What would you do if you were heading on a heli-hut trip in the boonies of British Columbia with your buddy the Black Diamond rep living right next door to your first crash pad en route? You hop into a nearby phone booth and become Black Diamond Boy, getting outfitted head-to-toe in everything you need for five days of ski touring at BC’s Sol Mountain Lodge. You become so decked-out that you only bring a carry-on from your home in Colorado. Included in the package were skins, skis, bindings, boots, poles, pants, jacket, shovel, probe, airbag, gloves and even a Black Diamond beanie to top it all off (yes, I wore my own underwear). Here’s how it all fared:

Vipec 12 Tech Binding:

Perhaps the best thing about BD/Fritischi’s entry into the tech binding game is that unlike Dynafits, the Vipec heel slides forward and aft to engage the boot. This means that when touring back across the meadow to the lodge, while my cohorts had to release to get into tour mode I simply depressed the heel tab and Voila! the heel pins slid backward, allowing me to freeheel across the flats. For climbing, the heel lifts flipped into place easily with my pole basket (note: it’s easier to flip into high climb mode than medium). When I was  skiing, it never released and that surely  increased my confidence on the high alpine steeps each day. But it is built to release if necessary and the Safety Pin System uses a gliding heel that creates active length compensation when the ski is flexed. Maintaining a consistent contact pressure, say designers, delivers a pre-defined release when the boot/binding interface exceeds its dynamic range.

Billed as the world’s first binding to combine a lightweight pin system with the pre-defined safety release of an alpine binding, the Vipec 12’s toe pin unit slides laterally, with 13mm  of  range before release. Weird but true: in tour mode across the flats, my friend John accidentally knocked the heel lifts into place with his ski tips when catching up to me from behind. 2 lbs., 6 oz./pair, $599.95; Vipec 12

GlideLite Mohair Mix STS Skins

The first thing I noticed about these is their glide. Where other skins often feel like glue on the flats, these babies schussed multiple feet per glide, which adds up on a 4,000-foot day. Made from 65 percent mohair and 35 percent nylon, they come with an adjustable tip loop attachment to fit a range of tip widths; it was bomber, with no errant kick-offs from the opposite ski. On the tail, BD’s patented STS tail system provides 10 cm of adjustability. Mine cinched snug in the rear with nary a loosening. As for adhesion, they stayed on great, to the point of forcing me to take my skis off to remove; I just couldn’t manage the reach-down-and-rip move I’ve perfected on my own lamer-glue skins. Non-glue strips down the center did make removability easier, especially when unfolding to use again. While supple for folding, and coming in packable design that’s 1.4 oz. lighter than its Ascension skins, they did end up in an origami cluster when taking them off in 40 mph gales — but that’s likely happen to anyone besides Greg Hill. Also, I had one backward slip on a steep switchback that sent me spastically to all fours, but I’ll chalk that up to incompetence. 1 lb., 6 oz./pair; $179.95; GlideLite Mohair Mix STD 110mm

Quadrant Boot

It’s naïve to head out on a five-day backcountry trip in boots you’ve never seen let alone used. But putting faith in the blister gods I did just that, without suffering one hot spot the entire time; the tech-compatible boots fit like a proverbial glove right out of the box. The next thing I noticed was their light weight, which first surfaced when making gear laps from heli to lodge. When it came time to tour, its Triax Pivot frame offered 40 degrees of touring motion, appreciated on slog to the backside of Mission Ridge. While I found it odd that its lowest buckles fastened opposite from all the others, the locking QuickWire held fast. Delivering on the down was its four-buckle plus Powerstrap design, as well as soft snow-friendly 120 flex. In short, it lived up to its billing as combining freeride performance in a touring-focused design. Out of the skis, its rockered, rubber outsole gripped when booting, whether to avoid that icy cluster kickturn (thanks Paul) or tromping out to the LZ.

