(1) The Salomon Equipe 10 Lab Skate Ski ($550; salomonsports.com) is the most confidence-inspiring ski we tested this year. Credit a unique camber that keeps the Equipe 10 from punching through soft snow or skittering on hardpack. Match 'em up with (2) Salomon's mostly carbon S-Lab Skate Pro Boot ($500), which ramps up control and energy transfer, and (3) Exel's World Cup Poles ($259; exelpoles.com). They're pricey, but like a nice pair of light and stiff road wheels, they'll boost speed and cut fatigue.
Getting your kick wax right is not easy. The (4) Madshus Nanosonic Carbon Classic Zero CIG Ski ($675; madshus.com), which features a new take on the "hairy" (not fish-scaled) grip zone, nearly makes wax obsolete: It performs well in virtually all conditions. Pair it with (5) Madshus's Nano CLC Boot ($400). It's the lightest classic boot on the market and, thanks to a soft-shell upper, also one of the most comfortable. And since you're going lightweight, opt for Madshus's 11-ounce Carbon Race 100 UHM Poles ($325; not pictured).
Windproof and breathable up front but as flexible as cycling tights, (6) Craft's Performance Storm Tights ($120; craft-usa.com) are warm enough for midwinter workouts. Able to shed light snow and rain, the (7) Swix Carbonate Jacket ($170; swixsport.com) features elasticized back panels for full range of motion. Keeping your hands warm after you've worked up a sweat is a real trick. The answer: (8) Toko's Thermo Windstopper Gore Glove ($69; tokous.com), which is made from windproof soft-shell fabric. You can wear (9) Buff's warm and versatile merino-wool Buff ($26; buff.us) as a neck warmer, hat, or headband.