Written by Griffin Mansi
4frnt Raven 184 centimeters
At 102 millimeters underfoot, these skis are a little on the skinny side when it comes to touring skis. However, they make up for that with a large rocker. The skis are light, eight pounds per pair, yet they are solid and stiff enough to ski variable conditions and difficult terrain. I like the flat camber profile because it provides the float, quick turning, and reduced likeliness of catching an edge while still having a lot of contact with the snow when skinning. The only issue I’ve had with the skis is that they are harder to ski in sun crust because the rocker causes the ski to get above the crust no matter how much you push into the front of your boots.
Dynafit TLT ST
I made the switch from Marker Dukes to tech bindings this season and I couldn’t be happier. First off, they are extremely light, just over a pound per pair. I got the slightly heavier version with ski brakes because you shouldn’t use ski leashes in avalanche terrain. Secondly, they tour very smoothly—the toe pivot point is in a more natural place than the Dukes and similar bindings. The supposed downside to tech bindings is that they don’t reliably release. I’ve found that the only times that they release accidentally is while skiing on them at the resort. I generally don’t put as much force on my gear in the backcountry.
Scarpa Freedom SL
I love these boots more than any piece of footwear I’ve ever had. They are designed to be an all-around boot that tours well and skis well. The freedoms are a traditional four-buckle boot with a high cuff, which gives you a lot of power on the downhill. This makes them good for difficult backcountry terrain and the resort. A big factor in my original purchase of these boots was the fact that I didn’t have to get two pairs of boots. Even with the beefy downhill performance, the boots have a 27-degree range of motion in walk mode. The boot is both comfortable and mobile on the uphill. You can change out the boot soles to fit into normal din bindings, however I still have the AT soles and they are great. They are rockered for more efficient walking and they have great traction. I recently had to scramble up some rocks in my boots and they worked great.
Skins, Beacon, Shovel, Probe
I have G3 High Traction skins, and they work well. The tip and tail connectors are what I like most about G3 skins. They have great connections and seem to be sturdier than the Black Diamond ones. As for probes and shovels, I have the BCA Tracker Two, and so far it has worked great. It has three antennas, which is an upgrade from the Tracker One. My only complaint is that it is easy to knock it back into send mode while in search mode, which can cause issues if you are trying to locate a buried person.