Gearbox: An Editors’ Choice all-mountain setup

For some people, having a dedicated tool for every job is the ultimate dream. And many of today’s skis, boots and bindings are so specialized that there are hyper-focused options to maximize every type of snow, terrain or pursuit.

But building a quiver is a costly endeavor; all that gear takes up space and deciding what to ski on a specific day can be a conundrum unto itself. There’s simplicity in singularity, in having one familiar and reliable option that can do it all. Thankfully, gear these days is more capable than ever, with much of it confidently handling wide-ranging conditions while remaining lightweight.

When it comes to building a one-quiver kit, look to moderately rockered skis measuring around 105mm underfoot, boots with fewer than four buckles and a broad walk mode and tech bindings with brakes and DIN adjustability. Here’s one women’s-specific setup that we tested last March at Powder Mountain, Utah that does it all—uphill and down, inbounds and out—with well-rounded grace. —The Editors

DPS Zelda A106 – $1,299
Backcountry testers have long loved DPS’s heavily rockered and tapered Wailer 112 and their spring-focused Wailer 99, but neither is an all-mountain knockout. DPS answered their calls last year with this 106mm-underfoot shape that offers more effective edge than their 112 or 99 for increased hardpack bite. This year, they took its well-balanced nature a step further with a new construction—dubbed Alchemist—that places prepreg carbon layers and proprietary dampening technology above and below an aspen core for better stability in harsh, variable conditions. 130/106/120, 7.6 lbs. (168),

SCARPA Gea RS – $795
SCARPA’s Gea RS (and men’s Maestrale RS) are among the bestselling AT boots worldwide for good reason—their wide, 102mm last accommodates many foot shapes, they adeptly balance stiffness and walkability, and they clock in at a modest weight. Now, both boots receive an upgrade, making them lighter, stiffer and more user friendly with overhauled, easier-to-grab buckles and mode-switch levers. Plus, the walk-mode range of the 125-flex Grilamid/carbon Gea is nearly doubled, now measuring 60 degrees for unrestricted uphill strides. 5.6 lbs.,


Fritschi Vipec Evo 12 – $600
The DIN-12 Vipec Evo offers two standout features not found in other-brands’ tech bindings—a quantifiable safety release at the toe and heel and full ski-pole operability, which makes both riser adjustment and mode-change engagement possible with the flick of a pole. And while skiers long bemoaned the Vipec’s complicated entry, Fritschi redesigned the toepiece to address these concerns, with a larger platform, larger toe bumper and adjusted spring tolerances. All that makes the new Evo one of the most user-friendly tech bindings available. 2.2 lbs.,

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.