Best Backcountry Skis in 2021

Best Backcountry Skis 2021

Published: Oct 31, 2020

Going backcountry skiing means setting off into the wilderness or in an uncontrolled environment. Thus, it is crucial to find the proper gear to take with you to feel more comfortable while tackling 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 offer 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 provides 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, prove 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. Meanwhile, for high-speed cruising, you can size them up.

On hard snow, the Camox Freebird perform adequately; they are softer than most resort groomer skis and are budget-friendly. Plus, they offer decent firm snow performance and grabs well in high-consequence terrains. If you downsize, this pair of skis would do better on firm snow and will be easier to manage.

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

What we do not like about the Black Crows Camox Freebird is that they are not the lightest. However, the dimensions are appealing. Plus, this pair has a well-balanced downhill performance, a firm grip on ice and compressed snow, and 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, which was founded in 1995 and also sells ski poles, streetwear, and various accessories.

What we like about the kids' version of the Sir Francis Bacon 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 wide range of snow conditions.

The Sir Francis Bacon Shorty skis have an Early Rise rocker, which increases the lift in deep snow and engages more quickly on hard-packed snow. Besides, there are five different radiuses into this ski's 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. Finally, 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 they are not suitable for beginners and early-intermediate young rippers, but rather suit little shredders with an advanced to expert level. In conclusion, these are good, playful, and versatile skis that are capable enough for the backcountry.


 

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 is an adorable pair of skis that are suitable for toddlers or young kids who are just about to start their skiing journey.

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

What we do not like about the Elan Sky QS skis is that the construction is not ideal for advanced to expert young shredders. However, this ski will be a great coach for beginners with its adjustable bindings, flexible construction, and striking colors that your kid surely won'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 Candide 2.0 are the kids' version of one of Faction's best-sellers, which were created for pro skiers.

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. Plus, they charge as hard as the adult version. In addition, 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 also have a Poplar core, which is a medium-weight, durable softwood that flexes and pops nicely, is capable of absorbing vibration, and 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 skis. But overall, this youth version of the Candide is perfectly sized for junior rippers, provides plenty of float, and is a versatile.


 

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 offers incredible performance on powder.

What we like about the Backland 107 is that this is a super light ski 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, displaces the fluff, and creates a smoother experience in fresh snow. These skis charge through fresh, chopped, and broken snow like heavier skis. Besides, the 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 have a rocker profile, mount point, and an odd enough tip shape that would not cause skinning problems, which is often the case with touring skis. This ski's low tail performs adequately when stabbing into snow during transitions, and with its 107mm underfoot, it performs surprisingly well in deep snow. It is also pretty consistent on firm snow and has good suspension and edge hold.

Overall, it is best in pow and off-piste, is floaty and stable, and very versatile for 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 can even go full-alpine.

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. Besides, 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 will suit a vast majority of lady backcountry skiers, and even 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 it 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 ski edge for maximum force absorption.

In fast powder laps and chopped-up pow, the Beast 98 perform how you want them to, with minimal input. They have good dimensions for firm skiing, and offer an even flex and torsional rigidity that provide an excellent grab. The Dynafit Beast will allow snappy, short turns and parallel tracking in faster turns with a bouncy float and an active smooth edge. The longitudinal stiffness also provides speed and long radius turns. With its excellent construction features, this ski blasts reliably through snow and is favorable in tough snow.

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

In conclusion, these are good all-around backcountry skis that prioritize 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 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 terrains, and is versatile enough for any type of ski condition. Although it is designed more for soft snow performance, it can also hold its own on firm snow.

This ski features a poplar core 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 adding weight. With no metal in its construction, it performs surprisingly well on groomers too. Besides, it has a high level of torsional stiffness and edge hold despite its lighter weight, and offers just enough dampness. For a ski that is designed for sidecountry and backcountry, we find it can easily make quick turns, which is really important with regards to performance.

What we do not like about the Armada Trace 98 is that you might want a heavier ski if you want a lot of punch-through power. However, these are perfect for skiers who want to ski at the resort, although they are also lightweight enough for touring as well. They will provide you with a fun experience whether you plan on mounting an AT binding for touring, for the resort, or for 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 this ski's 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. Plus, 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. Additionally, it has the ability to handle variability, and it is stable yet playful and totally under control.

In firm steep-skiing situations, these skis have a predictable feel and good edge hold. The Zero G 105 are also user-friendly for tight trees at slow speeds and can perform aggressively at a higher speed. They also float well on top of the snow, work well on downhill runs and steep ascents, and are fun to ski with whether at slow or fast speed.

