Up here at 9,000-plus feet, the air is a little thinner and the mountains are a little gnarlier. We’ve been running our annual snowboard test at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) and in the surrounding backcountry for the last five years. Here, we have the ultimate testing grounds: the inbounds terrain spans park and pipe to backcountry-esque hike-to bowls and spines, and every level in between. This mountain enables testers to assess a product’s performance and durability, while also challenging themselves by taking product into new and technical terrain.Surrounding Crested Butte Mountain, the Elk Mountains backcountry is simultaneously expansive and awesome—last year we teamed up with CB Mountain Guides for a guided, bluebird pow tour. And this year, CBMR just opened an inbounds area where people can skin for their turns all day long. If it sounds like we’re just riding around all day, hammering out runs and throwing high fives, well, I guess that’s pretty accurate. But every run really is an intensive study in turn-by-turn analysis. Yeah, yeah, sounds pretty dorky, but it all comes naturally once you’re on snow. Just ask our 35-plus testers, who report on well over 150 products—solid decks, splitboards, boots, bindings—and consume boxes of Clif Bars, giant bags of Tater Tots, and cases of Colorado-crafted beer (for after testing, of course). Many thanks to CBMR, Peak Sports, Clif Bar, Smartwool, Point6, Upslope Brewing, all the manufacturers, and, of course, the testers from near and far. You can scope the results in next year’s Backcountry Magazine Gear Guide and Outside Magazine’s Winter Buyer’s Guide.