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Testers’ Choice: Shaggy Bailey’s Picks

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-magazine-september-2016-coverBackcountry September 2016
2017 Gear Guide

More than 100 skis, splitboards, boots and bindings reviewed, rated and recommended.

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AGE 44
6 feet, 165 lbs.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, COLO.

CURRENT SETUP
Line Sir Francis Bacon skis, Scarpa T-Race boots, 22 Designs AXL bindings

GEAR PREFERENCE
“I don’t get too jammed up about how heavy my backcountry rig is—weight takes a backseat to downhill performance. If you want to save a few pounds, skip the all-you-can-eat buffet the night before.”

TERRAIN PREFERENCE
“The perfect run includes steeps, wide-open bowls, trees and maybe a couple drops.”

Völkl 100Eight

$825 – volkl.com | SIZES (cm): 173, 181, 189 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 141/108/124| WEIGHT/PAIR: 8.8 lbs. (181) | LENGTH TESTED: 181 cm

Despite trimming away a substantial amount of heft, this plank still possesses that buttery Völkl flex. Absolutely dependable in all conditions. This ski is a purpose-built descender that still lets you crush your buddies uphill. It is the perfect ski for anyone who is shopping for the no-brainer backcountry ski. —Shaggy Bailey

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Available at Outdoor Gear Exchange

Buy Now »


Voilé Supercharger

$695 – voile.com | SIZES (cm): 171, 178, 185 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 140/106/124 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 7.2 lbs. (178) | LENGTH TESTED: 178 cm

At the risk of sounding like a broken record—Voilé. Did. It. Again. This is a nearly perfect mélange of float, dampness, versatility and tourability. Perfect for anyone wanting a tourable foot-rocket that's made in America for more than a fair price. —Shaggy Bailey

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Available at Outdoor Gear Exchange

Buy Now »


Black Crows Corvus Freebird

$800  black-crows.com | SIZES (cm): 1175, 183 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 139/109/122 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 7.9 lbs. (175) | LENGTH TESTED: 183 cm

This ski is as smooth, powerful and damp as a Zamboni. Get on, click in and hold on—this stick rips! This ski is optimal for the skier willing to slug a slightly heftier tool into the backcountry in order to maximize the downhill fun. —Shaggy Bailey

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Pick up a copy of the 2017 Backcountry Gear Guide today


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