2017 Testers’ Choice: Kevin McCarthy’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.

[Photo] Matt Kiedaisch

[Photo] Matt Kiedaisch

AGE 26
5 feet 7 INCHES, 177 lbs.

Jeffersonville, VT.

Black Crows Corvus Freebird skis, modified Dynafit TLT6 boots, Dynafit Speed Radical bindings

“I appreciate my light gear on long tours, but there is peace of mind that comes along with lugging around a frame binding and burly boots, knowing you can get as sendy as you want on the way down.”


Fischer Ranger 98

$750 – fischersports.com | SIZES (cm): 172, 180, 188 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 132/92/122| WEIGHT/PAIR: 7.5 lbs. (180) | LENGTH TESTED: 180 cm

[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#282828″ text=”#ffffff” width=”90%” align=”left” size=”1″ quote=”This ski re-coins the term ‘Jack of All Trades.’ The flex pattern was as precise as Dr. Henry Yu. The Ranger could straight-line through a field of chunder, but was nimble enough to get through low-angle trees. Best for a one-ski quiver or people who want a versatile touring stick. ” cite=”—Kevin” parallax=”off” direction=”left”]





Available at Outdoor Gear Exchange

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Hagan Y(Wai)-Ride

$800haganskimountaineering.com | SIZES (cm): 160, 168, 176, 184 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 128/88/108 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 5.4 lbs. (176) | LENGTH TESTED: 176 cm

[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#282828″ text=”#ffffff” width=”90%” align=”left” size=”1″ quote=”Y ride anything else? Nimble and stable on hardpack. There are certainly recreational applications for this ski. Best for weight weenies looking to tear up midnight groomer laps. ” cite=”—Kevin” parallax=”off” direction=”left”]






Atomic Backland 109 FR

$725  atomic.com | SIZES (cm): 175, 182, 189 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 134/109/124 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 8.1 lbs. (182) | LENGTH TESTED: 187 cm

[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#282828″ text=”#ffffff” width=”90%” align=”left” size=”1″ quote=”The Atomic Backland 109 held its own across the board. Punched above its weight class, without a doubt. If I had never looked down, I never would have known I was skiing a superlight ski. Quick edge to edge and stable at high speeds. Great for blasting pillows with the homies. ” cite=”—Kevin” parallax=”off” direction=”left”]




Available at Outdoor Gear Exchange

Buy Now »

Pick up a copy of the 2017 Backcountry Gear Guide today


  1. Joe Kurtak says:

    I bought a subscription to Backcountry a few weeks back, but have yet to receive the gear guide issue. Is it still coming??

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