Best Backcountry Skis 2021

Best Backcountry Skis 2021

Published: Oct 31, 2020

Going backcountry skiing means setting off into the wilderness or in an uncontrolled environment, and it is crucial that you find the proper gear to take with you to be able to feel more comfortable while you tackle that wild environment.
Looking for backcountry skis can be complicated, which is why we have come up with a list of the best skis that have a good balance between downhill performance, lightweight and uphill skiing, so you will be able to enjoy and make your time worthwhile on the slopes.

Best Backcountry Skis: Our Quick Answer

 

Go to Comparison Table

Best Overall

1. Black Crows Camox Freebird

Black Crows Camox Freebird

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 133 - 96 - 130mm

Weight: 6.1 lbs/pair

Lengths: 160/166/172/178/183/188 cm

The Camox Freebird has been redesigned by Black Crows to be lighter and livelier. It is an all-around ski that has a tough performance.

What we like about the Black Crows Camox Freebird is that the overall weight is suitable for touring skis. They perform well downhill and can go fast whether in base snow or up on the edge of firmer snow. Their weight helps to keep the skis charging at higher speeds.

The Camox in 183cm length proves to be stable and fast and can float under even bigger skiers. If you want a ski that is light and tight, you can opt to size the Camox down, and for high-speed cruising, you can size them up.

On hard snow, the Camox Freebird performs adequately well; it is softer than most resort groomer skis and is budget friendly. It has decent firm snow performance and grabs well in high consequence terrain. If you downsize the Camox, it would do better on firm snow and will be easier to manage.

On deep, fast or smooth powder snow, the Camox performs excellently well as it'll snap around in short-radius turns. It is also impressive on crud or tough snow. Thus, these skis are versatile enough and adaptable; they are capable for both long and short powder turns.

What we do not like about the Black Crows Camox Freebird is that it is not the lightest; however, its dimensions are appealing, it has a well-balanced downhill performance, it has a firm grip on ice and compressed snow and it floats just right in powder.


 

Best for Kids

2. Sir Francis Bacon Shorty Skis

Sir Francis Bacon Shorty Skis

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 133 - 107 - 129mm

Weight: 3.6 lbs/pair

Lengths: 145/155/165 cm

The Sir Francis Bacon Shorty Skis are from Line Company that was founded in 1995 and also sells ski poles, street wear and various accessories.

What we like about the kids' version of the Sir Francis Bacon skis is that it is capable of launching off from backcountry cliffs and then softly lands in waist-deep snow. It has a symmetrical flex pattern, making it predictable yet playful from tip to tail. Its overall design maximizes control in a range of snow conditions.

The Sir Francis Bacon Shorty skis has an Early Rise rocker type, which increases its lift in deep snow and engages more quickly on hard-packed snow. There are five different radiuses into its sidecut, to allow for a wide variety of turn shapes. Furthermore, the skis' core is made of 100% Aspen wood for a light and nimble feel, it has a 4D Fibercap construction for durability and a high density base to reduce friction against the snow for more speed and durability.

What we do not like about the Sir Francis Bacon Shorty skis is that it is not suitable for beginners and early intermediate young rippers and better suits little shredders with an advanced to expert ski level. In conclusion, these are good playful skis that are versatile and capable enough in a backcountry environment.


 

3. Elan Sky QS Ski

Elan Sky QS Ski

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 101 - 69 - 90mm

Weight: 5 lbs/pair

Lengths: 70/80/90/100/110/120cm

The Elan Sky QS are an adorable pair of skis that are suitable for toddlers to young kids that are just about to start their skiing journey.

What we like about the Sky QS is that it has a light and forgiving design. It comes equipped with an Early Rise Rocker that helps with smooth and effortless turns and increases the ski's playfulness. Elan integrated a U-flex technology in these skis to make it 25% more flexible and to enable an easy and better learning experience. It has a lightweight Synflex core for optimal flex distribution and keeps the weight down to deliver a smooth and durable ride; it also has a fiberglass reinforcement to enhance torsional rigidity. Furthermore, its Full Power Cap construction and Quick Shift system allows for effortless turns.

