Backcountry

Hot New Gear from Outdoor Retailer

Our top picks from the show.


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Black Diamond Boundary Pro Series
BD started making their skis in Blizzard’s Austria factory, and yes, we have felt the difference. The new Boundary Pro series aims to replace BD’s successful Boundary series with more performance (read: stiffer) for backcountry freeride chargers.

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Fritschi Tecton 12
This is exciting: Taking on the successful Marker Kingpin, Fritschi’s new Tecton 12 combines a tech toe (that’s mercifully redesigned to be easier to step into) with an alpine-style heel. It’s 100 grams lighter than its competition, cheaper, and, from the show floor anyway, seems to be intuitive and easy to use. It boasts a DIN setting on its toepiece, which is unusual in tech bindings, and is under the process of becoming DIN certified.

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La Sportiva Syncro 125
La Sportiva’s popular Spectre may have been the lightest four-buckle boot on the market, but hard-chargers felt it just wasn’t stiff enough. Enter the Syncro 125 (the women’s version is called Shadow). With four buckles, a two-piece tongue that locks, and an overwrap liner, it’s 10 percent stiffer and only a hair heavier (a couple of ounces).

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Mammut Barryvox S Beacon
Shorter search time in locating an avalanche victim? Yes, please. Mammut’s new Barryvox S is stronger, faster, and easier to use than its predecessor, the Pulse. A simplified interface is intuitive, the search-strip width and circular recieving range is 70 meters, and the “audio guidance” is an integral tool in shortening fine-search time.

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Mammut Eiger Collection
Mammut is now designing apparel with 3-D patterning techniques (similar to what OR did last year with gloves), which means it’s built to move. It’s a step beyond “stretch”—each piece is designed to seamlessly integrate into whatever you’re doing. Ice climbing? The jacket stretches in the arms and never rides up.

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Outdoor Research Ascendent Jacket
OR introduces Polartec Alpha-Direct insulation, which eliminates the need for a liner to hold the insulation in. The insulation is directly next to your body, which makes it more breathable—i.e. ideal for backcountry tours or a resort midlayer—than traditional insulated jackets with liners

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Ortovox Ascent Airbag Pack
The new Ascent airbag pack is super lightweight, weighing in at 690 grams in the 28 liter size. The airbag mechanism has a new, smaller profile, and it can be removed and inserted into any size pack in the line (20, 22, 28, and 30 liters). It also boasts a mechanism that allows you to test it (pulling the cord to feel how much pressure it takes to release the airbag) as many times as you want without the airbag actually deploying. The Freerider 22 also has an integrated back protector. The Ascent is new to the States, but is already in production in Europe, and won last year’s ISPO Product of the Year.

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Petzl Reactik +
Though this is already on the market, we thought it was so cool we had to include it. The Reactik + connects to your smart phone, so you can program how many hours you need the light to last, and it will automatically adjust light strength accordingly. Also, it boasts “reactive lighting” with a sensor that automatically adjusts the light depending on whether you’re skinning up above treeline or scrambling up a rock wall.

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Pieps Micro Beacon
This is the smallest, lightest three-antennae beacon on the market. A sensor reacts to light and movement, which means it automatically goes into search mode when you pull it out of your pocket, an added time-saving and safety measure, especially when traveling with multiple people.

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Salomon S/Lab X Alp AT Binding
Salomon introduces a low-tech pin binding designed to challenge Dynafit’s hold on the market. At 350 grams, it’s lightweight and reputedly dependable.

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Salomon S/Lab X Alp Touring Boot
This boot might look familiar—Arc’teryx introduced the similar Procline last season—and indeed, Salomon and Arc’teryx teamed up to create it. What’s cool about this boot is the rotating 3D cuff, which provides lateral range of motion (23 degrees external and 12 degrees internal) that makes sidehilling, technical steeps, and rocky scrambles easier. What makes this boot different than the Procline is that it’s strictly a ski-touring boot: There’s no rubber toe and it features Sensofit on the sides.

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Salomon S/Lab X Alp Touring Ski
Uphill skiing is gaining traction in the market, and Salomon is listening: The brand rolls out a new backcountry “kit” in the S/Lab X Alp ski, boot, and binding. The ski ($699/$749 with skins) weighs 980 grams, has an 80-mm waist, and is designed for touring. Full wood-core construction with layers of fiberglass and basalt; developed in close partnership with ski mo star Kilian Jornet.

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Scarpa Maestrale
Scarpa rolls out the new and much improved Maestrale and women’s Gea Rs2. The new three-buckle system shaves off 5 oz, carbon grilamid bumps the flex up 5 points, cuff range is an incredible 60 degrees (a significant improvement over the previous range of 37), and they boast an improved liner.