The Best Backcountry Skis of 2024

The Best Backcountry Skis of 2024

In this category, you’ve got to get up to get down, and these category winners keep you steady in both directions. The descent is only half the journey—it’s the climb that defines your tracks.

Atomic Backland 95

Lengths 161, 169, 177, 185 cm
DIM 128-95-116 mm
Radius 18 m @ 177 cm

Open Atomic’s almost 300-page product catalog and you’ll notice what the company is prioritizing these days. Beneath beautiful imagery from the Austrian Alps, Atomic’s home where glaciers saw a new record mass loss for a single year in 2022, the company calls for radical action on the climate crisis. Atomic is committed to reducing its environmental impact, and it shows when they headline their entire product line with a touring ski. Two years ago, the Backland 85 became the first ski in its range to undergo a lifecycle assessment (LCA), a scientific tool validated by a third party that paints an accurate picture of a product’s impact, from raw material extraction to end of life treatment. The biggest culprit? Raw materials with fiberglass and resin components contributing most to the ski’s overall carbon footprint. Atomic’s designers started from scratch, seeking new tools to develop three lower-impact prototypes while always focusing on improving on-snow performance. 


Blizzard Hustle 11

Lengths 164, 172, 180, 188, 192 cm
DIM 139-112-129 mm 
Radius 19 m @ 180 cm
Weight 3700 g/pr @ 188 cm

Plato once said that compromise is the downfall of civilization. We can assume he was referring to the compromise of weight and stability in backcountry skis. Well, did he actually say this? No…But does Blizzard have a solution to the age-old dilemma? Indeed they do. Most planks made for the backcountry are lightweight but tremble when you charge downhill, or they hold but on the descent, but it feels like you’re towing an anchor on the way up. Enter the Hustle 11. Blizzard’s 114-mm underfoot, backcountry weapon trades in the metal for Carbon DRT support, meaning you get a resort-style charging ski that can travel deep into the mountains. Think of it like Charles Barkley in 1992; all the power without the extra pounds. While the Hustle 11 is slightly heavier than other backcountry models on this list, its stability on the downhill makes it worth it. Grab a pair of Hustle 11s and finally enjoy a ski that balances, not compromises, weight and performance.

Dynastar M-Tour 108

Lengths 171, 179, 187 cm
DIM 134-106-124 mm @ 171 cm
Radius 18 m @ 171 cm
Weight 2700 g/pr @ 171 cm

Developed in the big mountain mecca that is Chamonix and the French Alps, Dynastar’s M-Tour line is the product of dedication and love in one of skiing’s strongholds. The M-Tour 108 stands as the do-it-all workhorse of the group. Few other skis can balance agility, stability and weight like this one can. Using full sidewall construction, you can be confident that your edge control will be supreme when conditions are less than desired. Perhaps the most attractive feature of this ski is the hybrid core, composed of poplar wood and PU, a material Dynastar blends in for remarkable dampness and weight reduction. 108-mm underfoot will ensure that when the flakes fall, you’ll be surfing with ease. For a lightweight backcountry ski, it will charge as good or better than many similar offerings. Big lines, untouched trees, cliffs and more are at your fingertips on the M-Tour 108. 

Scott Pure Tour 100

Lengths 170, 178, 186 cm
DIM 131-98-120 mm
Radius 17 m @ 178 cm

The all-new Scott Pure Tour 100 was built on two principles seemingly guiding the ski market these days: versatility and sustainability. The ski shows how the two trends work in harmony—when your skis do more, you need fewer of them. And if a ski manufacturer can make fewer skis, the less waste created. While it’s hard to make a ski for a variety of different skiers, the Scott Pure Tour 100 (and the Scott Pure Tour 90) aims to please a broad audience without alienating its core consumer. Scott might have nailed the versatility trifecta: shorter radius, longer rocker and wider tip. As the only ski in Scott’s Re-source line that includes goggles, gloves and outerwear, the Scott Pure Tour made the cut in terms of recycled, bio-based and/or renewable materials certified by third parties and representing a minimum of 50 percent more eco-responsible materials by weight. 


