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Ski Tech Justin Hewitt adjusting Dynafit bindings on Dynafit Manaslu skis

Next Year's AT Skis and Bindings

This week we're at Aspen Highlands testing next year's AT skis and bindings. Here's a look behind the scenes at the ski test, and a peek at some 2011-12 goods.

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Prime Powder Skis

In the gear world there's nothing more lust-worthy than super fat powder skis, the kind made of heli drops and snorkel-deep days. These are the best of the year.

binders

A.T. Bindings

Alpine touring bindings fall into two camps, tech-style and frame-style. They’re like apples and oranges. But there’s plenty of nitpicking to do within each category. Find your next AT binders here.

ew to Black Diamond’s Efficient Series, the Compactor is the perfect pole for anyone trying to maximize space and efficiency. New Z-pole technology uses internal Kevlar cords that allow you quickly fold and deploy your poles for touring or storage. But gimmicks aside, they’ve also got BD’s easy adjusting FlickLock system and extension grips for when you choke up your grip on the steeps. $120; http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com

Pole Dance

Poles are poles, right? Wrong. New technology and lighter, hybridized materials mean that ski poles have reached an all-time high of technical sophistication. Here are a few new ones you should take a look at.

K2 Sidestash (2011)

Your Favorite Skis of the Year

Different skis are good for different people, but every year there are always a few pairs that everyone seems to be obsessed with. Here are the most popular skis of the season, the one's you've been searching on our site, googling, stalking on Steep and Cheap, and raving about. And, to stoke the fires, the one ski coming out next year that's already creating major buzz.

126)/136/115/133/(123) | $900 The new shape of powder skiing debuted in 2008–09: camber and sidecut underfoot; rocker and reverse sidecut tip and tail. The result: loose, slashy, floaty, get-after-it goodness—fresh as ever as the JJ heads into its fourth season. Testers still love it. Everyone loves it.  Lengths: 165, 175, 185 Turn Radius: 14 at 185ABOUT ARMADAHe weighed only about 140 pounds, but when seven-time ESPN Winter X Games gold medalist Tanner Hall stomped his landing on the burgeoning new-school scene, the ski world shook. The Montana-bred Hall, never comfortable with authority, promptly ditched Rossignol and banded with other luminary park skiers to form Armada in 2002. The concept was brilliant: Star athletes would run the show, pimp the brand, design the skis they wanted, and control the message. Sales immediately took off, and now Armada, the giant of indies, rivals some of the mainstream brands for U.S. market share.

The Best Indie Skis

Dozens of new ski companies have sprouted in the last decade. Are they making good skis? Last spring, we went to Aspen to find out. The answer is yes, and here are our favorites.