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2017 Testers’ Choice: Christine Raymond’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 50
5 feet 2 INCHES, 125 lbs.

Bozeman, Mont.

CURRENT SETUP
Voile Drifter skis, Dynafit TLT6 boots, Dynafit TLT Classic bindings

GEAR PREFERENCE
“I like something lightweight with enough surface area to keep me aloft in the powder and [that] releases the turn when told; stiff enough to hold an edge but soft enough to be active. I focus on the width underfoot to balance float and responsiveness”

Volkl VTA 88 Lite

$1,065 – volkl.com | SIZES (cm): 160, 170, 180 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 127/88/106 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 4.6 lbs. (170) | LENGTH TESTED: 170 cm

I would spend money on these. Lightweight and responsive, these skis have good all-around versatility; you can take them anywhere. I would be happy on a full-day backcountry climb and descent or take them to a fast-paced sidecountry day with friends. I could focus on the terrain, and the skis would do as I asked. The VTA 88 is a true mountain companion. —Christine

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La Sportiva Vapor Float

$1,299sportiva.com | SIZES (cm): 166, 178, 189 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 140/117/128 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 6.2 lbs. (178) | LENGTH TESTED: 166 cm

If great backcountry skis were music to my ears, the Vapor Floats would be a symphony. This lightweight ski is ideal for the climb. They were responsive and had harmonic turns in the powder. In variable conditions, a simple pressing on the ski had me cutting through masterfully. —Christine

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DPS Wailer 106 Tour1

$999  dpsskis.com | SIZES (cm): 168, 178, 185 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 135/106/122 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 6 lbs. (178) | LENGTH TESTED: 168 cm

These skis prefer the steeps, medium-to long-radius turns and are easy for pushing up the skintrack and sidehilling for their width. They are all business. —Christine

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Available at Outdoor Gear Exchange

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