Rating: / 5
Waist Width: 78
Lengths: 152, 158, 164, 170, 176
The 78 is the narrowest ski in the Backland series. It's built on the same waist width as the Ultimate 78 hardcore touring model, but extra mass (1,250 at 170 cm vs. 980 grams at 164 cm) makes it not totally suck to ski on the descent. Atomic's original Backland series includes three models ranging in width from 95 down to 78 cm. They're now the midfat core models of a broader Backland series, which has been expanded to include tools for every kind of backcountry skiing, from the fat, sturdy, descent-oriented freeriders of the Backland FR group to the skinny, ultra-light, ascent-oriented rando racers of the Backland UL group. The original Backlands (no FR, no UL) are lightweight wood-core constructions designed to blend roughly equal amounts of uphill and downhill performance. All feature Atomic's All-Mountain rocker: about the 15 percent of the ski's length is tip rocker, for powder-flotation and shock absorption; the rest is cambered for positive edge grip on hard snow. Precut skins are available for all models ($170-$180). All are built using Atomic's Step-Down Sidewall construction: higher sidewalls underfoot for solidity and edge grip; lower sidewalls topped by cap construction tip and tail for softer torsional rigidity and more forgiving performance. The two widest models (95 and 85) are carbon-reinforced. Atomic, founded in 1955, is based in Altenmarkt im Pongau, Austria (near Salzburg), where the majority of its skis are made. Along with sister brands Salomon and ArcTeryx, it is a division of Amer Sports of Finland, which acquired it in 1994. Its U.S. headquarters are in Ogden, Utah. -J.C.