K2 BackDrop Backcountry Skis

If it’s been a while since you bought telemark or alpine touring gear, you’ll notice that the game has changed quite a bit. Skis that used to be fat are now narrow, almost every new model has some degree of rocker, and

   Photo: K2

GEAR OF THE YEAR: With the BackDrop, K2 has refined its proven recipe for a powder ski—a perfect blend of rocker and sidecut combined with a bit of carbon fiber—with fantastic results. “Catlike quickness, and it floats like a cork,” one tester said. “Requires minimal skier input to smear, slash, or rail any turn,” said another. It’s also light enough to tour with, thanks to that lattice of carbon in the tail and forebody. The result is a go-anywhere, shred-anything ski that craves powder but can handle resort chop without complaint. Bonus: K2’s pre-trimmed skins ($200) snap into the BackDrop’s tip and tail holes in seconds. 142/112/131; 8 lbs

Versatility: 4.5
Power: 4

Brand: K2 $880
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