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.
Faction ski builder Patrik Sannes and pro skier and UIAGM guide Sam Anthamatten teamed up to deliver the Prime 3.0. Its foundation is a light, balsa wood core that’s integrated with flax fibers and poplar strips to boost its stability and edgehold. Also employed is a woven laminate of a composite material used in aeronautical engineering, which is thin, light and strong. The Prime 3.0’s combination of robust downhill performance and lack of bulk ensure it won’t weigh down the back of your sled or slow you down once it’s time to tour to your final destination.
The Obex SPIN is a low profile, ultra-defensive brain bucket ideal for hard-charging freeride skiers. The helmet’s construction is an EPS Liner with a polycarbonate- and ABS-blend shell that’s a stalwart against impacts you may encounter. Inside, POC’s patent-pending SPIN (Shearing Pads Inside) technology provides the counter-punch to all types of impacts to the head. The system features special silicone pads that ensure the helmet moves relative to the head in a shearing movement during an impact to protect your skull. Those who go big, strap
an Obex SPIN to your craniums.
A tough pair of gloves are an instrumental part of a good day on the sled. The Vertex is a leather hand protector featuring a Gore-Tex insert to keep water out and provide breathability, a micro-fleece lining for soft comfort and 113 grams of Primaloft Gold insulation for a boost in warmth. POW made this baby with foam panels built into the back of the glove, which will protect both your hands from likely damage sustained on the sled road and keep the Vertex intact for many adventures to come.
This shovel from Ortovox provides a spacious 3.1-liter carrying volume for efficient removal of snow and a 90-degree grip adjustment guarantees proper shoveling technique should you need to dig out your snow-pony or a slide victim. Furthermore, the integrated snow saw can come in handy when removing unwanted tree saplings from your sled runners.
These oversized goggles will keep the wind out of your face and provide crystal clear vision when sledding into the backcountry. The design was inspired by the helmet visors of fighter pilots, perfect for when you’re rocketing toward that secret swath of pillows you found last weekend. The Flight Deck features Oakley’s Prizm lens, which boosts contrast to bring out the subtleties of the road in front of you, or the ski descent you’re about to dismantle.
Legendary Eric Pollard inspired the look—sleek with a kick pleat—of the Eliot Jacket, as well as its technical focus. The three-layer Gore-Tex shell is lightweight enough for Pollard’s uphill travel and oft-in-the-air descent tendencies, while also breathable, waterproof and ultra-durable. The whole package is a dream for storm skiing—Pollard’s favorite kind.
Assuming you’re touring from your sled, you’ll likely need a pair of lightweight boots with tech inserts that can rally you around your zone for hours on end. Enter the Fischer Ranger Free 130. Its 55-degree cuff rotation in walk mode and respectable weight of 1,540 grams per boot makes it a dream for touring. Once its time to drop in, a Grilamid build that produces a stiffer 130 flex rating will keep you stable and in control on your way down. The boot’s GripWalk rubber soles also provide a nice grip when you’re zooming through the forest on your snowmobile.
Keeping your skis and poles out of the way while “brapping” to your favorite zone is imperative. Relied upon by Dan Treadway and other pro skiers, the kit will deliver your sticks to your destination safely and soundly. Factory Racing’s Dual Ski Bracket system utilizes resin-infused nylon parts as well as injection molded straps that can handle negative-100-degree (Celsius) temperatures for worry-free travel through the dead-of-winter cold. This handy attachment is proudly made in the sled-ski capital of the world, Canada.