What we do not like about the Elan Sky QS skis is that its construction is not ideal for advanced to expert young shredders; however, it will be a great coach for beginners, with its adjustable bindings, flexible construction and striking colors that your kid surely can't resist.


 

4. Faction Candide 2.0 Youth

Faction Candide 2.0 Youth

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 118 - 98 - 126mm

Weight: 2.9 lbs/pair

Lengths: 145/155/165cm

The Faction Candide 2.0 skis are the kids' version of one of their best-sellers, which were created for a pro skier.

What we like about the Candide 2.0 is that they are designed to have a medium-stiff flex pattern, making it soft enough to butter and they also charge as hard as the adult skis. They feature a Directional True Twin shape, which means that they have a skinnier tail width than tip width and allow for faster and better performance downhill. They have a Poplar core, which is a medium-weight, durable softwood that flexes and pops nicely and is capable of absorbing vibration; it also gives the ski enough torsional stability to grip impressively. Additionally, their sidewalls and Micro Cap construction provide stability and awesome edge hold when the ski is engaged in a turn.

What we do not like about the Faction Candide 2.0 for kids is that it is more ideal for advanced to expert young skiers who have grown out of their current ski setup. But overall, this youth version of the Candide is perfectly sized to fit junior rippers, it provides plenty of float and it is a versatile, all-around ski that both children and adults will love.


 

Best for Women

5. Atomic Backland 107 W

Atomic Backland 107 W

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 137 - 107 - 124 mm

Weight: 3.4 lbs/ski

Lengths: 175/182/189 cm

The Atomic Backland 107 is a women-specific backcountry ski that is lightweight and has an incredible powder performance.

What we like about the Backland 107 is that it is super light, with a great balance in material and shaping techniques. It has a very floaty tip and is equipped with Atomic's HRZN Tech, which enables the skis to cut through snow, displace the fluff and create a smoother experience in fresh snow. It charges through fresh, chopped and broken snow like heavier skis. Its wood core is bolstered by a carbon backbone; both are lightweight and provide agility and exceptional edge hold even at higher speeds.

The Backland 107 has a rocker profile, mount point and an odd enough tip shape that would not cause skinning problems, which is often a case with touring skis. Its low tail performs adequately when stabbing into snow during transitions and with its 107mm underfoot, it surprisingly performs well in deep snow. It is pretty consistent on firm snow and has good suspension and edge hold.

It is best in pow and off-piste, it is floaty and stable and very versatile for a backcountry or resort ski. If you combine it with an Atomic Shift binding or something even lighter, you've got a wonderful touring option and you can even go full-alpine with them.

What we do not like about the Atomic Backland 107 W is that it becomes a bit difficult to ski on weird, rough, firm snow; however, it performs well on conditions like chalk, windbuff, and smooth but firm snow and if you stay over the front, it feels pretty damp and stable for its weight.

Overall, the Backland 107 is one of the better touring ski options in its weight class. It is great for making big, fast turns down smooth and firm snow and it is pretty maneuverable.


 

6. Dynafit Beast 98 W

Dynafit Beast 98 W

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 124 - 96 - 115mm

Weight: 3.8 lbs/ski

Lengths: 163/170/177cm

The Dynafit Beast 98 is a pretty impressive and lightweight ski that is suitable for a vast majority of lady backcountry skiers and even for newbie skiers.

What we like about the Dynafit Beast 98 W is that it is definitely a touring ski when it comes to weight and shaping, and has remarkable stability for downhill skiing.
It features a Full Double Ellipse Rocker for playful lightness and control, a Single Radius Sidecut for balance, Poplar Air Flex Core, a Full Carbon Tip to optimize vibration and an impact resistant ABS along the length of the ski edge for maximum force absorption.

