Backpacker - - NEWS -

OUR TAKE If you toe the line be­tween cross-coun­try ski­ing and alpine tour­ing, th­ese back­coun­try boards are for you. Fis­cher’s wax­less bases have solid grip on gen­tle-to-mod­er­ate up­hills in all con­di­tions but spring slush. Add the ny­lon-mo­hair Easy Skin ($75; sold sep­a­rately)—which clips into the bind­ings, and cov­ers just the kick zone—and the skis trans­form into climb­ing ma­chines for steeper slopes. We slapped the Easy Skin on for an as­cent of Mon­tana’s Trap­per Peak and found the S-Bounds al­most as sticky as a full alpine tour­ing setup. On de­scents, a wide side­cut and tips that rise when you weight the ski per­mit more con­trol than a typ­i­cal cross-coun­try ski, even let­ting us carve turns on slopes equiv­a­lent to re­sort green runs.

THE DE­TAILS The heav­i­est skis in the test, the S-Bounds broke trail like champs, aided by steel edges and tips that never bogged down in pow­der. Trade­off: Th­ese skis take more en­ergy to push across the flats, and they’re too wide for groomed tracks, which are 70 mil­lime­ters wide at most.

TRAIL CRED “The S-Bounds’ shape made them nim­ble enough to han­dle dense trees when spring melt forced me off-trail,” says a Mon­tana tester. S-Bound 98 Crown: $350; 5 lbs. 8 oz. (179); 169, 179 (98-69-88), 189 ; Easy Skin: $75; 3 oz.; fis­ch­er­

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