Now back to its fit, the make-or-break feature of any boot. Whether due to its re-designed, thermoformable liner (which I didn’t thermoform) with articulated flex zones or my Joe Average foot size and shape, I was comfy as a clam while poor Breianne sat out a day patching her feet with Dr. Scholls. 7 lbs., 10 oz./pair, $669.95; Quadrant

Link 105 Skis

In this whacko ski season up north, we had every condition imaginable: frozen crust in the morning, heavy gunk down low, corn in the afternoon, and creamy pow in the high alpine. The new-for-2016 BD Link 105 handled them all like a red-blooded Canuck does a hockey stick. While I didn’t get to test their 105mm waist in waist-deep BC powder, the rockered tip and tail with traditional camber underfoot and 132mm shovel (172cm) kept them floaty and snappy. They did sink into the Pineapple Express glop once when we toured below the lodge’s 6,200 feet, but even Chris Davenport would have suffered the same fate. When a cold snap firmed things up, their sidewall dampening system and 3D sandwich/paulownia wood core held an edge like the Canadian National Anthem does a tune (they’re designed for 70/30 split between soft snow and hard). But I noticed their light weight for touring most, excelling on the up as much as the down and giving my quads every advantage possible when summiting the lodge’s namesake Sol Mountain. 6 lbs., 3 oz./pair, $849.95; Link 105 Skis

Recon Pants

Okay, so trying new pants is a little risky…you don’t know how they’ll fit in the crotch. But these hybrids that combine a DWR-finished Windstopper shell with Schoeller softshell panels stretch-woven with NanoSphere Tech, fit the body and the bill. Key features include an integrated Pieps Pocket lined with impact foam and with an internal harness for quick-access beacon storage, RECCO technology, removable waist belt, mambo, well-thought-out thigh pockets, offset side venting and boot-access zippers for the quick buckle fixes. Where they shined was when the wet snow turned to rain (yes, it rained); the beefy combo material beaded it up and shed it right back into the BC snowpack. The only knocks are that despite their sweet internal snow gaiters the ankles seemed a hair tight, and the dual fly zipper took some getting used to; I’m used to zipping down to purge PBRs, not up. As for the heralded beacon pocket, I used it the first day, but didn’t like the extra weight on my thigh, especially with the belt’s drawstring slipping and exposing my plumber’s crack to the BC elements and friend’s snowballs. I’d rectify this with Canadian lumberjacks suspenders. 1 lb., 8 oz., $399; Recon Pants

Sharp End Shell Jacket

I climb hot, so rarely do I wear a shell on the up. Thankfully, the Sharp End is one of BD’s lightest GORE-TEX® Pro wares, clocking in at just 14 ounces, so you’re not carrying much unused weight. Coincidentally, that’s just one ounce more than a Kokanee beer. Trimmed-down features and lighter face fabric emphasize packability, good since I found the Jet Force pack spatially challenged. But its lightness doesn’t dampen its durability battling the elements. We faced snow, rain and snain, as well as 50-mph wind gusts that blew ski poles away (note to self: don’t place poles down in a gale), and it easily handled all comers. In the ridgeline wind, its hood’s Cohaesive™ cord-lock system allowed for one-handed cinching. Skins fit inside its harness-compatible expanding chest pockets, as did my sandwich that Big Al squished with his fist, and its brushed, microsuede collar lining caressed my Miami Vice stubble. And when I did use it touring, opening its two-way zippered armpit vents, it breathed easier than I did. 13.9 oz., $499; Sharp End Shell

Evac 7 Shovel

While I never (thankfully) had to use this for an avi burial, this baby, with its two configuration D handle switching it from conventional blade to hoe shape, worked great in everything from digging pits to sculpting the snow-sofa outside the lodge. The hoe shape is designed for rapid snow removal when needed, and it worked, thankfully for a sofa instead of someone’s survival. When digging our pit, and sofa back, its anodized, flat-bottom blade created a clean face. Stashing it inside the Jet Force pack, it broke down to a storage-friendly 26 inches while extending out to a back-saving 37. The only knock was packing the curved handle, which took up a little extra gorp space. Some users say they cover bottom handle hole with duct tape to prevent the shaft from sliding past the stopper and popping the spring out when collapsing, but that never happened to me. Apart from quicker avi evacuation time, the high-tech hoe shape also worked like a charm building steps from the lodge to the sauna. 1 lb., 13 oz., $79.95; Evac 7

