Last winter, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa returned to true form shredding huge lines from British Columbia to Norway, and many places in between. When it comes to deciding what he straps on his feet for those descents, Sage chooses Atomic skis – namely the backcountry freeride-oriented Backland 107 and 117 skis and the Hawx XTD 130 boots. These tools come from years of development, refining materials, shapes, and ride characteristics to arrive at what Sage calls the best skis and boots he has ever ridden.
From piste to powder, Atomic has a full line up of skis but these three are Sage’s go-to models and his favorites. He says, “I spend most of my season on the Backland 117, but really enjoy the flotation of the Bent Chetler 120 and then in the spring time or if I’m on a long tour, the 107 is light, nimble, and can still charge.”
For Sage, the Backland 117 is the ultimate freeride powder ski. Jeff Cricco photo.
Backland 117 Ski
Atomic’s Backland 117 ski is a hard-charging big mountain ski built for skiers like Sage. Combining expertise from producing lively yet powerful big-mountain skis like the long-lived Bent Chetler and the older Automatic with lighter materials and an eye for human-powered lines, the Backland 117 proves to be one of the best skis for climbing up and charging down big lines in deep snow. He mounts it with the Shift binding.
Sage’s take: “With the Backland 117, this ski is my dedicated charger. Tried and true, I spend most of my season on it. It can handle anything from backcountry to resort, and I love how it blasts through chunder and is super stable at high speed. For mounting point, I go +3 from recommended to make the ski a bit more playful. This puts the mounting point about 2-3cm behind true center.”
Bent Chetler 120
The Bent Chetler has been Atomic’s freeski line-up longer than any other ski. Even after countless iterations, this has remained true to being a dedicated freestyle ski for deep powder. Sage loves its ability to spin, pop, butter, and still charge at speed. He mounts it with the Shift binding.
Sage’s take: “The new Bent is my favorite one to date. It has amazing floatation and can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. I use it primarily for backcountry skiing on the deep days. I go with the factory recommended mount on these.”
Sage rips a couloir on the Atomic Backland 107 high above the Norwegian sea. Ming T. Poon photo.
Backland 107 Ski
When it comes time for missions like the many foot-powered couloirs he joined Ian Mcintosh and Christina Lustenberger on in Norway, Sage opts for the Backland 107 ski. This super-lightweight rig is the little brother to Backland 117, offering better touring performance for big days in the mountains. When it comes time to rip, Sage trusts the ski to charge in all kinds of conditions. He mounts it with the Shift binding.
Sage’s take: “The Backland 107 is hyper light with a flatter tail so has a more directional nature. It’s great for spring or firm days, and ideal ski for long missions.”
Hawx XTD 130 Boot
While Sage might enjoy a quiver of skis for the whole winter, he sticks to one pair of boots all season long – the Atomic Hawx XTD 130. This four-buckle 130 flex ski boot is an ultralight, stiff and no-compromise solution to the alpine vs. touring boot dilemma. It comes with tech fittings, so skiing with a binding like the Atomic Shift or other pin bindings is hassle-free. Of course, it also works with traditional alpine bindings. Now in its second iteration, the new boot features lighter buckles and an improved (stiffer and more comfortable) stock liner. Atomic uses heat-moldable plastic to dial in the fit of both the shell and liner. They are a true one-boot quiver for hard-charging skiers that spend equal amounts of time both in and out of bounds.
Sage’s take: “These are made for touring but can handle hard charging - this is the best ski boot I’ve ever owned. It has adjustable forward lean, so if you’re like me and want extra performance, I max out the lean (ski racer roots) add a booster strap and I also use Sure Foot custom foam injected liners due to my messed up (custom) feet. I used this boot 100% of my season and was so happy on its versatility and performance in all conditions resort and touring.”