Gear Guide: The Best Backcountry Ski Touring Gear For 2017-18
What was once a core sport for a committed niche audience has been garnering mass appeal at a rapid rate in recent years. Backcountry skiing – or ski touring – appeals to so many because it offers something more than the prescribed experiences we are so regularly spoon-fed these days. Escaping from the confines of the ski resort, strapping on your skins and hiking off into the hills on ski provides us with a rich adventure, a delicious taste of the mountain wilderness, and an opportunity to reap the rewards of our hard work and dreamy fresh tracks.
As winter begins to unravel her powdery white blanket across the high places on our planet – and in an effort to contain our own excitement before our next trip to the mountains – we thought it would be worth taking a look at what’s new in the world of backcountry skiing for the 2016/17 season.
Christmas lists at the ready folks, here we go.
Boots and Bindings
Arc’teryx Procline Carbon
A serious boot for serious ski mountaineers, the new Procline is a hybrid boot designed to perform on both alpine climbs and technical ski descents.
£580 | arcteryx.com
La Sportiva Sparkle
The lightest four buckle alpine touring boot on the market, the highly-rated women’s-specific Sparkle combines a super efficient walk mode with a stiff forward flex for ultimate downhill performance.
£490 | mountainspirit.co.uk
G3 ION 12
The highly rated multi award-winning ION is one of the most user-friendly tech bindings on the market. Easy to get on yet super stable on the descent, the ION does it all and it does it exceptionally well.
£385 | mountainspirit.co.uk
Skis and Skins
Dynastar Mythic 97
This lightweight carbon-enhanced touring ski not only excels on the uphill, it charges on the descent too. The Mythics bust through variable snow, are easy to manoeuver in tight couloirs, hold a rigid edge when needed and generally inspire confidence in all manner of conditions.
£655 | mountainspirit.co.uk
The Sphinx is a brand new women’s specific touring ski optimised for both uphill adventures and downhill performance. At 1,620 grams and 96mm underfoot, the Sphinx handles tough backcountry ascents with ease and delivers a stable ride to cruise powder and drive through crud.
£520 | dynafit.com
G3 Scala Skins
These innovative new climbing skins promise to deliver improved trail-breaking efficiency and glide from the tip thanks to an extended TPU section. First to the top gets fresh tracks so get some Scalas on your skis quick snappy.
£159 | mountainspirit.co.uk
Ski Touring Apparel
Patagonia Refugitive Jacket and Pant
Lightweight and durable, waterproof and breathable, this 3-layer GORE-TEX pairing is designed to deliver in the backcountry, no matter what conditions the mountain has in mind.
£360 and £320 | eu.patagonia.com/enGB/home
Haglofs Touring Proof Jacket & Touring Active Pant
Optimised for backcountry travel, the Touring range from Haglofs is designed to facilitate uphill activity and to provide excellent protection from the elements. All the products in the range combine top-quality materials with minimalistic design.
£300 and £250 | cotswoldoutdoor.com
Packs and Poles
Patagonia SnowDrifter 30L
Perfect for day-long or overnight mountain missions, the SnowDrifter is packed full of backcountry-specific features including a dedicated compartment for snow safety tools.
£120 | eu.patagonia.com/enGB/home
G3 Via Carbon Ski Pole
Light and adjustable, this backcountry specific pole may weigh next to nothing but it is stiff and durable as all hell. Packed full of touring features such as side-hill grip position and an asymmetric powder basket.
£120 | mountainspirit.co.uk
Helmets and Headbands
Salomon MTN Lab Helmet
Incredibly light and exceptionally comfortable, you’ll barely know you’re wearing the MTN Lab helmet, let alone carrying it. Rapidly becoming a must-have product for ski mountaineers as it meets safety norms for both alpine skiing and mountaineering.
£120 | salomon.com/uk
Dynafit Hand Crochet Headband
Perfect for cold winter skins as it keeps your ears warm yet lets the effort perspire through the top of your head, this headband from the touring industry leader functions perfectly and does it with style.
€35 | dynafit.com
Goggles and Glasses
Electric Electrolite Goggles
The lightest goggle on the market, the Electrolite will appeal to backcountry users wanting to save weight wherever they can. The frame may be feather-light but these goggles still pack a punch when it comes to durability and features such as the dual cylindrical thermoformed lens that reduces fogging and unwanted glare.
£124.95 | absolute-snow.co.uk
Cébé Jorasses Sunglasses
Lightweight and durable, the Jorasses come with light reactive Photochromatic lenses and side protection to block out intense high mountain light and glare.
£77 | cebe-eyewear.co.uk
Safe and Sound
BCA Tracker 3 Avalanche Transceiver
The lowest profile transceiver on the market, the multi-antenna Tracker 3 comes with a real time digital display, multiple burial indicator light and a 50 meter range. Practice with it. Then practice again.
£249.95 | freezeproshop.com
BCA Shaxe Speed Avalanche Snow Shovel
It’s two for one time with this avalanche rescue shovel that doubles as an ice axe. The Shaxe Speed also comes with hardware to convert skis with tip and tail holes into a rescue sled. Partner it with a probe and an avalanche transceiver and get practicing.
£109.95 | freezeproshop.com If talk of all this shiny new gear has you a little excited for the upcoming season then it’s time to start planning your ski touring trip. Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned expert, we offer itineraries to seriously special backcountry destinations with some of the best touring terrain on the planet. Give us a call and let’s get this uphill show on the road…