Employee Gear Closet: Josh Rhea, Direct Marketing Manager
He’s a gear-loving powderhound who’s mastered the art of the written word.by Peter Barrett and Jackie Baker
Josh Rhea is our manager of Direct Marketing. This ski-fanatic oversees the catalog that arrives at your house eight times a year, full of the latest and greatest backcountry gear. Josh is such a gear freak that when we asked him to tell us about his backcountry skiing setup, he threw down a virtual novella discussing 15 different products. We picked the top five to share with you. Josh has been an employee since 2003 when he worked as one of our original content writers. Before joining Backcountry.com, he worked as an intern and online editor for Powder magazine. He has also been published in Powder, Backcountry magazine, and Ski Press. His favorite outdoor pursuits are alpine skiing, backcountry touring, and mountain biking. Last season Josh logged his first day of touring on October 21 at Alta, UT. If the snow gods are kind, he may be making turns as you read this article. Josh ski tours from resorts such as Snowbird, Alta, and The Canyons, and he loves full-day mountaineering-style suffer-fests. No matter where he’s going, he travels prepared with the following items. Josh tells us why he’s chosen to rely on these important pieces of gear: BCA Tracker DTS Beacon: It is just the easiest-to-use beacon I could find. Other beacons may have longer ranges, but honestly I don’t get to practice test burials as much as I should, so the easier the better. Ortovox 240cm Lite Probe: It’s fairly light, assembles quickly, and has easy-to-read depth markings. Voile Telepro Shovel: I use this shovel with my longer-touring setup. It’s large and extremely burly. It can dig through some seriously set up snow, so I rely on it when in any doubt about avie conditions—plus it rules for kicker building. Ascension Nylon Standard Skins: They’re trimmed to fit my fatty 182cm Line Mothership skis. I’ve never had a problem with these skins losing adhesion to the ski (even without a tail clip), and they’re like tractor treads going uphill. They’re not the lightest skins out there, but they’re definitely the most reliable. Fritschi Freeride Bindings: These touring bindings have a high DIN rating and the option to add return springs. I tried Naxos, but I’m just not good at getting around switchbacks or sidestepping uphill without a return spring, so the Freeride was the natural choice.