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Backcountry Skis

The Best Backcountry Skis of 2022: WNDR Reason 120

The Utah-based company built a super-fat backcountry ski for earning your turns in powder. Here's how it skis.

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Specs

Tip / Waist / Tail (mm)

147-120-138

Lengths (cm)

170, 177, 184, 191

Radius (m)

20.5 (184)

Rocker Technology

Yes

Weight

4lbs. 12.8oz.

2022 WNDR Reason 120

The Reason 120 is the first ski that I actively sought out from WNDR Alpine. The brand’s first two shapes—the Intention 110 and the Vital 100—looked great, and straight from the brain of founder Matt Sterbenz. But the Reason 120 might be the closest skiers will ever get to the original K2 Hellbent, which I believe is the greatest twin-tipped powder ski ever made, if not the greatest ski ever made.

The reason for this comparison is Pep Fujas, a pro athlete who was instrumental in the design of both the WNDR Reason 120 and the Hellbent.

“As soon as I joined  [WNDR’s parent company] Checkerspot, I always knew I wanted to create a ski like this,” says Fujas. For powder skiers who still watch “Session 1242” and “Idea” and countless other films where Fujas gives free lessons on how to make powder skiing look incredible, this quote should leave you thunderstruck as to what ski you absolutely need to have this season.

For everyone who might need a little more convincing than the name behind the ski, I was able to spend some time on the fully reverse camber Reason 120 during a late-season storm cycle at Loveland Ski Area. The first thing noticeable about the Reason 120 compared to the Hellbent (or any other 120-underfoot backcountry ski) is how lightweight it is. This comes from WNDR’s revolutionary Algal Core, which is a composite of vertically laminated aspen sandwiched between algal polyurethane stringers, which are lighter than traditional polyurethane.

While this weight will undoubtedly be appreciated by skiers who frequent skin tracks, the ski still remained stable at moderately high speeds descending the wide-open Ridge terrain off Loveland’s Chair 9. While the fresh snow wasn’t bottomless, the Reason 120 skis made everything from 2 inches to wind-deposited 8 inch patches feel incredibly surfy, floaty, and ripe for slashes and playful pops off various terrain features.

When the speeds got really high, the skis would sometimes track towards their inside edge in between turns (i.e. on a flat ski). This is not an uncommon characteristic for skis with shovels that are over 140mm wide and with a generous rocker profile in less than six inches of snow, regardless of their weight.

I was told that this trait was fixed in production by increasing the amount of wood throughout the ski, as well as the new Algal Wall sidewalls, which provide more stability while using more biobased material. These two elements increased stiffness underfoot in particular.

Every time I skied the Reason 120, I couldn’t help but dream about how perfect this ski would be for a trip to Japan. It’s lightweight for traveling and hiking, plus performs best in terrain where control is more necessary than speed, just like the glades of Rusutsu or Nozawa. Any powder ski that inspires dream trips deserves major credit regardless of who designed them or the amount of sustainability they might have.

See the full list of this season’s best backcountry skis

More info: Wndr-Alpine.com