In fast powder laps and chopped up pow, the Beast 98 performs how you want it to, with minimal input. It has good dimensions for firm skiing, and has an even flex and torsional rigidity that provides an excellent grab. The Dynafit Beast will provide snappy short turns and parallel tracking in faster turns with a bouncy float and an active smooth edge. Its longitudinal stiffness also provides speeds and longer radius turns. With its excellent construction features, this skis blasts reliably through snow and is favorable in tough snow.

What we do not like about the Dynafit Beast 98 is that it may be a little heavier for most backcountry skiers but if you prefer lighter weight alpine skis, these are a good choice. Furthermore, at lower speeds, you have to work harder to shorten up your turns on these skis.

In conclusion, these are a good all-around backcountry skis that prioritizes downhill performance but also perform adequately uphill. They are readily compatible with Dynafits' Speedskins, which are among the best on the market and only work with Dynafit Skis or heavily modified skis from other brands.


 

7. Armada Trace 98

Armada Trace 98

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 127 - 98 - 119mm

Weight: 3.1 lbs/ski

Lengths: 156/164/172cm

The Armada Trace 98 is another women-specific ski that is focused on being lightweight and maneuverable. It is designed with touring in mind, but it is also suitable for the resort.

What we like about the Armada Trace 98 is that it scores high in quickness and maneuverability. It is responsive to turns, especially on groomed terrain and it is versatile enough for any type of ski conditions. It is designed more for soft snow performance but can also hold its own on firm snow.

It features a Poplar core that is combined with Armada's Adaptive Mesh, which is a variable angle weave that optimizes vibration damping to make the ski more damp and stable without the added weight. With no metal in its construction, it performs surprisingly on groomers too. It has a high level of torsional stiffness and edge hold, despite its lighter weight, and has just enough dampness. For a ski that is designed for sidecountry and backcountry use, we found that these skis can easily make quick turns and that it is really important with regards to performance.

What we do not like about the Armada Trace 98 is that if you want a lot of punch-through power, you might want a heavier ski. However, these are perfect for skiers who would want to ski the resort but are also lightweight enough for touring. They will provide you with a fun experience whether you plan on mounting an AT binding for touring, for the resort or both.


 

Best for Men

8. Blizzard Zero G 105

Blizzard Zero G 105

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 134 - 105 - 120 mm

Weight: 3.6 lbs/ski

Lengths: 164/172/180/188 cm

The Blizzard Zero G 105 may be the wildest ski in the redesigned line of Zero G skis. It is perfect for both downhill rides and steep ascents.

What we like about the Zero G 105 is that its carbon fiber now extends from edge to edge in a large section of the tips and tails and then narrows in the middle of the ski. The design is called, ‘Carbon Drive 2.0,' which allows the skis to be more playful and easily released in fresh snow. It is also constructed with edge to edge, bi-directional carbon plates under the bindings for power transfer underfoot and binding retention. The ends of its tips and tails are fairly easy to bend and its flex ramps up quickly.

For powder skiing, the Zero G 105 performs relatively well and doesn't require maximum effort. It also releases quickly, which allows you to ski smoothly through deep snow. It has the ability to handle variability, it is stable yet playful and totally under control.

In firm steep-skiing situations, the skis have a predictable feel and good edge hold. The Zero G 105 is also user-friendly for tight trees at slow speeds and can perform aggressively at higher speed. It floats well on top of snow; works well on downhill runs and steep ascents and it is fun to ski whether in slow or fast speeds.

What we do not like about the Blizzard Zero G 105 is that it is made for aggressive skiers and is not really suitable for beginners. It also might be too unsteady for hard conditions or icy runs. But overall, the ski is a functional, lightweight and versatile ski that performs well in deep snow, downhill runs and steep ascents and works well in most varied conditions; it is built to float on top of snow and is easily maneuvered in many conditions.


 

9. Black Diamond Helio 105

Black Diamond Helio 105

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 134 - 105 - 119 mm

Weight: 3.4 lbs/ski

Lengths: 165/175/185 cm

Black Diamond has recently introduced their new Helio line of skis, which is designed for dedicated backcountry skiers who prefer both technical precision and soft-snow performance.

