Costa Cheeca Sunglasses ($259)
Turns out polarized glass is nice when the water’s frozen, too. Costas excel in the mountains, with an athletic fit that helps them stay put.
Rab Microlight Summit Jacket ($325)
With hydrophobic goose down, a longer cut to keep the coat from creeping up above your pack’s waist belt, and a helmet-compatible hood, the Microlight Summit sounds overbuilt. But weighing in at just a pound, it’s anything but.
Burton Flight Attendant X Splitboard ($1,500)
The Flight Attendant X rode so well that one tester brought it along on a trip to Utah’s powder-filled resorts. It’s wider at the tip than at the tail, it floats over deep snow, and camber underfoot lends it pop. But what we liked best was the board’s tight, surfy responsiveness. A real joy in trees.
K2 Aspect Boots ($460)
With grabby Vibram outsoles and stiff construction, the Aspect can take crampons and kick steps into ice—important attributes in a backcountry boot. Other features we appreciated: the warm Intuition liners and the Boa system that links to cables on the shell, which made tweaking the fit easy even in gloves.
Black Diamond Ascension Splitboard STS Skins ($175)
BD’s patented tail clips ensure a snug fit, and the nylon bases offer exceptional glide and traction. The Ascensions are worth the time and trouble it takes to trim them to fit.
Patagonia Powder Bowl Pants ($299)
Gore-Tex keeps them dry, mesh lining at the vents prevents snow from intruding, and articulated knees boost mobility. The Powder Bowl works as well off the lift as it does on the skin track.
Karakoram Prime Connect-W Bindings ($399)
The women’s Prime retains the machined aluminum and easy transition from climb to ride mode of all Karakoram bindings. Get the dedicated splitboard plates ($149) to mount them for backcountry use.
Jones Talon Pro Poles ($150)
These collapsible sticks are made with two lengths of carbon to save weight and one length of aircraft-grade aluminum for durability.