GEAR of the YEAR

SKI - - CLINIC -

BACK­COUN­TRY

DYNAFIT Beast Car­bon Boot $900 One of the stiffest back­coun­tryspe­cific shells on the mar­ket, the Beast Car­bon can drive any ski with ease, in­clud­ing the stiffest, fat­test boards in your quiver. It’s hard to be­lieve Dynafit doesn’t make alpine race boots from the same ma­te­ri­als. The re­vised Pre­ci­sion Lock Sys­tem at­taches the cuff with the lower boot in ski mode, pro­vid­ing rock-solid power trans­mis­sion. Pop into walk mode and The Beast Car­bon can cruise up­hill with ease, thanks to light­weight car­bon in­te­grated through­out the Pe­bax shell. ORTOVOX Car­bon 280+ PFA Probe and Ko­diak Shovel Probe: $100 Shovel: $90 Hav­ing a no-non­sense, easy-to-as­sem­ble probe and er- go­nomic, smartly de­signed shovel is crit­i­cal in the back­coun­try for more than just avalanche res­cue. (Ever tried dig­ging a snow­pit with a shitty shovel or un­marked probe? It sucks.) Ortovox hits the mark for both of these items with the Car­bon 280+ Probe and Ko­diak Shovel. The PFA quick-assem­bly sys­tem and rub­ber­ized grip makes the Car­bon 280+ probe su­per easy to as­sem­ble in a few sec­onds, and the large blade with high side­walls on the shovel moves more snow faster than other mod­els tested. The built-in hoe assem­bly in the shovel blade makes it es­pe­cially easy to sculpt your snow­study pits into works of art. BLIZZARD Zero G 95 D: 126-95-110 L: 164, 171, 178, 185 R: 21m (178) MSRP: $700 For­get floppy car­bon tips and soft ski chat­ter, the Blizzard Zero G 95 is a damp race ski on a back­coun­try diet. This ski gets its chops from a su­per light­weight paulow­nia wood core with Car­bon Drive tech­nol­ogy, a uni-di­rec­tional car­bon frame that pro­vides in­cred­i­bly stiff tor­sional rigid­ity con­sid­er­ing the ski’s fly­weight box­ing clas­si­fi­ca­tion. The Zero G 95 is a great one-ski-won­der for any type of snow, but it truly stands out in steep, spring-corn con­di­tions. BLACK DI­A­MOND Car­bon Whip­pet $140 There are more sto­ries ev­ery year with back­coun­try skiers pre­vent­ing po­ten­tial tragedies be­cause of their abil­ity to self-ar­rest with a Black Di­a­mond Whip­pet (in­clud­ing this au­thor in 2014). They are a crit­i­cal piece of equip­ment dur­ing any steep mis­sion that might in­volve de­scend­ing hard snow, or worse yet, un­ex­pected steep ice. The Car­bon Whip­pet is light­weight and packs down well, so there’s no longer an ex­cuse not to bring one on ev­ery steep ob­jec­tive this sea­son. SUUNTO Spar­tan Sport HR Baro $550 With a built-in heart rate mon­i­tor, GPS sys­tem, and barom­e­ter, the Spar­tan al­lows you to mon­i­tor weather, fa­tigue, and nav­i­ga­tion di­rectly from your wrist. Add in re­vised alpine and back­coun­try ski-spe­cific GPS func­tions, and this watch be­comes an es­sen­tial tool for train­ing, storm alerts, and ski nav­i­ga­tion. It also hooks up to Strava eas­ily so you can prove your epic day’s stats when you get back to the bar. DYNAFIT TLT Speed­fit Bind­ing $550 One is­sue with tech-bind­ing heel pieces is their in­nate abil­ity to wear down and stress-frac­ture over time. Dynafit’s lat­est heel piece solves the prob­lem with the bay­o­net lock, which re­moves the ro­tat­ing spring-tower sys­tem found in pre­vi­ous mod­els and re­places it with a solid, wholly ro­tat­ing heel mod­ule. Com­bined with a piv­ot­ing toe piece and 6-12 re­lease value set­tings, the TLT Speed­fit is a light­weight bind­ing that can han­dle any­thing in- and out-of-bounds with ease. ORTOVOX S1+ Avalanche Transceiver $500 There are so many smart bea­cons on the mar­ket, it’s hard to pin­point which one is the best. The S1+ rises to the top for the many easy-to-use fea­tures that first-time users and avalanche pro­fes­sion­als can both ap­pre­ci­ate. The sim­ple dis­play shows the rel­a­tive po­si­tion of a buried per­son, and pro­vides clear in­struc­tions on how to find them quickly. Sim­ple flag­ging ca­pa­bil­i­ties and in­tu­itive search acous­tics pro­vide next-level mi­cro-search func­tion­al­ity, and two bat­ter­ies are all you need for 250 hours in trans­mis­sion mode.

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