Character Closeups: Austin Johnson on Gear Test Week 2019

Each year at Gear Test Week, we incorporate some new faces into the testing mix for fresh takes on the latest gear. This year, Austin Johnson, a Carbondale, Colo. native, joined the ranks to ski powder, meet some new friends and drink a beer or two. We caught up with Johnson to hear his perspectives on some of his favorite skis, boots and bindings thus far.

Tester Austin Johnson | From Carbondale, Colo. | Currently skis Aspen Highlands. [Photo] Matt Kiedaisch

Backcountry Magazine: How many years have you been at Gear Test Week?

Austin Johnson: This is my first GTW. I’m psyched to be here.

BCM: What do you think so far?

AJ: It’s outrageous. It’s so cool to try all the new gear and meet all of these fantastic people with bright personalities. It’s a wild ride the whole time. It’s exhausting, but it’s so much fun.

BCM: What do you think of the skis that you tested so far?

AJ: A lot of them are a little bit of a different style than what I am usually on a day-to-day basis. I’ve been on the same ski for so many years, so it’s cool to see all of these different technologies and different styles and builds and to see how they actually perform.

BCM: What do you normally ski on?

AJ: Fatter, longer, stiffer skis.

BCM: In the backcountry as well?

AJ: Yep, I slug it up.

BCM: What do you think about some of the new bindings you’ve seen?

AJ: Oh man, Salomon’s new binding, the Shift MNC, is probably what I’ll be on next season. I’m psyched on that, and also the Dynafit Radical 2.0 is probably my favorite tech binding.

BCM: Nice, any thoughts on boots?

AJ: Yea, I like the Lange XTFree 130. That’s similar to what I typically ski on—a stiffer flex boot. It’s incredible—two years ago I was in the [Tecnica] Cochise 130, and [the XTFree 130] feels like a skimo boot in comparison—it feels half the weight.

BCM: What are you excited about over the next couple of days?

AJ: Skiing pow, drinking beer and wrapping this thing up. I’m psyched to be here.

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