What we like about the Black Diamond Helio 105 is that it performs well on the downhill and its weight and length allows the skis to be stable at speed. It's longitudinal and the torsional stiffness of its carbon fiber construction makes it even more stable even in tight trees and can be thrown around easily. The flex pattern of the ski ramps up smoothly from the tips; it has a solid platform underfoot and softens slightly through the tail. Its tails are quite stiff but are appreciated in high-consequence terrain.

In firm, smooth conditions, the Helio 105 performed well and provided a good deal of effective edge and we found it still predictable even in icy conditions. The skis were also impressive in areas that had been warmed up by the sun; they felt smooth and lacked the chatter that you usually expect from this type of skis.

In about 15 inches of light powder, these skis provided ample float. Their moderate tip and tail rocker made it easy to maneuver in deep snow and provided plenty of fun bouncing in and out of the snow. As for good corn snow, these skis did a pretty good job and did not fall apart when the snow wasn't quite perfect.

What we do not like about the Black Diamond Helio 105 is that it does not hold up well on tough snow and firm snow and is not the most lightweight option. But the bottom line is, these skis do a pretty good job of balancing performance in deep and steep days and are a perfect choice if you want to ski 100% powder snow on giant, untracked wide-open mountains.


 

10. Black Crows Corvus Freebird

Black Crows Corvus Freebird

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 140 - 107 - 119 mm

Weight: 3.9 lbs/ski

Lengths: 175.1cm/183.3cm

The Corvus Freebird is designed to be powerful and versatile in all snow conditions. It is relatively lightweight and holds up pretty well at speed.

What we like about the Corvus Freebird is that it is very stable even at higher speeds, its mass and torsional rigidity allows for a good hard snow carving capability, while its tip to tail edge grip distribution is perfectly balanced.

The skis tracked surprisingly well on hardpack bumps, and the tip rocker kept the skis from getting hung up. It is stable and responsive and we were able to put the ski on edge at higher speeds on smooth groomers; it allowed for a quick edge to edge transition and felt more comfortable when driving the shovels hard. It also allowed us to break the ski out of carve and to shed speed, in cold, deeper snow. Its 109mm waist is large enough to cover deep days and is nimble enough for firmer conditions.

The Corvus Freebird with the combination of the Black Crows Pellis pre-cut skins provides maximum traction and the perfect cut matches the tail-clip perfectly. When the skin is mounted, it creates a satisfying snap.

The tails of the Freebird is modest and just enough to allow them to break free when needed. Its minimal rocker is also nice when skinning, the increased contact and pressure of the tails skins improves grip and makes kick turns pleasurable.

What we do not like about the Black Crows Corvus Freebird is that they are not as capable in sub-optimal and nasty conditions but have more efficient uphill and downhill performance. Overall, these skis are more suitable for skiers who are also super-strong climbers; it is very good for use at high speeds as it is floaty and stable even through tough snow.


 

Best for Powder

11. DPS Tour1 Wailer 112 RP2

DPS Tour1 Wailer 112 RP2

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 141 - 112 - 128mm

Weight: 7.3 lbs/pair

Lengths: 168/178/184cm

The DPS Wailer Tour1 112 RP2 is the new version of the iconic DPS 112 RP and is developed with downhill performance in mind.

What we like about the Wailer 112 Tour1 is that it is made with a balsa wood core and a pre-preg carbon laminate that does not sacrifice its stability and downhill performance. The skis flexed nicely, with a stiff flex in the tail and a softer flex in its forebody, allowing for a smooth and solid feel. It is excellently reliable on soft snow and open terrain, very good for touring and even if it is a backcountry-specific ski, it also performed well in the resort but only in lower speed levels because its construction is still meant for the backcountry.

The Wailer Tour1 felt very smooth and stable at medium speed even in inconsistent snow.

On buffed out, soft snow, the skis stayed on the surface nicely and had a playful and fun feel given its extra width. On softer variables, the skis allow for fast turns around bumps and quick direction changes. Furthermore, the Wailer Tour1 provides good tracking, float and resistance to deflection at high speeds and still is fun in lower speeds at the top of a wide open powder run.

What we do not like about the DPS Tour1 Wailer 112 RP2 is that it didn't perform quite well in firm snow; its low weight also didn't make it a fun ski in cruddy snow and is not a good option on more gnarly and challenging snow conditions. However, if you want a lighter ski that excels in soft snow and performs adequately in firm snow, the Wailer Tour1 is a good option. Its low weight is fantastic for touring and climbs and it is also a fun ski in pow.


 

Best Ultralight Backcountry Ski

12. Black Diamond Helio 88

Black Diamond Helio 88

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 121 - 88 - 111mm

Weight: 3.1 lbs/ski

Lengths: 158/168/178cm

The Black Diamond Helio 88 is commendable for its downhill capabilities and is engineered as an incredible light touring ski.

What we like about the Helio Recon 88 is that it is versatile, grippy and lightweight without sacrificing performance. In terms of its construction, it has an 88mm waist with early rise tip and tail, a redesigned pre-preg carbon fiber layup that improves dampness, torsional stiffness and balanced flex. It has a balsa flax wood core, which is ultra-light and ABS sidewalls for a smoother ride plus it has an ABS tail protector with integrated skin-clip to keep your skins secure.

The Helio Recon 88 holds a stable edge at high speed, it is very lightweight for the uphill and it provides ample float on soft snow powder. Due to its lighter weight and construction, it is efficient in traveling while ascending and works very well on hard-packed snow. It provides plenty of grip in most conditions and gives a snappy rebound on turns. It has a balance of float and flex and is great for spring tours, as it also holds a good edge and floats in overdone snow.

The skis also give you the ability to ski on soft snow and to jump onto hard snow. It is fast while going uphill and stable downhill.

What we do not like about the Black Diamond Helio 88 is that its qualities and construction are more geared towards advanced skiers; it is also not sturdy enough when going full speed and holding an edge. Overall, this is a good choice for advanced backcountry skiers who want a wide range of performance capabilities while traveling in a variety of snow conditions.


 

Best Budget Backcountry Skis

13. Head Kore 93

Head Kore 93

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 133 - 93 - 115mm

Weight: 3.4 lbs/ski

Lengths: 153/162/171/180/189cm

Head has specialized in making heavy skis with a solid race construction for a long time and surprisingly, they have produced the Kore 93, which is significantly lighter than most other skis in its class.

What we like about the Head Kore 93 is that it is an excellent lightweight ski that has no titanal but still holds an edge surprisingly well and performs well in the majority of conditions. The skis initiate turns quickly and easily have a ton of energy throughout its arc; the skis also have the pop when carving a fresh groomer, due to its camber underfoot and Karuba wood core. It also has the ability to transition from edge to edge and makes it easy to adjust your turn and shape width. It is moderately easy to drive and direct through all sorts of crud and does an excellent job staying afloat in soft snow due to its large tip and generous tip rocker. The Kore 93's rocker with the combination of a soft flex pattern in the tip and tail allows it to slash and butter turns in any terrain on a powder day. The skis also provide more float and predictability in soft snow than other skis with the same width underfoot. It is a blast to play around and provides plenty of pop off jumps and super soft landing, and because it is light, it makes it easy to throw around.

The 189cm length of the Kore makes them not ideal for a bump ski but it still was a good ski on most bumps, its tip and tail rocker made it more forgiving and the low swing weight allowed for some quickness. If you choose to open it up and double or air bumps, its 189cm length is fantastic.

What we do not like about the Head Kore 93 is that it lacks stability at very high speeds as it tends to flop around a bit and because of the lack of metal, it does not have that effective dampening capability when challenged in less ideal snow conditions. In conclusion, the Kore 93 feels more at home on soft, natural snow but still can handle any condition with ease; its weight also made it capable of touring the backcountry.


