Outdoor Retailer Preview: Backcountry Ski Gear

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The Outdoor Retailer show is next week! We'll be onsite to see the latest gear for fall 2012 and we'll be handing out awards for Gear of the Show. Here are some attention grabbing early releases for backcountry skiers that just hit our desks.


Dynafit Vulcan TF: Made for the new free touring, hiking in for extreme lines, Dynafit is calling its new carbon Vulcan TF, developed with input by pro skier Eric Hjorleifson, a completely new way of thinking about AT boots. The boot gives skiers big mountain performance at half the weight of similar boots. The Vulcan can drive the fattest ski, and climb the highest peak while maintaining optimal control for stomping pillow lines, zipping through high speed arcs, or dropping a powdery backcountry hit.

Dynafit President Chris Sword said, “The Vulcan offers unrivaled skiing performance, the ability to drive modern freeride skis at any speed, the possibility to customize forward stiffness, optimal heel retention while skiing and when landing big drops. This is combined with the walk-ability, and the lightness and patented technologies that made our TLT5 so popular among the best skiers in the world.  All the best materials such as carbon fiber, grilamid and magnesium are used in this model to offer un-thinkable performance and lightness.” Available fall 2012, $1000,


Salomon Guardian 16/Atomic Tracker 16: Salomon and Atomic collaborated on this user-friendly oversized platform with a low-profile chassis binding. It's designed so that you don’t have to take off your skis to switch from walk to ski mode. Flip the climbing bar to skiing position with your pole, step down with your heel until the binding locks securely into place, and you’re ready to rip. (Note: to get your climbing skins off without removing your skis takes some yoga-inspired movements.) The Salomon Guardian 16 and Atomic Tracker 16 are individually branded, but identical. The companies have told us the bindings are tuned for descents, but test models won't be available until January. Available September 2012, $550,,

K2 Bolt Ski: Skis have been trending fatter and fatter for ever better float in deep powder. There’s been less attention paid to giving skiers who rip it up on hardpack (hello Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine—we feel your pain). So, K2 developed the Bolt. The Bolt (125-72-99 with a fir core) is in K2’s All-Mountain Performance (A.M.P.) line. It's designed to be the ultimate high speed carving instrument for hardpack. K2’s claim: the Bolt has “unshakable hold in the firmest conditions, with the added benefit of effortless turn initiation.” Available fall 2012, $1380,

BCA Float 32 Avalanche Airbag: There is no question that ABS packs are the safest solution when you're traveling in Avy terrain, but for many people the price is prohibitive. BCA is touting its Float 32 as the lightest and most affordable mid-sized airbag pack on the market. Designed for pros, guides and dedicated backcountry travelers carrying the full quiver of essentials, the pack includes BCA's removable airbag system. It has big volume storage capacity, load lifters, a new external shovel/probe pocket, waist belt pocket, lined goggle pocket, hydration sleeve, and a snowboard attachment (sold separately). At six plus pounds, it's still heavy. But the peace of mind is worth it. Available Fall 2012, $725,

-Berne Broudy

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