Required Equipment and Rules

Ski Mountaineering racing is governed in Canada by Ski Mountaineering Competition Canada (SMCC) as a part of the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC). The Darkside Skimo race will follow all SMCC and international Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) rules including those for required equipment. We have outlined the pertinent rules below but for more, visit the ISMF website.


  • 1pr backcountry skis or splitboard – must have metal edges and a binding system that allows the heels to unlock for uphill travel and to lock down for descent (tele bindings are exempt). Cross country skis are not allowed. 
  • 1pr ski touring bindings – either a frame or pin-tech binding system that allows the heel to be secured for descent OR Telemark bindings.
  • 1pr backcountry ski boots
  • 1pr ski touring poles
  • 1pr. climbing skins – for athletes without tail fixation on their skins, minimum two pairs recommend.
  • Backpack that allows skis or board to be secured during bootpacking.
  • Helmet – must be worn at all times during the event.
  • Gloves – gloves must be worn at all times during the event.
  • 3 pieces of upper body clothing (1 must be wind stopping material – can be carried in the pack)
  • 4th piece upper body clothing – must be waterproof/goretex and can be carried in the pack.
  • 2 pieces of lower body clothing (1 must be wind stopping material)
  • 3-Antenna avalanche beacon – must be worn on your body in it’s protective case or in pocket in a non-removable layer (racing suit) with a zipper. CANNOT be stored in the pack. Must be on throughout the entire race. Beacons will be checked at the start and finish line. A beacon that is turned off at any point in the race will result in disqualification.
  • Avalanche probe – 240cm.
  • Avalanche shovel (ISMF approved).
  • Whistle
  • Hat, headband, or buff
  • Reflective foil emergency blanket

Racers are also recommended to carry: sufficient food/water to complete the course, extra skins, extra gloves.

Depending on weather conditions, race directors reserve the right to require athletes carry an additional puffy jacket and pants.

* As of April 3rd – boot crampons NOT REQUIRED.*


  • Racers must render aid to any other athlete who is in distress. If you see someone crash, it is your responsibility to ensure they are alright. If someone needs assistance, you must provide help either by staying with that athlete or skiing to the nearest checkpoint to inform race staff. This is basic mountain etiquette. If this affects the outcome of the race, results will be amended to reflect it. 
  • You must stay on the course by following the course markings. If you do not see course markings, you must return to the course! 
  • Green course marking indicate uphill on skins.
  • Yellow course markings indicate uphill (or downhill) using a bootpack with skis fixed to the backpack. You must fix the skis to the pack during a bootpack. It is not permitted to carry them in hand.
  • Red course markings indicate downhill on skis. 
  • You must transition within the marked transition zone (usually manned by a volunteer). Poles must be placed on the ground before removing any equipment and should only be picked up when the transition is complete.