Faction Agent 3

Lengths 172, 178, 183, 188 cm 
DIM 134-106-124 mm
Radius 21 m @ 183 cm
Weight 1750 g/ski

Faction went ahead and did y’all a favor when the veteran design team in Austria developed the Agent 3. A FREESKIER-favorite year after year, the Agent 3 continues to top the list because of its lightweight-yet-chargey construction. A karuba wood core gives the Agent 3 a responsive flex while a carbon weave accounts for the ski’s rigidity and stability, making it an absolute dream ski on both the up and down—if touring is your thing. For those seeking a light all-mountain ski for downhill ripping, the 106-mm waist width and 21 m turn radius will take you through the deepest days, leftover chunder and icy hardpack with the same calm, cool and collected style, day after day. Just take it from the President of Pit Viper, Dave Bottomley, “The approachable construction makes this ski pretty damn fun.”

Fischer Transalp 98 CTI

Lengths 155, 162, 169, 176, 183 cm
DIM 133-98-118 mm @ 176 cm
Radius 22 m @ 176 cm
Weight 1430 g/ski

It’s not a phase, Mom. The freeride touring craze is here to stay. For adrenaline junkies looking for a pleasurable downhill experience but do not want to sacrifice ascent performance—enter Fisher’s Transalp 98 CTI. Its lightweight paulownia wood core with carbon stringers and Shaped TI Technology provides a light, torsional stiff ski with optimal edge hold. Speaking of weight savings, Transalp 98 CTI is made with Fisher’s Air Tec wood core—a milled structure that makes the core 25 percent lighter without compromising its performance on the up and down. The carbon and Titanal layup will give you the confidence to shred subpar snow while remaining light on the skin track. Hitting the sweet spot with its 98-mm waist width, Transalp 98 CTI is ideal for those looking to harvest spring corn and rip a mid-winter storm on one setup.

La Sportiva Tempo

Lengths 164, 179, 190 cm
DIM 129-103-119 mm @ 179 cm
Radius 18 m @ 179 cm
Weight 1800 g/ ski

The Tempo from La Sportiva is for those who embark on long skin tracks toward heavenly conditions. With these rockets under your feet, you won’t feel bogged down or drained at the top of your line. The lightweight paulownia wood core pairs with the ski’s full sidewall construction, like an outstanding Cabernet, and whatever food pairs well with a Cabernet. With a tip of 129-mm, the Tempo thrives in deeper snow and can lay a pow turn with the best of them. However, the full-length sidewalls and a waist width of 103-mm give the ski brilliant edge control and confidence on variable snow. Clocking in at a mere 1800 g, this ski is a lightweight tool for the backcountry athlete who craves long days and technical turns through steep couloirs. 

Rossignol Escaper 97 Nano

Lengths 161, 169, 177, 185 cm
DIM 126-97-116 mm 
Radius 17 m @ 169 cm
Weight 2500 g/pr @ 169 cm

The Escaper 97 Nano lives up to its name. With a lightweight construction, Rossignol’s signature Air Tip, V-Skin Anchor for easy touring skin application and a boatload of other technology, this ski checks all the boxes for the backcountry enthusiast. Whether it’s your first season going beyond the resort or you’re a seasoned veteran, Rossignol’s Escaper 97 Nano caters to all. Its dimensions are best suited for spring missions or lower tide seasons but can also be effective for routes that call for technical turns and descents. Razor-thin Titanal inserts, 0.4-mm thick to be exact, give an extra confidence boost for the charge downhill. Tester Heidi Lauterbach gave us the inside scoop, saying, “Easy ups and nimble downs are the name of this ski’s game. The dimensions worked for variable conditions and would translate well in powder.” Free yourself from the shackles of the lift lines this season with the Escaper 97 Nano.

