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 Talkback 96 from K2 is the total package for an everyday backcountry ski. The 96-mm-underfoot width makes it wide enough for the occasional dusting, while just perfect for day-in and day-out shredding. Its paulownia wood core with carbon/fiberglass reinforcements, above and below it, shed a ton of weight while maintaining stiffness and rigidity. Its hybritech sidewalls–sandwich construction underfoot and full cap in the extremities—results in a powerful driver with a low swing weight, too. Ladies who are looking for charging downhill performance in a touring ski, your search is over.
Komperdell hit the nail on the head with its Fatso Carbon Team Vario pole. Never worry about dropping this featherweight pole–weighing in at 66 grams–thanks to its extra large grip with a non-slip surface and a powder strap for easy adjusting, even with gloves on. With its svelte, yet strong carbon shaft, aluminum locking system and ball-bearing baskets that automatically adjust to the incline, these sticks are perfect for those long days off-piste that involve touring, traversing and bootpacking. Komperdell also has a three year, no-questions-asked warranty, so feel free to put these poles through the gauntlet this winter.
The Tecnica Cochise 105 DYN was made for hard-charging women who want to rock the uphill and absolutely slay the downhill. A 42-degree range of motion in walk mode and pin-tech toe inserts make these boots the perfect option for a smooth touring ascent while a stiff 105 flex allows for responsive downhill performance. Tecnica’s customizable C.A.S. shell and liner also allow for a personalized fit that’ll keep you comfortable whether you’re taking your first steps at 7 a.m. or arriving back at your car at dusk.
The Kingpin features a tech toe-piece with a standard downhill heel piece resulting in a binding that allows for efficient uphill touring with the feel and downhill performance of an alpine binding. The Kingpin 13 boasts six steel springs in the toe to absorb energy, while the spring-loaded heelpiece provides the retention and power transmission many traditional twin-pin heel pieces lack. A switch between the toe and heel transitions from ski to tour mode, and three climbing aids—zero, seven and 13 degrees–help you adjust the binding based on the terrain beneath your feet.
The Poacher R.A.S. 32L from Dakine is the backcountry-specific pack every woman needs for her next big-line pursuit. Boasting a women’s-specific fit, the Poacher R.A.S. is 32 liters of storage gold, which includes dedicated avalanche tool storage and a back panel-accessible main compartment. The pack can carry your skis both diagonally and A-frame-style, it’s compatible with Mammut’s Removable Airbag System 3.0 (sold separately) and features Dakine’s exclusive RollTop airbag closure, which ups the durability of the deployment compartment without sacrificing reliable inflation.
When the day is deep the Alvier HS Hooded Jacket from Mammut will keep you dry and warm. Its three-layer Gore-Tex shell and C-knit lining technology—which is waterproof, windproof, super breathable and soft to the touch—are an ideal combination for those long days in the backcountry. The ultra-lightweight hardshell boasts two hand and chest pockets as well as pit zippers to dump heat on those long tours. A detachable powder skirt, helmet-compatible hood and snaps that attach to the Alvier HS Soft Bib Pants provide extra protection for when the wind starts whipping.