DaKine Blade back pack, the Arbor S-Series snowboard, the K2 Eclipse boot (his), the the Atomic Beta Ride 10,50 Carbon ski boot (hers), and Salomon's Crossmax 9 Pilot (hers)
The Arbor S-Series snowboard ($470) is an all-terrain pleasure monster, thanks to a performance-enhancing wooden topsheet and internal carbon-fiber torsion rods. The K2 Eclipse boot ($200) uses triple-density foam to create a custom fit the first time you wear 'em. On deck, the K2 V-12 Magma binding ($230) instantly translates steering from boot to board to edge via magnesium-injected base plates and anatomical carbon highbacks. Backcountry riders who earn their turns have learned that when it comes to ascending, snowshoes and approach skis simply can't match the speed and efficiency of a splitboard. The 170 centimeters of the Burton Cascade SPLT 70 ($900 board, $130 climbing skins, $50 crampons) float and shred so smoothly, you'll never believe they were sliced down the middle. If you ski mostly in-bounds with a yen for carving high-speed turns and floating in powder, the Salomon Crossmax 9 Pilot ($975, skis and bindings) is your one-ski-fits-all. The Pilot system uses laterally mounted bindings and reduces the distance between the toe and heel mounts, eliminating the nonflexing dead spot underfoot (read: They turn on a dime). But if you do occasionally duck out-of-bounds, the cuff of the new Atomic Beta Ride 10.50 Carbon ski boot ($595) holds the Recco, a battery-free avalanche-beacon reflector that's been used in Europe for over 15 years. Plus, its shell design is like an Atomic World Cup race boot tweaked with softer and more comfortable plastic in the toe, ankle, instep, and shin. Classic bumper sticker: "Free your heel, your mind will follow." Built in the same mold as K2's AK Launcher alpine ski, the ultrafat Work Stinx ($499) telemark ski set the standard for off-piste powder, measuring 118 millimeters at the tip, 88 at the waist, and 105 at the tail. The asymmetric flex bellownot to mention the new three-buckle closure and higher, stiffer cuffsof the Scarpa T2 boot ($459) matches the natural curve of your toes for comfort and power steering off the back foot. The reengineered G3 Targa T-9 ($195) telly binding is steel-reinforced and battle-tested, good qualities when you're miles from any road. Add tasty extras like G3's new 15-millimeter Shim Extenders ($25) and the High-Performance Heel Kit ($25), and you've got quicker turning edge-to-edge as well. Thanks to a proprietary glue mixture and a clip at the tail, Black Diamond's 110-millimeter Ascension Nylon Clipfix Climbing Skins ($131) are good for yo-yoing your favorite hill. Lightweight, adjustable poles are key for all hiking snow sliders. The aluminum, three-section Life-Link Odyssey III ($100) offers a backpack-friendly 30-inch range of adjustment and composite lower sections for shatter-proof flexibility. With its easy-to-understand digital readout showing direction and distance to your lost companion, the Backcountry Access Tracker DTS ($300) is the quickest way to find someone buried alive. Period. In a time-sensitive search for a buried partner, don't fumble to connect your ski poles; rely instead on a dedicated probe pole like the collapsing one that nestles inside the shovel handle in the Backcountry Access Companion shovel/probe ($90). Haul everything in the DaKine Blade pack ($100), which carries skis and snowboards horizontally so they don't bang against your legs. The harnesses on the larger, snowboard-specific Arc'Teryx M40 ($225) render flapping boards immobile. When you're going for really big air (as in "airline"), luggage with wheels makes life sooo much easier. The taco-style DaKine Dually ($140)with heavy webbing, cinch-shut closures, and a big inside pocketuses a pair of in-line skating wheels to convey a veritable quiver: a pair of skis, a pair of boards, or a pair of each.