Best Backcountry Skiing Equipment For 2020/2021
Not only does backcountry skiing demand a lot from your equipment, but with constant innovations in technology and style it can be hard to keep on top of the latest developments. Fortunately, we have handpicked our top pieces of backcountry skiing gear for 2020/2021, and collated them into this handy list.
Scott’s updated Superguide 95 uses a carbon/aramid construction and elliptical profile to create a high-performing tour ski that is light on the way up and powerful on the way down. Slight tip rocker improves the handling, a 95mm waist provides all mountain stability and the new Dual Light Wood Core ensures response and energy without excess weight. Happy in any condition on any terrain, they’re an ideal choice for good skiers who love to head off the beaten track.
Atomic’s Backland 98 W is a supremely versatile backcountry ski, light enough for the ascent and with the necessary performance for any conditions on the way back down. The shape has the width for softer snow and the HRZN Tech tip ensures smooth control in even the most cut-up and tracked out slopes. The construction provides the grip and power for when things get firmer and a Carbon Backbone stabilises the ride and boosts edge grip.
Blending the comfort and power of the proven Prime range with the lightness and natural movement of the XTD and Backland models, the all new Hawx Prime XTD is where all-mountain skiing meets freeride. Prolite construction uses different wall thicknesses on the shell to keep the weight down without affecting the performance. The tried and tested Free/Lock hike and ski system provides 54° of motion, ease of use and, thanks to the way it integrates the Energy Backbone, precise ski control. Memory Fit on the shell means it can be heat moulded to even more closely match the foot shape; the excellent Mimic Platinum liner uses a unique process to take an impressive mould of the heel and ankle area for the best comfort and control. Comes with GripWalk soles and tech insoles so it can be used with a range of bindings.
The Shift Pro 130 is for skiers who mix up riding lifts with hiking for better terrain. Coreframe ensures the boot has the power and control for skiing bigger lines; Surelock is simple and effective, providing 40° of motion for walking and the necessary strength to compete with alpine models. The Custom Shell HD and the pre-formed, seamless 3D Custom Fit Race liner are both heat moulded to ensure a personalised shape, ensuring the best comfort and foot hold. A Grilamid cuff keeps the weight down and the flex consistent.
Marker’s new Duke PT takes a radical approach to combining top alpine performance with lightweight ascending by using an innovative Ride & Hike toe. For walking, the upper part is unlocked and removed revealing a pin system, the upper section is then stored in a backpack. For the descent the upper jaw is locked back into place and the binding becomes a high-performance alpine unit that will take on any terrain.
The Duke PT comes in two versions, the PT 12 and PT 16 with both available in 100mm and 125mm widths. The PT 12 usses a Hollow Linkage Heel that is lighter than the version on the PT 16 but retains excellent torsional stregnth and robust construction, and with a lower DIN range, is better suited to lighter or less aggressive skiers.
The new Shift 10 takes all the best parts of the revolutionary Shift 13 to create lighter a lower DIN version that better suits lighter or less agressive skiers. It still blends the effeciency of the the best uphill bindings with the performance of an Alpine binding on the descent. The toe piece has the advantages of a pin binding allowing for convenient hiking but can be shifted to become a downhill model. A true a high-performance freeride option with certified DIN alpine heel and toes and full compatibility to all DIN ISO norm boots. It moves between the Alpine and Tour categories like nothing else out there.
The TNF team questioned every aspect of traditional mountain shell design and the end result is a fine-tuned and feature-packed piece of precision backcountry engineering. FUTURELIGHT™ fabric sets the new standard for active breathability with totally waterproof protection, while the 3D stretch fit, FuseForm minimal seam construction and a practical long length all set you up for epic days hiking and riding the steep and deep.
The stealthy Sabre LT jacket is the perfect combination of performance and comfort. This is a versatile, progressively designed big mountain jacket built for foul weather and fine-tuned to freeride touring. N80p 3L GORE-TEX fabric with GORE C-KNIT™ backer technology is quiet, soft and comfortable for efficient movement through frigid winter weather while the longer length gives extra protection from the elements on deep storm days.
The Sabre LT pants are versatile big mountain leg-wear that deliver the goods on long tours and steep powder drops. N80p 3L GORE-TEX fabric with GORE C-KNIT™ backer technology is quiet and comfortable with total weather protection and enhanced breathability. A low stretch bib design helps keep out snow. The TouringCuff simplifies boot walk-mode management and articulated e3D patterning elevates freedom of movement.
The iconic Lofoten jacket is a fantastically engineered piece of backcountry kit. Epitomising Norrøna’s “loaded minimalism” ethos, this jacket has everything you’ll need for the best freeride experience… and nothing more. Big pockets, deep vents, maximum breathability and long term durable waterproof protection. Enough said!
Built-tough for long days in deep conditions, the Lofoten backcountry bib pants continue to lead the way, with the highest levels of protection, comfort, and durability. Deep ¾ leg vents allow easy access to boots and layers. Four zipped pockets offer lots of storage options and the zip-off stretch bib gives the best snow seal and waist comfort. 3-layer GORE-TEX Pro Most Rugged delivers robust waterproof and breathable performance.
Patagonia’s classic GORE-TEX all-mountain jacket delivers for lift-accessed backcountry and charging all over the resort. Solid, dependable 2-layer GORETEX with fully recycled outer fabric keeps out the worst mountain weather while offering great breathability. The body-mapped engineered mesh and taffeta lining controls your microclimate and allows intelligent layering
The Soelden Pro 32 is an avalanche airbag backpack offering best-in-class fit and function. Featuring an Alpride E1 electronic airbag system, supercapacitor technology powers the fully electronic turbine-based fan. Lightweight and rechargeable, with no Li-ion battery required, the Alpride E1 system makes travel much easier.
The evolution of Black Diamond’s JetForce Technology, the JetForce Pro avalanche airbag system is smaller, lighter, and features Bluetooth capabilities for easy updates. Paired with a sleek modular pack design, the 25-litre attachment can be unzipped and replaced with one of BD’s JetForce Pro Booster packs for backcountry versatility.
Designed for exploring the backcountry with ski touring in mind, the MTN Lab meets alpine safety standard EN 12492, and the EPS 4D construction provides increased shock absorption. Powerful venting keeps the head cool while hiking and the washable Merino wool liner manages moisture effectively. The Custom Dial size system is simple to adjust ensuring a snug fit and a summer liner is also included.
The Flight Tracker XM is set to become an Oakley classic, with lots of tech to enhance your time in the mountains. The full-rim, low profile frame creates a modern look with an increased field of view. The shape fits well with helmets and the silicone backed strap keeps them firmly in place, it’s also compatible with prescription eyewear. The lens uses Oakley’s tried and tested Prizm technology for razor-sharp clarity and increased depth perception. Designed to fit larger faces and give maximum vision.