What we do not like about the Blizzard Zero G 105 is that they are made for aggressive skiers and therefore do not really suit beginners. They also might be too unsteady for hard conditions or icy runs. But overall, this 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 skis, which are 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 they perform well on the downhill. Plus, their weight and length allow the skis to remain stable at a high speed. The longitude and torsional stiffness of their carbon fiber construction make them even more stable, even in tight trees, and allow them to be thrown around easily. The flex pattern of these skis ramps up smoothly from the tips; it has a solid platform underfoot and softens slightly through the tail. Plus, the tails are quite stiff but are appreciated in high-consequence terrains.

In firm, smooth conditions, the Helio 105 perform well and provide a good deal of effective edge. Besides, we even found them predictable 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 ski.

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

What we do not like about the Black Diamond Helio 105 is that they do not hold up well on tough and firm snow and are not the lightest option. But the bottom line is that these skis do a pretty good job at 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 are designed to be powerful and versatile in all snow conditions. Relatively lightweight, they hold up pretty well at high speed.

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

The skis track surprisingly well on hardpack bumps, and the tip rocker keep the skis from getting hung up. They are stable and responsive, and we were able to put the ski on edge at higher speeds on smooth groomers when we tested them. This 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 109-mm waist is large enough to cover deep days and nimble enough for firmer conditions.

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

The tails of the Freebird are modest and just enough to allow them to break free when needed. Their minimal rocker is also nice when skinning, and the increased contact and pressure of the tails' skins improve grip and make 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 suited for skiers who are also super-strong climbers. They are very good for high speeds as they are 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 are the newest version of the iconic DPS 112 RP and are developed with downhill performance in mind.

What we like about the Wailer 112 Tour1 is that they are made with a balsa wood core and a pre-preg carbon laminate that do not sacrifice stability and downhill performance. The skis flexed nicely, with a stiff flex in the tail and a softer flex in the forebody, allowing for a smooth and solid feel. They are excellently reliable on soft snow and open terrains and very good for touring. Although it is a backcountry-specific ski, it also performs well in the resort, but only at lower speed 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 their extra width. On softer variables, the skis allow for fast turns around bumps and quick direction changes. Furthermore, the Wailer Tour1 provide good tracking, float, and resistance to deflection at high speeds, and are still fun at 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 they don't perform quite well in firm snow. Their low weight also didn't make those fun skis in cruddy snow, 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 are commendable for their downhill capabilities and are incredible light touring skis.

What we like about the Helio Recon 88 is that they are versatile, grippy, and lightweight without sacrificing performance. In terms of construction, they have an 88-mm waist with Early Rise tip and tail, a redesigned pre-preg carbon fiber layup that improves dampness, torsional stiffness, and balanced flex. They also have an ultra-light balsa flax wood core and ABS sidewalls for a smoother ride. Plus they have an ABS tail protector with an integrated skin-clip to keep your skins secure.

The Helio Recon 88 hold a stable edge at high speed, are very lightweight for the uphill, and provide ample float on soft snow and powder. Due to their lighter weight and construction, they are efficient in traveling while ascending and work very well on hard-packed snow. They provide plenty of grip in most conditions and give a snappy rebound on turns. They have a balance of float and flex and are great for spring tours, as they also hold a good edge and float in overdone snow.

These skis also give you the ability to ski on soft snow and jump onto hard snow. They are fast while going uphill, and stable while going downhill.

What we do not like about the Black Diamond Helio 88 is that their qualities and construction are more geared towards advanced skiers. Besides, they are not sturdy enough when going at 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 various 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 are significantly lighter than most skis in their class.

What we like about the Head Kore 93 is that it is an excellent lightweight ski that features no Titanal, but still holds an edge surprisingly well and performs well in most conditions. The skis initiate turns quickly and easily have a ton of energy throughout their arc. They also have the pop when carving a fresh groomer due to the camber underfoot and Karuba wood core. Also, they can transition from edge to edge and make it easy to adjust your turn and shape width. They are moderately easy to drive, direct through all sorts of crud, and do an excellent job at staying afloat in soft snow due to their large tip and generous tip rocker. The Kore 93's rocker, combined with a soft flex pattern in the tip and tail, allow to slash and butter turns on any terrains on a powdery 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 with these as they provide plenty of pop off jumps and super soft landing, and because they are light and make it easy to throw around.

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

What we do not like about the Head Kore 93 is the lack of stability at very high speed as they tend to flop around a bit. Plus, because of the lack of metal, they do not have that effective dampening capability when challenged in less ideal snow conditions. In conclusion, the Kore 93 feel more at home on soft, natural snow but can still easily handle any conditions. Their weight also make them 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 are the new 100eight skis. Both have similar goals but differ in design, performance, and 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 throughout 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 width. Besides, the skis are even maneuverable through tight trees and allow for some quick direction changes. If you keep a bit of pressure over the shovels, they will do a good job at allowing for some slarved and carved turns.

