All this talk about avalanches makes me want to go backcountry skiing. So I lined up my starter selection for the season. All I need is a golf bag and my kit will achieve perfection not unlike the perfect orb of a new moon rising over the crepe of a fresh snowfall. Or something like that, anyway.
The 178 cm Manaslus are first generation, on their third season now but holding up well because I only use them for mid-winter powder laps. Still my favorite because they’re so light and wide. This setup weighs 69.9 (1980 gr) with ST bindings. 108/95/122
My 171 Trab Duo Freerando are the go-to for the occasional race or attempt at a personal uphilling best. My lightest rig at the moment, 56.2 oz (1590 gr), with pretty much stock TLT grabber other than custom alu top plate on the rear binding unit (one of our cooler projects before Louie went off to design school.) 112/79/96
I like the Black Diamond Stigmas for doing things like a long tour into a hut, then backcountry skiing powder while I’m there. This early pair has a foam core and one weighs 58.9 oz (1668 gr) per ski with stock Dynafit TLT Speed binders. 120/79/106
My favorite all-around backcountry ski last year was the K2 Baker Superlight. With K2 telemark/AT skis re-branded as their “Backside” line, the renamed Baker SL is the Wayback, and that’s my shiny new pair. With Dynafit TLT heel and Ti toe, they scale at 62.6 oz (1774 gr) per ski. This is probably the plank I’ll be using on Denali. It’s not the human powered powder animal a Manaslu, BD Kilowatt or K2 Coomback would be, but the combination of weight/length/performance is what I dig for human powered access to unknown and possibly firmer conditions. 124/88/108
For more ski info, please see our recent backcountry ski reviews.