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Our Favorite Backcountry Gear for 2021

Ski Touring

Line Skis Vision 108 Skis

The Vision 108 is Line’s lightweight (1,605g) all-mountain freeride ski and my everyday tour rig. Line’s combination of Aramid–a strong synthetic common in aerospace and marine applications–carbon fiber and fiberglass, dubbed THC construction, complemented with a paulownia and maple core, creates a damp, yet lively ski. This ski excels in all conditions but where it really shines is its ability to handle variable conditions with ease. Crud, ice, crust, or our favorite here in the PNW, that Cascade concrete—the Vision 108 tames it all effortlessly. Lastly, and in true Line fashion, this ski is just plain fun to ride. Pop, slash, or trench a turn in the cord. The Line Vision 108 should be high on your list for a do-it-all tour ski.

Salomon S​/Lab Shift MNC 13 Alpine Touring Ski Bindings

When thinking about what pair of bindings to write about, I really didn’t have much choice. The Salomon Shift has been my everyday binding, touring or otherwise, for the past several years. Mine are mounted on a pair of Black Crows Corvus Freebirds and they’re my go-to for most days, even at the resort. This makes it incredibly easy to make game-time decisions based on conditions. Whether I decide to ski inbounds all day, go for an all-day tour, or land somewhere in the middle, the Shifts have the solid ski-feel and consistent release of an alpine binding and the walk-ability of a tech binding that makes them perfect for my approach to skiing.


Salomon Pillow Talk Splitboard

This board is my backcountry best friend. In my search for the perfect splitboard, I wanted something that was fun and playful but able to take on wherever my legs take me. This board checks all the boxes. After a long skin up it floats in pow like a dream but it’s also ready for the spicy and tight trails out. Its directional shape gives you the charging power you want, but centered stance and rock-out camber profile keeps it freestyle friendly. The Pillow Talk falls on the softer end but it’s still packed with performance. It’s perfect for the person who wants to ride the deepest powder stashes but also views the mountain as a playground and wants to pop off everything in sight. The included pre-cut Pomoca skins are a huge bonus! I highly recommend this board for the freestyle-focused playful rider who is venturing beyond the resort.

Burton Hitchhiker Splitboard Bindings

Dreams. Burton pretty much upgraded Sparks with the parts you were gonna change halfway through the season, making these the best splitboard bindings available. Floppy highbacks have been swapped for something a bit stiffer. The straps are legit, and the buckles solid. Think of these as dialed and Burton-branded Frankenbindings—pro-level click-clackers from the secret menu. They are light, durable, and most importantly: simple. Feel free to approach your transitions one-handed and half-hearted; it doesn’t matter anymore. Really. The T1 baseplate solved splitboarding, so you can save your product-debate breath for the climbs. These bindings allow you to transition while wearing your gloves and having a mellow conversation instead of frantically racing against frostbite, blood dripping off your bare knuckles, as your weather window wanes and conditions spiral into iced-over madness. Best split bindings ever!

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