McNutt rides the Atomic Bent Chetler 120 in the backcountry. Jeff Cricco photo.
Skiers in 1955 had skis, boots, and bindings, but that's just about the only similarity between then and now. Since then, there have been revolutions in ski, boot, and binding technology, rendering yesterday's gear almost unrecognizable. Atomic has been around for it all, which might account for the brand's progressive attitude, as evidenced by products like the Shift binding. As technology has evolved, the ski world has moved towards increased specialization: Skis, boots, and bindings are developed with particular disciplines in mind, which is great as long as one knows how to choose the right gear. However, it's not always easy to parse, so we've put together a cheat sheet for backcountry powder-hounds, inbounds freeriders, and the grom squad:
When your day of skiing involves 8 hours of hiking broken up by a handful of powder turns, you'll want a ski that is both wide and light. Designed in collaboration with TGR's own Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, the Backland 107 checks both of those boxes. Weighing a mere 1550g per 182cm ski, the Backland is light enough to take touring, and wide enough to handle all but the deepest and lightest powder conditions.
Similarly to touring skis, touring boots often involve a compromise between weight and flex. A light boot is great for the up, but is often lacking on the down. Atomic's Backland Pro boot prioritizes weight over downhill performance, but still holds its own during the descent. Weighing just over a kilogram per boot, they'll keep your legs fresh for ripping those 50-meter-radius pow turns.
Backcountry skiing is a gear-intensive pursuit. From safety gear to extra layers, tourers often find themselves with overstuffed backpacks. We can't guarantee that this backpack will improve your ability to pack efficiently for a day out of bounds, but we can say that it fits a lot of stuff. Featuring lightweight construction and numerous touring-specific features, it's a solid choice for day trips or short overnight missions.
If your perfect day of skiing involves cruising around the mountain looking for features to jump and jib on, the Bent Chetler 100 should be on your shortlist of skis to check out. It's stiff and damp enough to handle high speeds and stomp landings, but soft enough for serious buttering. It might not stat afloat in the deepest conditions, but for anything else it's a veritable quiver-killer.
If you're looking for a boot that is stiff enough for stomping flat landings onto hardpack, but also has a robust walk-mode and tech inserts, look no further than the Atomic Hawx XTD 130. It weighs 1420 grams per boot, which, while roughly twice as much per boot as the Backland Pro, is still pretty darn light. Tim Durtschi skis this boot, so you know it's stiff and durable as well.
Wearing a helmet is recommended whenever you're skiing, but it's especially important when you're catching air and nuking on firm snow. The Atomic Count AMID helmet is warm and comfortable, but also packs a solid roster of safety-focused features into a modestly-priced package. We'd also call it stylish, but there's no accounting for taste.
Kid's skis used to be bad. Like, really bad. Plagued by poor design and construction, the options for young rippers were scant or nonexistent, depending on who you ask. Luckily, times have changed. Perhaps influenced by a strong contingent of underaged senders with deep-pocketed parents, companies have begun selling excellent skis designed for short and light folks. 90mm underfoot might not sound like a lot, but it's more than enough to keep an 80-pound child afloat in deep snow.
Mountains are filled with intermediate/advanced skiers wearing 130-flex boots intended for expert/professional skiers. Presumably, that's because people assume that the most expensive boot is the best boot. While that might be true in some sense, the average skier is best served by a boot with a stiffness that matches their weight and style of skiing, AKA a boot that they can actually flex. In that same vein, the Atomic Redster Jr. 60 boot is great for kids who are on track for a 130-flex boot, but haven't cultivated the requisite mass quite yet.
There's no better way to ensure that your kid never wants to go skiing again than to drag them out onto the hill wearing inadequate gear. Goggles don't get the same attention as skis, boots, and outerwear, but we'd argue that they are equally important. Have you ever tried skiing with foggy goggles? It sucks. These goggles might be designed for small faces, but they are designed with the quality and features one would expect from an adult's goggle.
Greetings, TGR readers, and welcome to our 2019 Holiday Gear Giveaway! This year, we've teamed up with a bunch of our favorite brands to give you the opportunity to win some free stuff. With both ski season and the holidays coming in hot, there's never been a better time to acquire gear at the low cost of free-fifty. Each day, we'll be adding a new giveaway to the list, so make sure to check back regularly. Click here for full terms and conditions. Day 1: K2's Mindbender 130 Boots
The app features chats to help you find new friends on the mountain. Skibuds image. Ever make it to the mountain on a pow day hours before your friends do? We’re all about friends on a powder day, so we know that can sometimes get a bit lonely. Enter SkiBuds, a new app that promises to connect you with your new best friend on the mountain. It’s kind of like Tinder, but for skiers and snowboarders. Disclaimer: what happens during après with your new friend is entirely up to you. RELATED: