The Best Backcountry Skiing Setups for Women

The ultimate setups for hunting down powder.

–Olivia Dwyer
(Inga Hendrickson)

The ultimate setups for hunting down powder.

–Olivia Dwyer

G3 Empress 115 Skis

"They should have named this ski the Impressed," said one tester of G3's fattest women’s ski to date ($700). It's snappy and forgiving in bumps and trees, but has just enough girth for the deepest days. Just be careful with leftovers: it doesn’t have quite enough guts to plow confidently through crud and variable snow.

145/115/126; 8.4 lbs

(Courtesy of Mec)


Marker Tour EPF F12 Bindings

The new F12 ($429) has enhanced power transmission thanks to a wider (ten milli-meters) mounting platform. It’s not as powerful as the beefier Duke, but it’s more than a pound lighter. You still have to remove your skis to change modes, but for solid downhill performance in and out of bounds, the F12 delivers.

4.5 lbs

(Courtesy of Earn Your Turns)


Black Diamond Shiva Mx Boots

The Shiva Mx ($769) had nearly every tester gushing about its power and comfort. With additional raves for tech compatibility (the boot’s swappable sole blocks work with any binding) and balanced flex, the Shiva, one glowing tester said, "eats chunder for lunch!"

8.3 lbs

(Inga Hendrickson)


Salomon Lumen Skis

The Lumen's ($599) fir and poplar core, tip rocker, underfoot camber, and flat tail contribute to its solid feel. Plus, Salomon cut weight out of the tip by using a honeycomb material. The result is a responsive and playful ski that, as one tester raved, "lays big GS turns through crud with amazing precision."

131/96/117; 7.3 lbs

(Courtesy of Ken Jones Ski Mart)


Voile Switchback X2 Bindings

The X2 ($299) remains the most powerful lightweight telemark binding available. Testers called it "amazingly stiff," even when paired with skis fatter than the Lumen. Its spring is 25 percent stiffer than the original, and Voile moved back the cable pivot point, which makes for a less encumbered touring stride.

3.1 lbs

(Courtesy of Wilderness Exchange Unlimited)


Black Diamond Stiletto Boots

You can walk comfortably in these Stilettos ($699). Over the past few years, Black Diamond has increased the range of the walk mode and trimmed a bit of weight. What stays the same: a snug Boa ratcheting system and warmth-boosting features like a heat-reflective sole.

7.6 lbs

(Inga Hendrickson)

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