Roxa’s new three-buckle features a cabrio (3-piece) boot design: upper buckle and power strap, heel retention buckle, and singular forefoot buckle. Made from Grilamid top to bottom, the material reduces mass without compromising downhill chops. The R3 scored high in power and snow feel on the down with its 130 fl ex. Its range of motion was generous in walk mode—and with swappable toe and heel pieces, you can rock these in tech or DIN bindings. Could be a quiver-killer. More info on the ROXA R3 130 here.
MSRP: $875; Last: 99mm.
Built for big days and technical ascents, the svelte, two-buckle X-Alp has a “3D” carbon fiber rotating cuff that allows for lateral motion in tour mode. The idea is to allow for more articulated movements during technical hikes and skins. The X-Alp sheds weight with an integrated gaiter that minimizes unnecessary plastic and a thin thermoformable liner that enhances snow feel even more. Testers found it skied surprisingly well, powering mountaineering and mid-fat skis with aplomb. More about the Salomon S/LAB X Alp here.
MSRP: $1000; Last: 98mm.
Improving on the massively popular original version, SCARPA’s all-new RS has carbon infused into its Grilamid lower and cuff, which simultaneously adds stiffness while shedding a full five ounces per boot. With 60 degrees of cuff motion, the Maestrale RS also has more stridability in walk mode, and its Intuition liner keeps your digits warm on long cold slogs. Testers were totally amped with the new boot, calling it “a backcountry touring weapon.” Stiffer, lighter, better touring, great warmer liner—what’s not to like? Read more about the SCARPA Maestrale RS here.
MSRP: $795; Last: 101mm.
Tecnica didn’t skimp on its women’s top-end freeride boot. The four-buckle Zero G Guide Pro has a women-specific upper cuff for optimum fi t around the calf (with corresponding control and power). The bi-injected Grilamid shell is lighter and stronger than other plastics, so the Zero G saves weight without loss to performance. (Our testers found it toured better than most freeride boots and “ripped” the downhill.) Plus, the unique dimpled shell makes shell punching easier, allowing for more customizable fi t and performance. More info about the Tecnica Zero G Guide Pro here.
MSRP: $840; Last: 99mm.
The Tecton is Fritschi’s answer to the demands of a growing market: a tech binding with an alpine-style heel clamp. Using the updated toe piece from the Vipec EVO (the only tech toe with certifi ed release values), the Tecton adds an all-new heel with DIN to 12. Testers found the new interface powerful, with more edge sensitivity than pin-style heels. Complaints? The heel risers were finicky, and the unproven reliability of the complex binding did raise a red flag for several testers.
MSRP: $649; Weight: 1lb. 3oz.
The ION has quickly risen to the top of the tech-binding market due to its ease of use, reliable retention with forward heel pressure, durability, and zero-fuss utility (all adjustments can be done with a #3 Pozi-drive). The ION returns this season with only minor tweaks, and was praised as “simple, solid, sick.” For a few bucks less, it’s also available as the ION LT—without brakes and therefore a bit lighter.
MSRP: $549; Weight: 1lb. 5oz.
Salomon has been killing it for several seasons now with its ski-touring gear. Its new MTN binding continues that upward trend. The binding doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but offers an easy step-in aid, and simple, non-rotating heel post with three heel-riser positions, and ski-crampon adapter. Testers called the MTN “dependable, lightweight, and efficient.” The MTN is sold with or without ski brakes, depending on your preference; but most testers preferred the weight savings of brakeless bindings in the backcountry.
MSRP: $625; Weight: 1lb. 7oz.
Looking for the perfect backcountry ski? Check out our favorite options for 2018 here.