The Freeskier crew has descended upon Silverton, CO for some serious product testing this week, and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Silverton Sick Days, an event hosted by Bent Gate Mountaineering out of Golden, CO, has provided us with the ideal terrain and Mother Nature has blessed us with stellar conditions to test all of the newest backcountry boots and bindings that debuted just two weeks ago at the SIA Snow Show in Denver.
With the growing popularity and diversity of the backcountry category, we knew we needed to get these products out and into the terrain they were meant for—providing us a chance to put the gear to the true test. Backcountry boots and bindings are made to do similar things, with different variations aimed at different skier types. For this reason, we’ve utilized the gear for different types of skiing each day; this way each boot and binding has a chance to shine at what it does best (or show us that it can do it all).
Before heading down to Silverton, all the reviewers headed to Bent Gate in Golden to get properly fitted. Our first day was resort skiing with inbounds hiking at Silverton Mountain. The term “resort skiing” is used loosely here, as anybody who has been to Silverton knows that the terrain is not for the faint of heart. We we’re stoked to have bluebird conditions as we tested out hiking capabilities of the new boots as compared to their downhill performance. The second day wasn’t quite as blue, as we focused on alpine performance, with our pilot Jason making sure we got promptly to the top of our runs by way of his Astar B3 heli which was doing the heavy lifting—nothing like skiing with a chauffeur. Our final day was spent alpine touring on Red Mountain Pass to see what can get up as well as it can get down.
Brands on hand for our review included Dalbello, Head, Tyrolia, Scarpa, Dynafit, Black Diamond, Marker, Atomic, G3, Scott, Salomon and Roxa. The Freeskier staff has been hammering on the equipment with the help of a few trusted rippers who will also be lending their opinions. The addition of this boot-and binding-specific review this year will continue to evolve our mission of providing you, our readers, with the most in-depth and up-to-date analysis of all the newest gear.