Call it whatever you want—sidecountry, slackcountry, or frontcountry. But as the line between resort and backcountry continues to blur, the differences are obvious: Where we're skiing is changing, and so is the gear we're using. And just as our favorite alpine ski—the aptly named SideStash —is equally adept on both sides of an area's boundaries, so are many of this year's top alpine-touring and telemarking boots, bindings, and skis, starting with the boards you're looking at.
1. With a slightly rockered tip, minimal camber, and plenty of girth (115 underfoot), the Justice is a confidence-inspiring powder board. But it's not so fat or rockered that it feels skittish on firmer snow. In other words, it's just right: not as stiff as the Zealot, BD's big-mountain ski, with a surfy feel similar to the Megawatt, their powder-specific pig.
2. For such a light ski, the wood-core Justice has remarkable "pop," "guts," plus any of the dozen or so other words testers used to describe how lively and unflappable it performed in leftover snow. You can see how it saves weight: BD simply machines away core material where it's not needed, which is why the topsheet looks like a contour map.
3. What to mount it up with? We're glad you asked. If going down—be it at the resort or in the backcountry—is your number-one priority, mate it with a beefier binding like an NTN or Marker Duke. But our preference would probably be to pair it with Dynafit or Voile bindings for the ultimate ski-it-all touring setup.
(140/115/125, 9.2 lbs) blackdiamondequipment.com