The Backcountry Magazine Gear Guide is nothing without its testers—a group of 40 skiers who congregate every year at Powder Mountain, Utah to give the coming season’s skis, boots and bindings a thorough shakedown. After completing up to three runs on a given product, each tester fills out a form with numerical scores and detailed insights. Skis are tested, at minimum, eight times; three for boots and bindings. So when it comes time to choose the products covered in the Gear Guide, we’re pulling from a deep well of tester feedback. To shed light on these individuals and their preferred tools, we present our Testers’ Choice profiles and picks.
Backcountry September 2016
2017 Gear Guide
More than 100 skis, splitboards, boots and bindings reviewed, rated and recommended.
5 feet 7 INCHES, 177 lbs.
Black Crows Corvus Freebird skis, modified Dynafit TLT6 boots, Dynafit Speed Radical bindings
“I appreciate my light gear on long tours, but there is peace of mind that comes along with lugging around a frame binding and burly boots, knowing you can get as sendy as you want on the way down.”
Fischer Ranger 98
$750 – fischersports.com | SIZES (cm): 172, 180, 188 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 132/92/122| WEIGHT/PAIR: 7.5 lbs. (180) | LENGTH TESTED: 180 cm
This ski re-coins the term 'Jack of All Trades.' The flex pattern was as precise as Dr. Henry Yu. The Ranger could straight-line through a field of chunder, but was nimble enough to get through low-angle trees. Best for a one-ski quiver or people who want a versatile touring stick. —Kevin
$800– haganskimountaineering.com | SIZES (cm): 160, 168, 176, 184 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 128/88/108 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 5.4 lbs. (176) | LENGTH TESTED: 176 cm
Y ride anything else? Nimble and stable on hardpack. There are certainly recreational applications for this ski. Best for weight weenies looking to tear up midnight groomer laps. —Kevin
Atomic Backland 109 FR
$725 – atomic.com | SIZES (cm): 175, 182, 189 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 134/109/124 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 8.1 lbs. (182) | LENGTH TESTED: 187 cm
The Atomic Backland 109 held its own across the board. Punched above its weight class, without a doubt. If I had never looked down, I never would have known I was skiing a superlight ski. Quick edge to edge and stable at high speeds. Great for blasting pillows with the homies. —Kevin
Pick up a copy of the 2017 Backcountry Gear Guide today