Alright, this was certainly more productive than the same thread started on TGR. I appreciate everyone's thoughtfulness.
As Wooley12 caught onto, I have experience as a guide. I actually make a living from skiing all-year round. A lot of this work is a guide. HOWEVER, it wasn't a quiz in the sense of looking to see if anyone has the "correct" answer. It was more of a poll. I am genuinely curious about people's thoughts and trying to make backcountry skiing education more accessible. I could list my "kit" for every situation, but who cares? It is the passionate, recreation skier that matters while creating backcountry skiing education opportunities.
I couldn't agree with Tromano more. But I see many people in the backcountry without these abilities. That is exactly why I started the thread.
BobLee, thanks for the book recommendations. I have read all of them, and continue to reference them regularly. Tremper's book is my first recommendation.
I didn't consider clothing because from my experience, this is the one area that most people tend to overdue. I think people really love their new clothes every year, but often slack on upgrading in the safety department. But it is certainly a valid point.
I have mixed feelings on stating a partner is required. Actually, I cannot make this statement in good conscience because I often go into the mountains alone. But I understand the implications of this choice. I am presently in Bariloche, Argentina to do a four day solo traverse in the area. Tomorrow will be totally blue-bird and a fantastic day for skiing. But because I will be alone for four days, I need to spend tomorrow getting my ducks in a row. I would love to race out there tomorrow and enjoy the day. But good decisions often start at home. This could be a whole new thread.
Airbags and Avalungs could be a thread as well. But as a starting guideline, I wonder what people think of this idea: the faster you will be moving through the mountains, the more protective the gear needs to be. If we take heli-ski operators as examples, there is a rapid-growth of airbag use. It will be 100% very soon. With a helicopter the decisions come so quickly that mistakes are made, and the airbag is proven to save lives. In Europe the airbag is a little less ubiquitous, but still prevalent. I think this is in keeping with the speed of travel and the complexity of terrain. Then you have ski touring and backcountry skiing, where if there is only a couple of runs or so, then good decision making will probably take precedence over gear. That said, if you regularly ski in a touchy snowpack, or like to push your limits, then an Avalung aids a margin of safety for only a little more weight.
There's a lot to think about! Thanks for all the input!