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$435 We love the Marker Baron so much that we borrowed a fleet of them from Marker to mount on all of our backcountry test skis. When the Baron's predecessor, the DIN-16 Duke, debuted in 2007, it was the only alpine-touring binding that truly skied like a real alpine binding. Word spread, and shops literally could not keep it stocked. Marker released the Baron in 2008. It has the same alpine-style performance as the Duke—solid, secure, and confidence-inspiring—but is 150 grams lighter (thanks to the use of nylon instead of magnesium), and $60 less expensive. And with a DIN range of four through 12, it's more of an everyman's binding. If you're skiing the resort most of the time, but want touring capability for occasional side- and backcountry laps, you won't find a better binding.

Backcountry Bindings

Whether you're going on a day-long tour or just heading out the gates, you need a binding that works as well going uphill as it does going down. Here is a collection of some of the best AT and telemark bindings out there.

This super light, formfitting, mid-weight down jacket features a micro-chamois collar to combat zipper chafe, a one-handed draw cord for snap adjustments, and 800-fill down. $220; www.mountainhardwear.com

Best Puffy Coats

Puffy jackets have come a long way since being mocked ruthlessly by Ralphie’s little brother in “A Christmas Story.” Now, they’re engineered to be warmer, lighter and more stylish than ever before. We found eight that stood out from the crowd.