These skis are also quite stable for their weight. They are predictable and blow through dry, low-density chop well, as long as you stay over their shovels. They also seem stable enough for any chop encountered in the backcountry.

On firm, smooth snow, the Blaze 106 will allow for easy turn initiation. They hold carves quite well and are pretty easy to work with through tight trees and bumps.

What we do not like about the Blaze 106 is that they feel more prone to bending up over patches of dense snow. Besides, the flex pattern also won't allow for skiing very fast in chop at the resort, and the skis aren'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 skis that have a good performance-to-weight ratio, the Blaze 106 are a good 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 a ski designed to offer a balance between performance and characteristics. It offers top-end performance for a wide range of skills.

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 that is very intuitive, predictable, and easily maneuvered, even at low 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 also allows for edge grip and power. The length of the sidecut makes it easy for steering and allows for playfulness. Besides, the Carbon Alloy Matrix in the ski laminates adds to the ski's versatility, grip, and permissiveness. This Matrix combines Carbon fiber and Basalt fiber to boost power transmission, and contributes to its shock-absorbing properties.

These 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 they do not perform as well in high speeds, and are not the most stable nor powerful skis due to their shorter effective edge and lightweight construction. However, they still have their 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 keep standing out among 95-mm-wide touring skis. They are tuned for all-around sending and their touring weight is adequate.

What we like about the MTN Explore 95 is that it is a versatile ski with excellent performance abilities despite its weight. Whether low angle and huge radius turns, or snappier steep turns, the skis perform pretty well. They are stable and predictable in open, fast, and steeps and provide a wonderful edge hold, even on icy and scratchy conditions. When it comes to edge grip, the MTN Explore 95 are 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 perform above average. They are some of the easiest skis to jump on and start skiing with, without requiring any adjustments.

The sidecut radius and moderate tip rocker allow these ski to hold an edge well at high speed as well as on slower, more deliberate turns. The camber underfoot helps when hop-turning in tight terrains and gives off that extra rebound when arcing long turns in big terrains or on groomers. With their stiff and lightweight construction, the skis surprisingly remained stable, even when pushed hard on bumpy terrains.

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


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. For instance, you could get lost, be caught in an avalanche, or get caught in a snowstorm before you get back. Furthermore, if you injure yourself, break your ski(s), or lose some binding screws, it might be difficult to get out of the backcountry. But all of these can be prevented if you know what to do under those circumstances. You should know about the different ski areas and the challenges that they may throw at you, so you can be prepared. We also suggest that you don't go skiing alone.

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

 

Can you use backcountry skis on groomed trails?

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

 

Buying guide

To further help you 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 partake in?

Alpine touring

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

Both backcountry and resort

For this, you should go for 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 also tour with these skis, but they might feel a bit heavy.

Racing or ski mountaineering

You'll want the lightest possible setup for skiing fast and lightly 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 to 120mm waists are dedicated to 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 also handle inconsistencies or crust.

Mixed snow conditions

If you mostly ski at the resort or on ungroomed terrains, 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 90mm waist width will be a better choice as they provide decent performance and edge on hard snow, and stability in deep or unpredictable snow. Wider skis also provide 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 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 may not float as well in deeper snow.

Wider skis: 95-105mm at the waist.

Skis with wider width underfoot make trail-breaking easier, and most people find them more versatile. They will also help you 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 in deep snow, but are heavier and may be less maneuverable for touring.

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

All snow conditions: Heavier skiers should size up, while lightweight skiers should consider sizing down.

For beginners, choose a ski that is 10 cm shorter than you.

For intermediate skiers, choose a ski that is 5 cm shorter than you.

For advanced skiers, choose a ski that is the same height as you.

For expert skiers, choose a ski that 5 cm taller than you.

Free ride and ski powder: Like for all snow conditions, if you are an expert, a heavy skier, or if you are looking for skis with a full rocker, you should consider sizing up. Meanwhile, lightweight skiers should consider sizing down.

For beginners, choose a ski that is 5 cm shorter than you.

For intermediate skiers, choose a ski that is the same height as you.

For advanced skiers, you can also choose a ski that is the same height as you.

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

Ski profile

When choosing the length of your ski, you should also take into consideration the ski profile as it affects how the skis come in contact with the 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 the 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 will rise. This offers improved floatation in powder and better maneuverability.


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