My Ski Gear Reviews

Carving Skis

For carving, I still love a narrow cambered ski, and in this regard Dynastar's Speed Course Ti can't be beat. Alpine Touring and Ski Mountaineering offerings continue to expand. K2's Wayback is versatile and light—though not as solid in tough snow as I'd hoped. Blizzard's Cochise is unquestionably the All-Mountain wave of the future.

All-Mountain Skis

It remains premature to declare cambered skis dead, but non-rockered skis are increasingly found only on the feet of racers, or those who haven't yet tried rocker. For deep snow I love the Salmon Czar. All-mountain skiers should check out Volkl's updated (rockered) Mantra. Similarly, with its traditional sidecut, the formerly powder-oriented Gotama looks more and more like a mixed-snow ski.

Big-Mountain/Powder Skis

Backcountry/Touring Skis

Ski Boots

Thanks to stiff competition, performance-oriented backcountry skiers enjoy a range of boot choices that seemed unthinkable only a few years ago. New overlap-construction designs from Garmont and Black Diamond have set the standard for downhill performance while maintaining a viable walk mode for climbing and skinning.

Black Diamond's Freeride/Frontcountry-oriented Factor easily sits atop the performance chart, offering an Alpine-quality ride—albeit for quite a lot of weight. Garmont's Radium isn't far behind on the downhill, and its weight is far more competitive for true Alpine Touring adventures. For ski mountaineering and big mountain tours, Scarpa's Maestrale is the new King of the Hill.

Ski Bindings

The arrival of the Marker Tour heralds a new era in Alpine Touring binding choices. Weighing slighly less than Fritschi's top-of-the-line Freeride Pro, the Tour F12 offers Alpine-caliber release and retention, setting the standard for downhill performance. The Fritschi maintains a climbing advantage on the strength of its pivot point—but for how long, one wonders? Elsewhere in the A/T binding universe, Dynafit has a new update to deal with the stresses of bigger, wider skis.

Ski Poles

Ski Helmets


About SierraDescents

When there is snow, SierraDescents is Andy Lewicky's California backcountry skiing and mountaineering website. Without snow, sierradescents becomes an ill-tempered hiking and climbing blog.

Pray for snow.