Gear of the Year

Our ed­i­tors nar­row down their fa­vorite skis, boots, jack­ets, hel­mets, gog­gles, and more.

SKI - - CONTENTS - By Sa­man­tha Ber­man & Jon Jay Photos by Keri Bascetta

HEAD Rap­tor 140 RS Flex: 140 (very stiff) Width: Nar­row (96mm last) $800 HEAD 110 RS W Flex: 110 (mod­er­ately stiff) Width: Nar­row (94mm last) $700

One thing im­me­di­ately no­tice­able about the Rap­tor se­ries is the lim­ited amount of flex these boots al­low—less than 5 de­grees of for­ward mo­tion. (The av­er­age for a high-per­for­mance over­lap boot is around 10 de­grees.) This min­i­mal flex makes these boots un­com­fort­able to walk in, but pro­vides un­matched en­ergy trans­fer. Add in a rock-solid Dou­ble Power Booster Strap, and it’s as if these boots be­come an ex­ten­sion of your body rather than some­thing you merely wear. Don’t ex­pect these boots to fit out of the box, but after tak­ing them to a pro­fes­sional boot fit­ter, you might never ski in any­thing else. Both the men’s and the women’s earned Best in Test ac­co­lades this year, and if you’re after true high-per­for­mance ma­chines that can drive any ski on the mar­ket, these need to be on your list.

DALBELLO Pan­terra 120 ID Flex: 120 (mod­er­ately stiff) Width: Medium (102mm last) $750 DALBELLO Lupo AX 110 W Flex: 110 (mod­er­ately stiff) Width: Medium (100mm last) $650

It’s time to rec­og­nize that three-piece, cabrio de­signs are sim­ply the best op­tion for the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple who need high-per­form­ing, high-vol­ume ski boots. No brand is more on top of its game in this cat­e­gory than Dalbello, an Ital­ian com­pany that has mas­tered the com­bi­na­tion of smooth flexes, high-per­for­mance ma­te­ri­als, and com­fort­able lin­ers. The Pan­terra se­ries com­bines wide lasts with strong per­for­mance, es­pe­cially the ver­sa­tile Pan­terra 120. The AX mod­els for women have a fe­male-spe­cific mold for the foot, plus a shorter cuff and rear spoiler to ac­com­mo­date a variety of lower leg shapes and sizes. The Lupo AX is the queen of cabrio, pro­vid­ing strong frontside ca­pa­bil­i­ties mixed with back­coun­try prowess, all wrapped up in an af­ford­able pack­age.

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