Let’s face it – skiing and snowboarding aren’t cheap, and backcountry snowsports even less so. Summertime is the best time to buy your backcountry kit as typically stores are trying to blow out of whatever inventory they have left from the prior year to make room for the upcoming gear in the fall. If you shop around a bit, and don’t mind the occasional used/demo gear. This is my first take on building out a budget kit for someone getting into the sport or looking to upgrade their gear.
Splitboard – Found these Voile Mojo demos over at Mammothgear.com. Cool little shop staffed by cool people in the eastern Sierra, and the demos come with skins and the universal binding interface – something you don’t get if you buy a Burton or most other splitboards.
Beacon – Pieps Freeride for under $160 at Acmeclimbing.
Probe – Again going to Mammothgear, they’ve got the Ortovox 340 for $50. Not the cheapest probe, and certainly not the lightest, but I’d rather save ounces on non-lifesaving equipment.
For under $800 and a few minutes of interwebbing you’ve got yourself the essentials (reminder: take an avalanche safety class and read up) to get you out of the resort and into the backcountry. It should be noted that I’m not endorsing any of the gear or retailers here, just showing what kind of kit you can put together on the cheap (cheap is relative) in the offseason.