How to get the most out of gear

There’s no denying it—backcountry gear is expensive. And while touring may offer freedom from purchasing lift tickets or a season’s pass, the cost of a new setup can quickly creep well above $2,000, which isn’t an annual line item in many a skier’s budget.

Make it Count: How to get the most out of travel

There’s a difference between a vacation and a trip. Vacations are stress-free, feet-up affairs spent sipping cocktails in luxury’s lap. Trips are relaxing in a high-paced, flow-state way, filled with activity and energy, often leaving one begging for a vacation by the end. Resort skiers go on vacations to carve corduroy and eat filet; backcountry skiers go on trips to find adventure. And while the latter is easily more rewarding, earning those rewards takes proper planning and preparation. Here’s how to maximize a trip for all it’s worth.

The Friendly Frankenboot: With their new Hoji Pro Tour, Dynafit builds a more accommodating monster

If pro skier Eric Hjorleifson’s first Dynafit boot, the Vulcan, went by the nickname Frankenboot, his newest model, the Hoji Pro Tour, falls more in the image of the hairy, blue Monsters Inc. character Sulley—big, strong and hardworking, but with a friendlier side. Dynafit’s Vulcan, launched in 2012, earned its sobriquet from Hjorleifson’s work cobbling together parts […]

Salomon and Atomic’s new tech/alpine Shift MNC 13 aims to do it all with enhanced safety

Quite simply, the Shift is an alpine binding that becomes a tech binding for the ascent. More specifically, the Shift meets the DIN ISO standards for both tech and alpine—it’s a best-of-both-worlds binding that some skiers may lament because of its lack of specialization while others will offer praise due to its quiver-of-one status.

Light, Not Lame: As construction advances, skis drop weight and keep the fun factor

Lose the weight, keep the performance—it’s an intention that brands have long been striving for. And while finding the pinnacle of ounces saved to oomph retained may be as Sisyphean as skinning in plug boots and Alpine Trekkers, many testers say skis are finally hitting the right performance-to-weight mark. “The lighter, touring-focused skis are getting […]

The Sweet Spot Gets Sweeter: Which underfoot width is best for everything?

Not that long ago, a mid-fat ski meant something in the realm of 85 mm underfoot. Over the last decade, that measurement has swelled as eccentric and experimental skis of exponential girth hit the market. While 85 mm may never again be average, the sweet spot in skis is becoming codified.

Light and Free: Freeride skis catch a weight-saving wave

The Gear Guide used to have an unofficial 10-lb. limit. We wouldn’t consider heavier skis. They flat out would not make the cut, and even the most freeride-focused testers would begrudge those portly profiles. But things have changed.

Finer Points: Five-point sidecut and the art of the taper

Even though antique skis are thought to be completely straight, a hint of sidecut has graced ski design since Norway’s early telemark skiers of the 1880s. The subtle one- to three-millimeter sidecut of old underwent a dramatic advancement in the early ’90s with the boom of turn-centric hourglass-shapes. And all that changed again about a decade back, with the introduction of a new sidecut concept that’s now almost ubiquitous in backcountry skis.

The Old Goats

Between a winding Nordic network, long-distance point-to-point routes that trace the Green Mountains’ spine and ample glades that snake  through tangled birches, the only thing more extensive than Bolton’s offerings is its legacy. And that history—which predates most Northeastern skiing—is as essential to the story of Vermont’s backcountry as Johnson Woolen Mill pants and the motivation to push beyond the underbrush.

Gearbox: With their Procline and X-Alp boots, Arc’teryx and Salomon rethink walk-mode mobility

Certain technologies have a way of interrupting the status quo. Such disrupters are often so simple that consumers wonder why nothing like it existed earlier. They change the way we work and play, often solving a problem we never knew existed. 

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