise during the course of your trip. The most deadly of these emergencies is an avalanche. As such back country ski gear should include things like helmets, first aid kits, and avalanche transmitters. It’s not just a matter of convenience; it’s the difference between going home and being buried by the mountain.