2023 Editors’ Choice: Free Touring Skis, Boots and Bindings

Whether taking a chairlift bump, firing up the snowmobile or hitting a skintrack, those who free tour prioritize an aggressive, tough (if heavy) kit for a dominant descent. Inspired by big mountain competitions and freeride style, free touring gear focuses on sturdier materials for downhill-focused performance. Think full ABS sidewalls, polyurethane plastics and heavier cores with woods like ash or maple reinforced with full sheets of metal. The tradeoff is a little more weight going up for improved performance on the descent. “A lot of the freeride boots have walk modes that are actually worth walking in,” said a tester who grew up in Vermont’s freeride scene. A former big-mountain coach weighed in, “Lighter skis are skiing more like their alpine cousins. Super high-performance tour-worthy skis. Very impressed.” While he is correct that free touring gear is weighing in pounds lighter than it has in years past, a setup like the Atomic Backland 107 W ski, Scarpa 4-Quattro XT boot and Marker Kingpin 13 binding is still 7,300 grams. That’s about 2,000 grams more than the average sport touring setup and double the average speed touring setup. —The Editors


Atomic Backland 107 W

atomic.com  ·  $900  ·  2940g (167)  ·  135/107/122  ·  159, 167, 175

“It just has very few faults. The best overall all mountain mixed with backcountry-weight ski there is. The 107 W kills it.” —Kelsey Colbert

Nordica Enforcer 104 Unlimited

nordica.com  ·  $850  ·  3520g (186)  ·  135/104/124  ·  165, 172, 179, 186, 191

“My favorite ski so far. A perfect compromise of weight and downhill performance. Super nimble edge to edge, stable at speed, snappy turn radius but always in control. Nordica crushed it with this one.” —Conor Sedmak

Blizzard Hustle 10

blizzard-tecnica.com/us/en  ·  $800  ·  3560g (180)  ·  133/102/122.5  ·  156, 164, 172, 180, 188

“A ski that doesn’t wear you out on the up and can handle being driven through crud with power. Like a bow, the energy you put in is equivalent to what you get out.” —Ethan Jeannette

WNDR Alpine Vital 100 Reverse Camber

wndr-alpine.com  ·  $799  ·  3700g (183)  ·  126/100/118  ·  155, 162, 169, 176, 183, 190

“This lightweight tester appreciated the solid edge hold, precision and personality courtesy of the reverse camber.” —Katie Cooney

Scarpa 4-Quattro XT

scarpa.com  ·  $799  ·  3000g  ·  last width (mm): 100  ·  sizes: 24.5-31  ·  flex rating: 130

“A do it all boot. Perfect for snow pros or day-in, day-out aggressive touring.” —Darrin MacLeod


Scott Celeste Tour

scott-sports.com  ·  $700  ·  2300g  ·  last width (mm): 103.5  ·  sizes: 23-27.5  ·  flex rating: 110

“Great for a primarily backcountry skier of any ability level who is interested in balancing comfort and performance for all-day tours.” —Jocelyn Cuthbert


Marker Kingpin 13

marker.net  ·  $700  ·  1360g  ·  DIN 6-13  ·  brakes (mm): 75-100, 100-125  ·  crampons (mm): 90, 105, 120 ($120)

“Having pin bindings in front as a simple design makes it a better walking, simpler to use and transition binding. Feels trustworthy and secure with great power transfer.” —Jocelyn Cuthbert

Get your copy of the 2023 Backcountry Gear Guide featuring 122 reviews of skis, boots, splitboards and bindings with 35 Editors’ Choice awards—in-depth, unbiased analysis of the best gear for any type of skier or rider. Plus, top-tier apparel and accessories to round out your kit.

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