2015 Gear Test Week Dispatch: Day Zero

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Backcountry Magazine’s Gear Test Week, our annual pilgrimage to Powder Mountain, Utah, kicks off tomorrow. More than 40 testers will evaluate some 200-plus skis and 100 AT and telemark boots for five days to create next fall’s 2015 Gear Guide. Here’s how the first day unfolded.

Testers’ Choice: DPS Wailer 99

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A five-year ski tester, Marla Bailey has teled exclusively for 12 years since her start in Winter Park’s “No Pain, No Jane” bumps. She enjoys skiing what she calls “balls-deep powder, knee-deep powder and piles of powder from other people’s knees or balls.” Her pick of the test? The DPS Wailer 99.

The Future Of Telemark? TwentyTwo Designs’ New NTN Binding

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Is telemark dying? Chris Valiante and the binding builders at TwentyTwo Designs say no chance. That’s why they recently announced a licensing agreement with Rottefella in order to build their own NTN bindings. New NTN options from TwentyTwo may not be available for at least another year, but the Driggs, Idaho-based company was offering a […]

What’s Next: 2015 Gear Primer

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Last week was the annual Winter Outdoor Retailer trade show, the Consumer Electronic Show for outdoor nuts. And the only thing more glaring than the convention center’s fluorescent lights was the prevalence of backcountry gear. Here are a few highlights.

Testers’ Choice: Atomic Charter

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Jay Prentiss has eight years of racing, 18 years of touring and six years of ski testing experience—plus a first descent of the East Face of Pyramid Peak, Colorado. He skis between 60 and 100 days, and spends down days surfing, mountain biking or sipping tea. His pick of the test? The Atomic Charter.

Testers’ Choice: Voilé V8

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Gregg Davis has skied 100-plus days for the last 21 years and has tested skis for the past six. His home in the Wasatch Mountains offers powder, chutes and spring corn, all of which Gregg is down to hike for. His pick of the test? The Voilé V8.

Testers’ Choice: G3 Empress 115

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A Nordic ski racer, Holly Howard picked up telemark skiing in college. She recently added an AT setup into the mix. Holly favors low-angle powder and trees, and enjoys making smooth, graceful telemark turns. Her pick of the test? The G3 Empress 115.

Testers’ Choice: DPS Lotus 120

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Elliot Dale’s spirit animal is a mountain goat. Why? Because mountain goats don’t ride chairlifts. Elliot, a second-year tester, tours for all his turns, skiing 30 backcountry days annually and prefers steep powder and trees. His pick of the test? The DPS Lotus 120.

Tried & New: Black Diamond Glidelite Mohair Mix STS Skins

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If you’re the engine of your bc rig, then your skins are the driveshaft: they’re not sexy—at all—and they’re hidden under the prettier bits, but you ain’t going anywhere without ’em. And Black Diamond’s Mohair Mix is my go-to pair.

Testers’ Choice: Dynastar Cham 107 W’s

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Becca started her ski-testing career back in 2003 when the Gear Test Week lodging was at an Alpaca Farm in Vermont. She has met Glen Plake twice, drank tea at Warren Miller’s house and winked at Scot Schmidt. Her pick of the test? The Dynastar Cham 107 W’s.

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