On the Cover: An April storm cycle shutting down all of Whistler Blackcomb's lifts prompted photographer Guy Fattal to escape into B.C.'s Tantalus Range with skier Chad Sayers. On a gray day that Fattal calls the "sleeper day of the decade," the pair ventured high into the range to find almost two feet of champagne powder above the clouds. Says Fattal, "This day was exactly what us skiers dream of all year, and I sure am glad that I got out of bed that morning." [Photo] Guy Fattal
THE 2022 GEAR GUIDE
SKIS, BOOTS & BINDINGS
For the last 13 years, we've assembled a huge crew and a massive quiver of gear at Powder Mountain, Utah, for a week of testing. But last winter, with the pandemic hanging over the nation, we changed plans and brought the test to the people. Across 10 states and with 75 testers, we ran 124 skis, boots and bindings through the wringer to find this year's best gear.
SPLITBOARDS, BOOTS & BINDINGS
From our Board Test director's headquarters in Salt Lake City, we tested a deep crop of splitboards throughout the Wasatch and in satellite testing pods in both Lake Tahoe and Crested Butte. This year's test welcomed more boards from a wider spread of brands, and the top performers set a high mark in the major trend that's been in progress for the last many years: Splitboarding has reached critical mass, and gear has never been better.
APPAREL & ACCESSORIES
On paper, an apparel test is pretty simple: acquire jackets, pants, puffies and various layers from more than 30 brands and distribute everything to testers, who spend the winter wearing the items and trying to wear them out. In reality, it's a messy affair, shipping layers around the country and back and touring in the worst conditions to see what holds up best.
WHERE GEAR GOES TO DIE
COVID SQUEEZES SUPPLY
SKINS & POLES
SPLIT GEAR HITS CRITICAL MASS
OUTERWEAR GETS GREEN
For over two and a half decades, Backcountry's kept a close pulse on skis, boots, bindings, splitboards and more.