“I love my ski boots,” said no one. Ever. Complaints are common in this category, but brands are determined to stop skiers’ moans. This year’s models solve virtually every gripe, from cold toes to slippery soles. 

(Courtesy Fischer)

Fischer RC4 Curv 130 ($699)

Solved: Pinched feet.

Moldable liners are so 2005. Conformable shells are the new custom-fit frontier. The Fischer RC4 Curv 130 uses an exoskeleton made of a plastic that’s vacuum-molded at a specialty retailer to your unique foot shape. 

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(Courtesy K2)

Spyne 120 Heat ($900)

Solved: Frozen toes.

K2 plugged a furnace into its hard-charging Spyne 120 Heat that keeps the whole foot toasty. Six hours on a USB cable recharges the battery, and a stiff Y-shaped panel on the back of the cuff delivers enough muscle to drive burly boards.

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(Courtesy Dalbello)

Panterra 120 I.D. ($750 with moldable liner)

Solved: Parking-lot wipeouts.

Walking seems easy, until you try it in ski boots across a street coated in black ice. To spare skiers some humiliation, Dalbello put an aggressive rubber sole on the Panterra 120 I.D. Its big lugs provide the traction you want on slick sidewalks, while the add-on rockered heel (along with a walk mode) facilitates a smooth, natural stride.

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(Courtesy Salomon)

Salomon X Max 120 ($725)

Solved: Deadweights.

High-performance boots no longer need to be lead-heavy. Expert skiers: witness the Salomon X Max 120, which employs a razzle-dazzle new svelte Grilamid  plastic shell that’s light (each boot weighs just 4.6 pounds) but authoritative. Our most aggressive ski testers loved the X Max’s predilection for speed as we mached down Steamboat’s Howelsen Hill. 

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(Courtesy Lange)

Lange RS 130 ($850)

Solved: Blocky racers. 

The Lange RS 130 delivers the precision and power you expect from a racer, but with a more nuanced fit. Anatomical shaping in the toe box and ankle improves comfort without compromising efficiency. And by pairing harder plastic in the shell’s spine, heel, and lower body (for optimal energy transmission) with a softer polymer in the leg and foot, the RS offers a better bump-absorbing flex than its competitors.

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(Courtesy Tecnica)

Tecnica Mach1 Pro W LV ($840)

Solved: Flimsy women’s models.

The Tecnica Mach1 Pro W LV gives a true women-specific fit informed by an exhaustive study of female foot shapes. It’s snug in the heel and low-volume through­out (with a 98-millimeter last). Lamb’s wool blended with heat-retentive Celliant fibers makes the liner outrageously warm. And with a 115 flex, it rips.

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The Best Resort Skis of 2018

Thanks to a plethora of new materials, skis are getting way more versatile. (Courtesy Blizzard) Blizzard Rustler 10 ($780) “Ski of the future.” When multiple test cards make that claim, you know an engineer just blew up the status quo of ski design. That’s the case with the Rustler 10. Until now, strong western skiers had to choose between burly big-mountain sticks made for charging steeps and playful freeride ones built to pivot and slough. Austria-based Blizzard decided to fill this void. Thanks to an entirely new construction with carbon in the rockered tip and tail, metal in the

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The Best Snowboards of 2018

Seven boards that put fun first. (Courtesy Salomon) Salomon Sick Stick ($650) Snowboarders just wanna have fun. Thankfully, designers are putting a premium on pleasure for 2018, focusing more on playful, enjoyable models that pop like tarts and slash like surfboards. Of the more than 100 planks we tested at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, the Sick Stick best epitomizes the return to snowboarding’s fun-loving roots. Salomon revamped this decade-old staple, most notably by getting rid of the board’s characteristic pintail in favor of shapes specific to each model size: the shortest deck (the 151) has the widest waist and

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The Best Backcountry Skis and Bindings of 2018

AT gear keeps getting better and better at handling the down. (Courtesy Volkl) Völkl 100Eight ($825) Backcountry-ski makers have spent years pursuing the holy grail of the alpine-touring world: a ski that’s light enough for touring but still rips on the down, no matter the snow conditions. While no one has nailed it yet, the Gear of the Year–winning Völkl 100Eight comes closer than most. You’ll often see this ski in-bounds at the resort because of its downhill prowess, but our out-of-bounds testers have adopted it, too. Its construction keeps the weight manageable for touring, with guts made from twin

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The Best Alpine Touring Ski Boots of 2018

Backcountry boots are stiffer and more powerful than ever. (Courtesy Salomon) Salomon S/Lab X-Alp ($1,000) The Arc’teryx Procline was the first boot with side-to-side flex in touring mode. Now there’s the X-Alp as well, which gets 23 degrees of inward flex and 13 degrees of outward, to help you skin across angled terrain. The biggest difference between this Salomon and the Arc’teryx is that the X-Alp is stiffer, better for driving a big ski. 2.9 lbs Buy Now (Courtesy Lange) Lange Women’s XT Freetour 110 LV ($750) A 110 flex might sound a little soft, but all of our testers

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The Best Splitboarding Gear of 2018

Two sticks up, one down. (Courtesy Weston) Weston Backwoods Splitboard ($899) Slashy even in tight trees, this poplar-bamboo board hails from a boutique maker in Weston, Colorado. Its fun, surfy feel comes from a tip that’s wider than the tail, plus camber underfoot and rocker at the ends. BUY NOW (Courtesy ThirtyTwo) ThirtyTwo Jones MTB Boots ($600) With full-zip gaiters, a crampon-compatible Vibram outsole with heavy lugs for hiking, and a collar that folds back to allow longer strides while skinning, these boots are tough enough to get you anywhere you think you want to be. Careful: you’ve still got

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The Best Nordic Skiing Gear of 2018

Keep fit all year with this fast-gliding skinny-ski gear. (Courtesy Rossignol) Rossignol X-ium Premium Skate S2 Skis ($805) Designed in collaboration with Rossignol athletes, the X-ium S2 has a rigid waist and flexible tail to deliver powerful energy transmission while reducing pressure in the shovel for enhanced glide and steering. The longer glide zone makes accelerating a breeze. BUY NOW (Courtesy Swix) Swix Triac 3.0 Poles ($600) These are the lightest, stiffest carbon poles on the market. Swix eliminated stretch in the wrist strap and added an index-finger platform to help transfer power to the ultra-minimal grip-and-strap system. BUY NOW

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