QuickDraw Tour Probe 320

Named for its 320cm length when deployed, this all-aluminum probe is built to plunge, plain and simple. While I pulled it out of its perch in my pack, its dual quickdraw speed ferrules made it snap into place quicker than our mid-sauna snow dips. Designed for snow study, ski guides, patrollers and skiing steep and deep terrain, we never had to probe with it, but would have wanted our teammates to have it on the air side of an emergency. A rapid deployment, integrated stuffsack integrates with the probe’s pull cord for one-pull readiness while a non-slip grip provides purchase. Nice touches: an oversized alloy tip improves probing sensitivity by creating a larger hole than the probe shaft, and easy-to-see 1cm markings let you monitor depth. 14 oz., $79.95;  Quickdraw Probe 320

Guide Gloves

Made from waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX with a removable PrimaLoft One/boiled wool liner, these are BD’s warmest offering, as evidenced by my need to take them off when touring. A four-way-stretch woven nylon shell and goat leather palm keeps them supple enough to remove skins and fuss with hoods and buckles, while the GORE-TEX kept them waterproof in the freakish rain and when John got over-zealous opening my water bottle. Bonus: molded EVA foam padding on knuckles for impact protection, especially handy when knuckling your buddy after yet another sweet run. 11 oz./pair, $169.95; Guide Glove

Tom Pom Beanie

Okay, how do you review a hat? You put it on, it keeps your head warm, and that’s that. That was the case with this one as well, though its ring of BD insignia capped the BD Boy outfit perfectly. Made from 100 percent acrylic, it insulates, doesn’t absorb water (or sweat) and brings a dose of style to your skiing. There was a bit of a gap between head top and pom-pom, giving me a conehead look, but that also created airspace my noggin’ could heat. And I could easily rectify it by folding up the bottom, which doubled the ear coverage and made it harder to hear Big Al’s whining. 3 oz., $25; Tom Pom Beanie

Razor Carbon Poles

While I regularly use BD’s trusty Traverse poles at home (and have accidentally switched them with others because they all look the same), here I was privy to the company’s Razor Carbons, which are uber-light for touring. I tested the smaller version, which extends from 39-49 inches and collapses down to 36, but would’ve liked a hair taller setting for scooting across the flats (it’s taken me years, but I finally realize the advantage of a taller pole setting at times). Combining a super-durable, thick-walled aluminum upper with a narrow, carbon fiber lower, it has a smooth swing weight (great for hitting snowballs) and durable design. The dual-axle of its Flint-Lock Pro adjustability thingy provides increased clamping leverage and makes adjusting quick and easy. What I really liked? The fact that its baskets were rigid enough to easily flip up the heel lifts on the Vipecs. 1 lb., 5 oz., $124.95; Razor Carbon ski poles

Halo 28 Jet Force Airbag Pack

Ask a Brazil nut. If you’re skiing big terrain, which is what BC’s all about, airbags are your best friend as they float you to the surface. BD’s entry into the category is the Halo 28 Jet Force, the first airbag to run on a battery-powered jet-fan instead of compressed nitrogen (ABS) or compressed air (BCA). A collaboration between Black Diamond and Pieps, the airbag runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that supports four deployments per charge. It inflates a 200L puncture-resistant Cordura airbag in four seconds, then pulses back on to keep the air inside (a nice touch if it gets torn) before automatically deflating after three minutes to create a potential air pocket. After deploying it three times in apres mode, in which it performed admirably each time, I found this also makes it easy to re-stuff, increasing the chance you’ll practice. A word to the wise: it’s a tad noisy, so be prepared.

On the pack side, a zippered backpanel accesses the inside, shovel and probe fit in a dedicated avi-tools pocket, and a HiLo helmet holder deploys out of the bottom. It also comes with an ice-axe attachment, tuck-away diagonal ski carry loops, SwingArm™ shoulder straps, and hipbelt stash pockets, one of which holds a crotch harness. The only gripes are that the side splayed open a few times, exposing the deflated bag and causing me to re-attach two tiny clips to a wire (likely because I packed it too full); and its storage seemed a tad tight. But it was ample enough for an eight-hour tour, and forced others to carry more beer. 26L and 28L (7 lbs., 8 oz.), $1,274.95; Halo 28 JetForce Airbag pack