Gear of the Year
Our editors narrow down their favorite skis, boots, jackets, helmets, goggles, and more.
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.