This is the year to go remote, and our 2021 Gear Guide has all the skis, boards, boots and bindings to get you there.
Whether you're looking for your first backcountry setup or just updating those well-loved planks, we've got unbiased and in-depth reviews of 51 skis and 29 splitboards that will take you where you want to go, wherever that may be. Plus, 21 boots, 12 bindings and 28 pieces of apparel, all of which was tested at our annual Gear Test Week at Powder Mountain, Utah last March by our team of 43 testers, who hail from Vermont to California and everywhere in between. No matter what happens this winter season, our 2021 Gear Guide has you covered.
THE 2021 GEAR GUIDE
SKIS, BOOTS & BINDINGS
Gear Test Week is a numbers game. Thirty-two testers. Four and a half days. One hundred and four models of skis; forty-three models of boots; and every notable backcountry binding. Three runs per tester multiplied by five to eight testers per product. Whatever algorithm to compute the final result would puzzle even Stephen Hawking, but those results are divulged begin- ning on p. 24, with reviews of 85 tester-approved skis, boots and bindings, including 22 top-tier Editors' Choice Awards.
SPLITBOARDS, BOOTS & BINDINGS
For three years now, our splitboard test has been held in conjunc- tion with our annual, mid-March test of skis, boots and bindings at Powder Mountain, Utah. And while the styles, trends and shapes of skis and splitboards aren't too similar, the testers are now one big family, regardless of how they slide. Here's something else we can't help but tout: ours is the only major U.S.-based splitboard test out there. But we don't rest on those laurels, instead bringing together a crew of new testers and veterans to determine the best boards, boots and bindings for 2021.
APPAREL & ACCESSORIES
We get it. Skis, splitboards, boots and bindings are the sexy stuff, which is why we dedicate four and a half days at Powder Mountain, Utah to testing them. But Gear Test Week is also the starting point of our ongoing apparel test, in which we query brands for their latest jackets, pants, puffies and layers and dis- tribute it all among our testers, who ski, ride, skin and get dirty in it 'til the snow melts. When the results come in, we distill down the right items to wear to tack another lap onto the day.
EDITOR'S NOTE: REALITY CHECK
PERSPECTIVE: TEST BETA
AT & TELEMARK BINDINGS
SPLITBOARD BOOTS & BINDINGS
LETTERS: THE ROCK PILE
LAST COL: THE BIG ONES
For over two and a half decades, Backcountry's kept a close pulse on skis, boots, bindings, splitboards and more.