Pro Tips from the Pro Team

There’s a wide spectrum of meaning when it comes to being “Pro” at something. At Wild Rye, we may consider ourselves professional leisure sport athletes, but when it comes to getting deep in the backcountry, we default to the gals who’ve put countless hours and effort into getting out there in style and safety—our Wild Rye Pro team.

We reached out to these backcountry baddies for tips and tricks they have up their sleeves for not only getting outside in the winter but also thriving outside in the winter. 


We’re here to set you up for success with the tools to build out your very own OS Kit and always be the best prepped gal at the party (or yurt). 

(Note: The Oh Shit Kit is partially a physical packable kit and partially a mental kit/checklist/state of mind. Do with this what you will.)

The Kit Itself 

This kit never leaves your backpack. It lives there. Even on the extra chaotic days when you forget your water and your ski boots, you know you’ll always have these. These are the items you slyly (and a little smugly) pull out when skiing with the dads, knowing they’ll be surprised AND impressed with your packing expertise.

  • Ski straps
  • Leatherman
  • Lighter 
  • Cord
  • Duct tape
  • Fire starter (duct tape or greasy chips work great in a pinch)
  • Tampon
  • Med kit
  • Extra layer (extra socks are also key!)

Hear it from the pros:

Ingrid: Two important items I always have in my “oh shit kit” include a lighter to be able to create warmth in case of a prolonged stay in the woods and multiple ski straps which can be useful for many things including failed skins, splinting, broken boots/bindings. Obviously my “oh shit kit” has a lot more including basic first aid and more repair tools but if I had to pick two items it would be a lighter and ski straps. 


Lucy: Some things you should never leave out of your kit are:

  1. fire starter - keeping warm is key! 
  2. tape 
  3. tampon - that time of the month + bloody noses + absorbent padding!

**Safety Tip - Always have an extra warm layer! Keeping warm is a key to survival.

Get Ready with Us: A gal’s guide to layering 

Yes, this really is the most important part. We’ve all heard it a million times but, “be bold, start cold” truly is the move. THAT SAID, up until the literal second you start walking, being bold or cold is NOT the move. Be warm. Be cozy. Be as not bold as you want. Wear ALL the layers and keep warm right up to the wire. I’ll be right there with you.

Because I am certainly not bold and do not like being cold, I’ll let the pros walk you through their tips (and just know that we all have a minor meltdown/crisis every time we walk outside into the snow, you’re in good company).

Emily: I am known to have what some would call a “layering crisis” almost every time I walk out the door. Am I too cold? Am I too hot? It’s always the question. And the answer is always,


But when it comes to venturing onto the skin track, I’ve finally mastered a few techniques that I’m happy to share with you today. 

Here are my 3 top tips for layering while backcountry skiing.

  1. Merino. Always Merino. Merino Wool base layers, like the Wild Rye Hailey half-zip top and Jane bottom, are a powerful duo come dawn patrol missions in the middle of February or climbing up couloirs and harvesting corn in April. Merino will not only wick moisture away from your body but also retain breathability. So your sweaty uphill sufferfest won’t make the epic pow turns down unbearable and frigid cold.

  2. Start Cold. Ugh, it’s my least favorite thing but it’s such a good idea. When you’re throwing on your skins at your car and ensuring you’ve got all the essentials packed for the day (first aid kit, food, water, summit bevy) throw your extra layers into your pack…and that means your puffy. Yes, those first few steps might be cold but once you’re huffing and puffing on that kickturn staircase (who the F set this skintrack?!) you’ll be grateful you’re not dripping sweating and removing layers 5 mins into your walk. Then, when transitioning at the top, throw that puffy over your shell jacket (learned that one from the one and only Cassie herself!) and warm up fast or anytime you take a break on the walk up. “It’s a pro move” says Cassie. And I agree.
  1. Don’t Forget Gloves! It’s the worst when you slip on your skins and sink your bare hand into a post hole of snow up to your elbow. Believe me, I’ve done it more than once. Pack a thin set of gloves to use while walking uphill. I love the micro fleece lined gloves from Wild Rye. They’re thin enough to not be cumbersome and warm enough to keep the tips of my fingers nice and warm. And now when I slip and fall while touring it’s only my ego I have to worry about. 

