SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Special boots, bindings, skis and skins for backcountry skiing are among the hottest items this week at the world's largest outdoor retail show in Salt Lake City.
Many of the leading outdoor retailers now feature specific lines of gear for skiers and snowboarders who participate in what the industry calls "alpine touring."
The equipment allows them to lift their ski boots up and down in a walking motion to go up the hill, then lock in the boot to ski down normally.
Research from SnowSports Industries America shows that estimated 7.6 million skiers and snowboarders ventured into the backcountry in 2014. That's up 70 percent from 2009/10 ski season.
The $32 million in sales of alpine touring boots, bindings and skis last season marked a 5 percent increase from the year before.