 

14. Volkl Blaze 106

Volkl Blaze 106

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 146 - 106 - 128 mm

Weight: 3.9 lbs/ski

Lengths: 165/172/179/186 cm

Volk has launched a new series, replacing the ‘Eight' series and the Blaze 106 is the replacement for the 100eight skis. Both have similar goals but differ in design, performance and the overall feel.

What we like about the Blaze 106 is that it has a transparent topsheet, which reveals its construction details. It is made with a new Hybrid wood core and you can easily see the vertical laminated strips running through the ski. All the way through the tips and tails and right in the center is a strip of synthetic material that reduces weight and adds to its performance. You'll also find an interestingly shaped sheet of metal underfoot.

The Blaze 106 is equally well suited for skiing inside and outside the resort. It floats very well for its weight and for how wide it is. The skis are also maneuverable even through tight trees and it allows for some quick direction changes, and if you keep a bit of pressure over the shovels, it will do a good job of allowing for some slarved and carved turns.

These skis are also quite stable for its weight; it is predictable and blows through dry, low-density chop well as long as you stay over its shovels, it also seems stable enough for any chop encountered in the backcountry.

On firm, smooth snow, the Blaze 106 will allow for some easy turn initiation, it holds carves quite well and is pretty easy to work with through tight trees and bumps.

What we do not like about the Blaze 106 is that it feels more prone to bending up over patches of dense snow, its flex pattern also won't allow for skiing very fast in chop at the resort, and the skis isn't going to make super firm, rough snow fun to ski.

In conclusion, if you are a skier with intermediate to expert skiing abilities and are looking for lightweight, directional ski that performs well for its weight, the Blaze 106 is a good value option.


 

15. Rossignol Sky 7 HD

Rossignol Sky 7 HD

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 128 - 98 - 118mm

Weight: 7 lbs/pair

Lengths: 156/164/172/180/188cm

The Rossignol Sky 7 HD is designed to offer a balance between performance and characteristics. It offers a top end performance for a wide range of ability levels.

What we like about the Rossignol Sky 7 HD is that it is maneuverable, playful and forgiving. It is perfect for skiers who prefer being off groomed trails but don't ski too aggressively. It is a relatively approachable ski, very intuitive and predictable, easily maneuvered even at lower speeds. The Sky 7 HD's camber and tip and tail rocker is designed for deep snow, and offers floatation and control. Its generous radius underfoot allows for edge grip and power. The length of the sidecut made it easy for steering and allowed for playfulness. The Carbon Allow Matrix in the ski laminates add to its versatility, grip and permissiveness. This Matrix combines Carbon fiber and Basalt fiber to boost power transmission and contributes to its shock-absorbing properties.

The skis also have a fully-integrated 3D construction, which is stronger and is designed to eliminate deflection and instability.

What we do not like about the Sky 7 HD is that it does not perform as well in higher speeds, it is not the most stable and powerful skis due to its shorter effective edge and construction that is designed to be lightweight. However, it still has its performance benefits, and if you do not ski exceptionally fast and value maneuverability more, then these skis are a good choice for you.


 

16. Salomon MTN Explore 95

Salomon MTN Explore 95

Click to view on amazon.com.

Tip/Waist/Tail: 130 - 95 - 116mm

Weight: 3.4 lbs/Ski

Lengths: 169/177/184cm

The Salomon MTN Explore 95 continues to stand out in the category of 95mm wide touring skis. It is tuned for all-around sending and its touring weight is adequate.

What we like about the MTN Explore 95 is that it is versatile and has excellent performance abilities despite its weight. Whether low angle and huge radius turns or snappier steep turns, the skis performed adequately well. It is stable and predictable in open, fast and steeps and it has a wonderful edge hold even on icy and scratchy conditions. When it comes to edge grip, the MTN Explore 95 is smooth, centered and even. You will surely have a blast with these skis even in deep snow conditions as they pop, carve and slash. As for poor snow and tough conditions, these skis performed more than average. It is one of the easiest skis to jump on and start skiing without any need for adjustments.