Nicole: My 3 non-negotiable pieces for a mid winter tour are:

  1. Wild Rye base layer set (insert whichever you want!)
  2. a vest or lightweight synthetic puffy (once the long, warm spring days hit, I’ll swap the mid layer vest for a sun hoodie to add some extra face protection.)
  3. a bigger puffy for longer stops and emergencies. 
  4. Depending on the weather, I’ll throw a shell in there too! 

**Pro-tip: for all day tours, I like to throw a Nona Lite baselayer in my pack that I can toss on when my original one gets sweat-soaked. It’s amazing what a fresh, dry baselayer can do to keep your core warm! 

VIBE CHECK: Tunes for your turns 

By now you probably know that around here vibes are everything. The WR gals are playlist gals and we take our pre/during/post activity music VERY seriously. Pop these on as you enter your playlist-making uphill-walking era.

 Krystin: These are my “pre-tour” tunes since I personally don’t listen to music on the skin track for a few reasons (safety risk of not being in tune with your environment, I like being able to listen to my surroundings and hear the snow/weather, plus I love the sound of nature and use skin track time to allow my brain to process and recover from life) but love listening to music on the drive to the trailhead or ski area parking lot! 

 Ariel: This is my current "High and Dry Squats + Fatbiking" playlist. When life gives you no snow, you make playlists and go fatbiking, amiright?

I LOVE playlists and have way too many fave songs, but this one is a current top contender full of bangers.


It’s like camping, but better: Non-negotiables to bring on your next hut trip

Going on a yurt or hut trip can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before. Heck, it’s intimidating even if you’ve gone on a hundred trips. Packing for a night in the cold, skiing, eating, and having fun is HARD. Doubly so when you’re trying to do it light and keep it to one (modestly sized) backpack. 

A non-exhaustive yurt trip packing list:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Cards
  • Warm cozies (sweater, sweats, extra thick socks)
  • Yurt booties/slippers
  • A book
  • Headlamp
  • Beanie
  • Big puff (doubles as a pillow!)
  • ear plugs (yes, there is always someone who snores like a train)

Hear it from the gals who really know how it’s done:

Alex: Things I can’t live without on my yurt trip (or any trip in general): 

  1. a cozy pair of slippers
  2. an oversized comfy sweater (enter the Danner Pullover!)
  3. my favorite travel mug + Yerba matte (I’m not a coffee gal)
  4. a flask full of good bourbon or reposado tequila 


Nat: I can’t live without my apres booties and hot cocoa on a yurt trip! There’s nothing better than getting cozy by the fire, sipping some hot cocoa, and slipping into warm/comfy shoes after a long day of skiing. 

Extra fun non-essentials to pack if you have space or just love being *that* girl

  • Bubbles
  • Mini disco ball
  • A kite
  • A tiny jar of creamer for your coffee (mini one-serving jam jars are perfect for this)
  • Watercolor paints or other (easily portable) art supplies 
  • Puffy pants


Apres: Why not have some fun after the fun?

It’s not all about going hard. Sometimes, it’s about sitting down, hanging out and sharing stories (oftentimes after you go hard). 

 Alex: I like to switch it up based on the season:

  • In the summer or winter, post epic outdoor activity: a cold long drink or a Skratch Labs spiked Snowmelt
  • My fave cozy cabin winter bev: a whiskey chai or hot toddy. 
  • I will never say no to a crisp glass of sauv blanc. 

 Ariel: I’ll sing it from the rooftops for as long as I live. I love a Spaghett! Miller High Life in glass + a shot of aperol + orange. It’s THE BEST.


Drop a comment or tag us on Instagram to let us know what you always include in your Oh Shit Kit! 

Layer like a pro

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