Tech Tip: Sidewalls, Cap or Both?

There are three basic ski constructions: sidewall, cap or hybrid. On a ski built using standard sidewall construction—also called sandwich construction—the space between the ski’s metal edge and topsheet is sealed with a near-vertical “wall” of ABS plastic, which equates to torsional stiffness, durability and improved edge grip. The downsides? Weight and cost.

Testers’ Choice: Atomic Automatic 109

Tester Matt Kiedaisch likes tree lines in the woods of Vermont—but he enjoys letting his skis open up when he gets the chance. He says of his backcountry goals, “I don’t mind climbing, but it’s not why I’m out there. Solid performance on the ride down is what makes me happy.”

Tech Tip: kid ready bindings and skis

There are endless rockered and lightweight ski options for adults, but what’s on the market for youth rippers? Not much, but a few brands offer small big-mountain skis, and there’s a new youth AT binding available.

Category Killers: Middle-weight boots

These backcountry-focused boots balance weight and power for a smooth climb up and stable ride down. Lightweight yet stable, they might not be a one-quiver boot but they come close.

Testers’ Choice: Movement Trust 108

Tester Miles Kochalka loves to be in the woods skiing untracked lines around Smugglers’ Notch, Vt. And if he is not shredding treed lines, he is happy anywhere else with snow, so long as he has skis on his feet. He looks for well-rounded skis and that is what he found in the Movement Trust 108.

Tech Tip: Scarpa F1 Evo, Evo-lution or devolution?

In early February 2015, SCARPA issued a voluntary recall on their F1 Evo boot, a 2015 Editors’ Choice winner, after less than a year of retail availability. The AT boot’s patented “Tronic System” automatically switched from walk to ski mode when locked into a pin-tech binding, but problems arose when the mechanism unexpectedly switched back to walk mode while skiing.

Category Killers: Female Favorites

The lady testers have spoken and mid-fat skis are their tool of choice this coming winter. While not exclusively women’s specific, these skis offered up stability and mobility that impressed the women who took them for a spin.

Testers’ Choice: Dynafit Hokkaido

Steep and deep—that’s what tester Jason Layh wants to ski. He doesn’t mind a slightly heavier ski if it means better performance all around. To him “form and function need to be complimentary.” Here is his review of the Dynafit Hokkaido.

Category Killers: Quiver of One

Every skier is in search of a unicorn—the ski that can do it all. Our testers have chosen these four skis for their power inbounds and out—balancing weight and performance with all-conditions versatility.

Tech Tip: Five-Point Sidecut, Defined

A ski of traditional profile is widest at the tip, narrow underfoot and wide again at the tail. Five-point sidecut re-envisions that shape, moving the ski’s widest points closer to the binding so the shape tapers—or becomes narrower—at the tip and tail.