The sidecut radius and moderate tip rocker allowed it to hold an edge well at speed and even on slower, more deliberate turns. The camber underfoot helps when hop-turning in tight terrain and helps give off that extra rebound when arcing long turns in big terrain and even on groomers. With its stiff and lightweight construction, the skis surprisingly remained stable even when pushed hard on bumpy terrain.

What we do not like about the Salomon MTN Explore 95 is that they don't grab as well as some stiffer and narrower skis on firmer snow conditions. But aside from that, for backcountry skiers who are looking for a remarkably stable and predictable ski and don't mind the weight, the Salomon MTN Explore 95 is a good affordable option.


Best Backcountry Skis Comparison Table

Foto Backcountry Skis Tip/Waist/Tail Weight Lengths
Black Crows Camox Freebird

1. Black Crows Camox Freebird

133 - 96 - 130mm6.1 lbs/pair160/166/172/178/183/188 cm
Sir Francis Bacon Shorty Skis

2. Sir Francis Bacon Shorty Skis

133 - 107 - 129mm3.6 lbs/pair145/155/165 cm
Elan Sky QS Ski

3. Elan Sky QS Ski

101 - 69 - 90mm5 lbs/pair70/80/90/100/110/120cm
Faction Candide 2.0 Youth

4. Faction Candide 2.0 Youth

118 - 98 - 126mm2.9 lbs/pair145/155/165cm
Atomic Backland 107 W

5. Atomic Backland 107 W

137 - 107 - 124 mm3.4 lbs/ski175/182/189 cm
Dynafit Beast 98 W

6. Dynafit Beast 98 W

124 - 96 - 115mm3.8 lbs/ski163/170/177cm
Armada Trace 98

7. Armada Trace 98

127 - 98 - 119mm3.1 lbs/ski156/164/172cm
Blizzard Zero G 105

8. Blizzard Zero G 105

134 - 105 - 120 mm3.6 lbs/ski164/172/180/188 cm
Black Diamond Helio 105

9. Black Diamond Helio 105

134 - 105 - 119 mm3.4 lbs/ski165/175/185 cm
Black Crows Corvus Freebird

10. Black Crows Corvus Freebird

140 - 107 - 119 mm3.9 lbs/ski175.1cm/183.3cm
DPS Tour1 Wailer 112 RP2

11. DPS Tour1 Wailer 112 RP2

141 - 112 - 128mm7.3 lbs/pair168/178/184cm
Black Diamond Helio 88

12. Black Diamond Helio 88

121 - 88 - 111mm3.1 lbs/ski158/168/178cm
Head Kore 93

13. Head Kore 93

133 - 93 - 115mm3.4 lbs/ski153/162/171/180/189cm
Volkl Blaze 106

14. Volkl Blaze 106

146 - 106 - 128 mm3.9 lbs/ski165/172/179/186 cm
Rossignol Sky 7 HD

15. Rossignol Sky 7 HD

128 - 98 - 118mm7 lbs/pair156/164/172/180/188cm
Salomon MTN Explore 95

16. Salomon MTN Explore 95

130 - 95 - 116mm3.4 lbs/Ski169/177/184cm

 

FAQs

How dangerous is backcountry skiing?

Skiing in the backcountry can certainly be dangerous for various reasons, like getting lost, being caught in an avalanche or getting caught in a snowstorm before you can even get back. Furthermore, if you injure yourself or break your ski or lose some binding screws, it might be difficult to get out of the backcountry. But all of these can be prevented if you have knowledge on what to do under those circumstances. It is best that you know about the different ski areas and the challenges that they may throw at you so you can be prepared. It is also best if you don't go skiing alone.

Being cautious, prepared and having the knowledge and experience, as well as having the right gear suitable for the backcountry will make it safer.

 

Can you use backcountry skis on groomed trails?

