The Outside Blog

Skiing and Snowboarding : Feb 2012

Maestrale

Scarpa advertises the Dynafit-compatible Maestrales as the world's lightest four-buckle alpine touring boot. At less than 3.5 pounds per boot, they're less work on the hike up, and they're burly enough to turn big skis in deep snow on the way back down, making them a favorite of WildSnow's Lou Dawson. Plus, with a high-volume forefoot they're perfect for skiers who need more wiggle room in the toes.

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TLT 5 Performance TF

Dynafit's ultra-light TLT 5 Performance TF is the ultimate option for skiers who put as much emphasis on the up as they do the down. At just over two pounds per boot, they're flexible and fast in the walk mode, thanks in part to a rockered sole. A pair of buckles on each boot and carbon-fiber cuffs provide enough support for serious descents after a run uphill with your skins. Caveats? They're not cheap.

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Duke

Stout, alpine-influenced sidecountry bindings with a free-heel function for climbing—that's the Duke in a nutshell. This high-performing binding can clamp on for the biggest runs (DIN tops out at 16) and can switch to a hinged hike mode for skinning up the bowl. Marker made the Duke's chassis specifically for wider skis, and the company says the bindings are among the best at transferring power from boots to ski for initiating fast turns on hardpack.

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TLT Vertical FT

Light, efficient, and as good in most applications on the uphill as the down, Dynafit's TLT line is among the most popular in the backcountry. The Vertical FT model is sold as lightweight freeride-touring bindings, and they include stout torsional resistance and a DIN setting up to 12.

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LockJaw

With no shortage of bells and whistles, the carbon LockJaw pole is a versatile backcountry poker. Its length can be easily adjusted, a bubble-vial inclinometer on the handle makes gauging slope angle a cinch, and a snow-depth ruler offers a tool for measuring layers in a snowpack. Even better, the poles can be connected to build a 196-centimeter-long avalanche probe for snowpack searches in an emergency.

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