Welcome to a special Backcountry Issue installment of Gear Spotlight from FREESKIER. Here, we provide a close-up look at the equipment and accessories that everyone should know about when heading off-piste. Can’t get enough gear? Click here to see our entire 2019 Buyer’s Guide.
The Cooper Jacket from Flylow is minimalist design at its finest. This piece is a go everywhere, do anything, three-layer shell that’s as packable as it is stormproof. The Cooper uses a proprietary fabric designed by Intuitive specifically for Flylow, coined “The Perm,” which is described as the “most air permeable, stretchy and waterproof fabric on the planet.” If that’s the case, it’s a true do-everything touring jacket. Everything you want without the excess, that’s the Cooper.
The German engineers at Deuter packed every possible feature they could into the Rise 34+, which is designed to provide you organized access to your avalanche safety equipment and personal belongings in a comfortable-to-wear package. Most importantly, Deuter’s Alpine Back System maintains the pack’s center of gravity as you explore, keeping it close to your body and easy to maneuver in, despite load size.
Zeal’s first-ever cylindrical goggle hits the mark for backcountry skiers. Most notably, these goggles utilize the Rail Lock quick-change lens system, which employs two tracks in the frame so users may slide lenses in and out vertically. The lens can also be raised ever so slightly for no-thought-needed venting.
Hestra Ergo Grip Incline
This tight-fitting, ergonomically-designed offering from Hestra combines the dexterity and warmth backcountry-oriented skiers covet. A short, neoprene cuff helps with the streamlined look and fit, while durable, water-resistant goat leather in the palm and cowhide on the back of the hand add durability and comfort. What’s most impressive about these gloves is their fit and feel when out on the skin track: The Ergo Grip design truly ensures you’ll have bare-hand dexterity and the unobtrusive foam lining adds warmth without the bulk—a backountry skier’s dream.
The ST Rotation 12 is the next evolution of the Radical ST 2.0 binding from Dynafit. It features a new, integrated centering system that make step-ins easier than ever, allowing you to fuss less at the trailhead, and skin more toward your objectives. The binding’s pivoting toe piece helps prevent pre-release and makes it TÜV certified. Furthering this binding’s safety focus, the ST Rotation 12’s release value can be adjusted from 5 to 12, while 10 mm of rearward travel keeps the release force consistent.
Eric “Hoji” Hjorleifson has acquired his fair share of backcountry experience throughout his nearly two-decade skiing career, which is why his insights and feedback help directly drive product development for brands like Dynafit. After spending two years working, Dynafit is releasing the Hoji Pro Tour for winter 2018-19—a boot that weighs 1,450 grams (per boot), offers a 55-degree walk-mode range of motion and incorporates the innovative Hoji Lock System. This allows the boot’s upper and lower cuffs to function independently, thus greatly improving fit and function on the up and down.
The Zero G 108 from Blizzard is a stiff, lightweight, touring-centric ski designed for deep explorations off-piste. It weighs a mere 1,750 grams (in the 185 cm length), features a responsive and stable paulownia wood core reinforced with unidirectional carbon fiber and is a powder-ready 108 mm underfoot. All told, it’s a breeze to take on the skin track and a workhorse during the descent.