A lot of manufactures produce modern backcountry / ski touring equipment that can also perform well on groomed pistes, as long as the snow is not too icy. These skis can usually do well but the worst case is that you might ski next to the tracks and crush it if your skis don't fit. So generally, it will depend on the kind of equipment that you are to use and how the tracks are set. There are a lot of all-around skis in the market that are suitable for any kind of terrain and snow conditions, so you might want to consider that equipment.

 

Buying Guide

To help you further and to provide you with more knowledge on backcountry skiing, we've listed down some key factors to consider when choosing backcountry skis.

What type of backcountry skiing will you do?

For Alpine Touring

It is best to choose skis that are lighter and nimbler for efficient uphill climbing without compromising their downhill power or stability. Wider skis with more heft are also better.
These skis perform well in heavy, soft or icy snow.

For both Backcountry and Resort

Beefier skis that perform better downhill and are designed to get into some turns and big drops. These skis generally float in powder as well. You can tour with these skis but they might be a bit heavier.

For Racing or Ski Mountaineering

You'll want the lightest possible setup for skiing fast and light over long distances. They are usually tight and narrow for efficient travel and speed.

What kind of terrain do you ski?

Powder

For soft-snow conditions; look for skis with decent width for floatation. Skis with 100mm waists to 120mm are dedicated for powder skiing. They may not have the same, quick edge to edge transition in hard snow but they offer a mix of stability and forgiveness in deep snow and can handle inconsistencies or crust as well.

Mixed snow conditions

If you mostly ski at the resort or on ungroomed terrain, you'll most likely experience a mixture of conditions. If you prefer untracked snow, choose skis with some width for floatation.

Skis with 85 and 9mm waist width will be a better choice; they provide decent performance and edge on hard snow and stability in deep or unpredictable snow. Wider skis also give stability when dealing with breakable crust. If the skis are wider, they perform better in soft snow.

What width and length do you need?

Waist width: Wider waist widths are stable and easy to ski through the range of snow conditions that you'll encounter. For ski mountaineering and quick traverses, a narrower waist will allow for maximum edge contact.

Narrower Skis: 95mm or less at the waist.

These skis are better for longer tours and more efficient for uphill travel. They are lighter weight and usually quicker in trees, bumps and hardpack snow. They allow for faster edge to edge transition and perform well on firm, hard snow or glaciers, but they may not float as well in deeper snow.

Wider Skis: 95-105mm at the waist.

Skis with wider width underfoot makes trail breaking easier, and most people find these skis more versatile. It will also help you to stay afloat in soft snow and varied conditions.

Widest Skis: 105mm or wider at the waist

Skis with bigger surfaces underfoot will provide better floatation and easier trail breaking; these are also designed to keep you afloat deep snow but are heavier in weight and may be less maneuverable for touring.

Length: Backcountry skis are made to float through difficult snow and be relatively easy to control and handle technical situations. Choosing the length comes down to personal preference.

All snow conditions: Skiers that are heavier in weight should size up longer while lighter weight skiers should consider sizing down shorter.

For beginners, choose a ski that is 10 cm less than your height.

For intermediate skiers, choose a length that is 5cm less than your height.

For advanced, you can choose a ski with the same height as you.

For expert skiers, you can add 5cm to your height and that will be the length of your ski.

Free ride and Ski powder: If you are an expert-level skier or a heavier skier or if you are looking for skis with a full rocker, you should consider sizing up longer, while lighter weight skiers should consider sizing down shorter.

For beginners, choose a ski that is 5 cm less than your height.

For intermediate skiers, choose a length with the same height as you.

For advanced, you can also choose a ski with the same height as you.

For expert skiers, you can add 5cm to your height

Ski Profile

When choosing the length, you should also take into consideration the ski profile because it affects how the skis come in contact with snow.

Camber: A standard camber highlights a continuous bow that runs the length of the ski with the middle rising off the ground. When you are on the ski, it flattens and the base contacts the snow, which provides more stability to initiate and carve turns.

Rocker: This is an opposite of the camber. When laid down on a flat surface, the midsection of the ski will rest on the ground but its tips and tails rise off. This offers improved floatation in powder and better maneuverability.


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