New Gear for Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding
Winter is right around the corner. There have already been significant snowfall events across the country, including in Lake Tahoe, our neck of the woods! If you’re like us, you’re counting down the days until you can hit the skintrack and start making turns. Now’s the time to pull out your gear and make sure that you’re ready for winter backcountry skiing. There’s lots of new gear hitting the shelves of Tahoe Mountain Sports this winter. Here’s a peek at some of the new backcountry skiing and riding gear that we are excited about for the 2019/2020 winter season. Be sure to stop by Tahoe Mountain Sports if you’re in the Truckee Tahoe area to check out what’s new and get connected with the human-powered snowsport community!
I’m interested in:
Backcountry Skis and Splitboards
The first thing you notice about a pair of Icelantic Skis is that they are gorgeous. Travis Parr, co-founder and art director of Icelantic, has created all of the original artwork for the skis topsheets since day one. There’s so much more to love about these skis, beyond their unique aesthetic. There’s the fact that each ski is handmade in the USA with high-quality materials and they are so. much. fun. At the core of this ski company is the idea of a #returntonature, a concept that should resonate with every backcountry skier and rider. Above all, Icelantic wants you to get outside, get your heart pumping, listen, breathe, and simply connect. We are excited to add the Nomad Lite 105 and the Mystic 97 to our ski touring fleet this winter. You’ll fall in love with these fun, lightweight, beautiful skis.
WNDR Alpine is raising the bar for sustainable gear and design in the outdoor industry. They wanted to avoid the slew of environmentally harmful, toxic chemicals and materials involved in ski manufacturing and so they developed a new algae-based composite. That’s right, these skis are made from microalgae, a renewable, biological resource! WNDR keeps it local. The materials that make up their skis are designed in Berkeley, CA and then taken to Salt Lake City, UT, where design, testing, and manufacturing happens. Another notable feature of these skis is that they are unisex! No “shrink and pink it” happening over here…
Your favorite backcountry charger is back with a complete overhaul in design. This year’s Zero G 95 and the new Zero G 105 have new shapes, sidecuts, and rocker profiles. Notable redesigns include Carbon drive 2.0 which makes these skis more playful and responsive than the older versions, and shallower tip and tail rocker. The biggest difference between the previous and current models is weight. The Zero G 105 is 100g lighter than it’s predecessor, the Zero G 108, which makes it the lightest backcountry ski in its class.
The Westen Backwoods is designed for the splitboarder who want a versatile powder shape. It excels in all conditions, from tight trees to steeps, but it’s tapered shape and 10 mm setback really make this board want to float. So, why should you buy this board? Well, if it’s versatile performance isn’t enough, consider that 10% of profits from the backwoods splitboard are donated to the National Forest Foundation to support our National Forests! Westen also donates 1% of its total sales to offset its carbon footprint. We love that this company values public land and giving back to the community that supports human-powered snow sports.
Backcountry Ski Boots
The new Scarpa Maestrale XT toes the line between an uphill touring and downhill powerhouse. At 1490 g (size 27), it’s slightly heavier than the Scarpa Maestrale RS that you’ve come to know and love but that weight gain is worth the added performance benefits. This boot can charge. It’s designed for folks who may have owned the Scarpa Freedom and loved the resort-oriented, freeride performance of that hybrid boot. It is the stiffest boot in the Maestrale line (130 flex) and has a different buckle construction which helps the boot achieve a nice progressive flex. The Maestrale XT offers that same powerful, freeride performance as the older Freedom in a WAY lighter package that is designed to excel uphill as well as downhill.
The Hoji Free is another downhill oriented touring boot that we are excited about for the 2019/2020 season. The updated Hoji has a greater forward lean, a modified heel, and a flex of 130. It’s designed for performance, from the downhill oriented updates to a new thermo-moldable liner from Sidas which cradles the foot on the up and down. It’s also compatible with hybrid bindings like the Salomon Shift and Marker Kingpin so you can feel confident taking this boot into the backcountry or out at the resort. At 1550 g, the Hoji Free belongs in the same category as the Scarpa Maestrale XT – downhill performance-oriented alpine touring boots.
A 200 g binding??? Yes, get ready for huge days in the mountains with this ultralight binding underfoot. The Helio is easy to use, lightweight and has a simple lateral and vertical release adjustment with a DIN range of 5-10. This binding is perfect for skimo or for someone building an ultralight backcountry set up.
Helmets and Goggles
“Stronger. Lighter. Better” is the core guiding philosophy of Sweet Protection, an outdoor gear company based in Norway. Sweet Protection was founded by a tight-knit group of skiers, riders, cyclists, and paddlers, looking to make the best helmets and apparel available. Their helmets and goggles are crafted with the industries leading technologies and innovations to deliver the safest and highest performing products to their customers. Like many other companies that are made up of outdoor enthusiasts, they have a strong environmental record and strive to use eco-friendly materials whenever possible. They are also exploring more environmentally friendly shipping and packaging materials for 2020.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Tahoe Mountain Sports will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Affiliate commissions help fund the content for this blog.
Get ready for winter! Check out our Ultimate Guide to Backcountry Skiing.
Former park ranger turned writer/marketer. Always down for a sufferfest, as long as it ends with ice cream. Favorite activities include backcountry skiing, trail running, and backpacking.