Here are our picks of the best gear for getting out in the untracked.
1. Rossignol System S7 Pro Mancini
With a huge rockered shovel the tele version of the S7 (145/115/123) elevates, but it can hold its own in the frontcountry thanks to camber underfoot. Even better, the ski’s namesake Max Mancini, raised $23,000 for the Denver Children’s Hospital Foundation from sales of the ski last year and hopes to raise more in 2011.
2. G3 Soulfly
Not every backcountry ski has to be as wide as a snowboard. The light Solfly is not going to surf powder (it’s a svelte 83 underfoot) but it’s a snappy turner designed to break trail. Make it your go-to stick for big tours and hut trips.
3. Black Diamond Starlet
At 134/100/121, BD’s women’s backcountry board is light and slice-y, ideal for touring and turning in wild snow. It’s soft flex and early rise tip make it heaven in deep snow yet it offers enough torsional rigidity to hold an edge on groomers too.
4. Jones Solution
Jeremy Jones does his best work in the backcountry, so it’s not surprise his new snowboard brand is intoducing a wood-core split board that can handle bottomless fluff thanks to a rockered tip.
5. Garmont Masterlite
Garmont shaved out all the unecessary plastic in this ultralight 110-flex-index AT boot so that it feels effortless when skinning up yet still has guts in the no-fall-zone.
6. Scarpa T2
Built with eco-friendly plastic (yeah, really) the latest iteration of the legendary T2 flexes even better than before while still driving a big fat backcountry ski.
7. Montbell Alpine Light Down
Weighing in at just over 13 ounces and stuffed with 800-fill goose down this insulator is an easy add to your backcountry pack since it stuffs down into a burrito-sized bundle.
8. Stoic Welder Glove
Backcountry.com’s private label glove scored big points thanks to a cozy merino lining and welded soft shell outer that shucked off snow without being unweildy.
9. Bolle Quasar
Few things are worse than fogging up your goggles when you are huffing and puffing up a skin track. Bolle’s Flow-Tech venting keeps these babies ventilated and the brand’s Equalizer is a Gore-tex pressure vent that maintains the same pressure inside and out.
10. Smith Vantage
At 15.5 ounces, the Vantage is the type of light lid that makes sense in the sweaty (yet dangerous) backcountry. The ventilation system cools your noggin while actually pulling moisture from behind the goggles.
11. Tram Bar
We eat a ton of energy bars every season and always end up getting sick of the latest fad. But the Tram Bar has stuck. The bar stays moist even on frigid days.
$21/six bars; trambars.com