Salomon QST Echo 106

Lengths 157, 165, 173, 181, 189 cm
DIM 139-106-126 mm 
Radius 19 m @ 181 cm
Weight 1760 g/ski @ 180 cm

Cody Townsend trusts it, enough said. The QST Echo 106 is the backcountry ski of choice for many on Salomon’s stacked lineup. Tedious uphills, Mach 10 descents, technical hop turns and more; the Echo provides. Salomon utilizes a karuba and poplar core with basalt fibers for a stable ride without the weight of the traditional QST. Its 106-mm waist width gives this ski unmatched versatility. From crust to powder, you’ll be happy and confident on the QST Echo. Tester Owen Shin was happier than a Texan at a NASCAR race after his first run on these baddies. Shin says, “The Echo is the first pair of backcountry skis I’ve been able to use to ski a line the way I want to, without the flimsy or chattery feel of classic touring skis. It’s a backcountry quiver killer that rips!” If you need a stable ride on challenging lines, the QST Echo 106 calls.

Völkl Blaze 82

Lengths 159, 166, 173, 180 cm
DIM 125-82-107 mm 
Radius 15 m @ 173 cm
Weight 1455 g/ski @ 173 cm

Sometimes bigger is not better. A slender and agile ski, Völkl’s Blaze 82 proves that you don’t always need a boat of a ski to have a great day on the hill. The most nimble of the Blaze lineup, this ski is best suited in low tide. It can’t always be a powder day! When the snow isn’t stacking up, you need a ski to overcome the challenge and give you edge control and tight turns. That’s precisely what the Blaze 82 delivers. The suspension tip and tail allow easy turn initiation, and the Hybrid Multilayer core saddles up on more firm conditions. You won’t notice it on the uphill, as the Blaze 82 delivers edge control and low weight in one package. This nimble twig is ideal for the backcountry and resort skiers who hunger for quick turns in trees and steeps.

Weston Skyline

Lengths 160, 168, 176, 184 cm
DIM 125-94-111 mm @ 176 cm
Radius 17 m @ 176 cm
Weight 900 g/ski @ 176 cm

Weston is a small company with a grand reputation. Since 2012, they’ve produced fantastic backcountry products that improve year after year. The Skyline is the most recent addition to their lineup of skis, and while it might be a new offering, it can already compete with the best of them. Our testers found the Skyline responsive and stable but impressively light for an easy trek uphill. It’s more freeride-oriented than many touring skis, so this could be your savior if you see yourself seeking out cliffs and more prominent lines in the backcountry. The rockered tip keeps you floating on deeper days, and the 3.5-mm camber ensures edge hold when needed. “A nice balance of lightweight and stiff, the Skyline won’t disappoint. Best suited for cranking big lines mid-winter and harvesting corn in the Spring,” wrote stoked tester Shane Fuhrman. The Skyline is an excellent tool for those looking to push it on the resort and head into the backcountry.

WNDR Alpine Nocturne 88

Lengths 166, 172, 178, 184 cm
DIM 117-88-108 mm 
Radius 19 m @ 178 cm
Weight 1500 g/ski @ 178 cm

Bridging the gap between freeride and mountaineering, opening up the “Free-mo” category dubbed by legend Pep Fujas, WNDR Alpine introduced a new ski in their lineup—the Nocturne 88. If you like dark starts, hut trips and long expeditions but still like to have fun on the way down, this is the tool for you. The Nocturne 88’s nominal weight allows you to go the distance while also featuring a freeride-oriented geometry. The slightly rockered tail, progressive mount point and medium turn radius (19 m @ 178 cm) enable a freeride-inspired approach to technical terrain. An aluminum tail block is added to easily penetrate stubborn snowpack on the skin track or set up a ski anchor. Aided by its stability-enhancing algal core and wall, these attributes enable balanced hop turns and swift descents from those lines you’ve been scoping out for years.