The Best Women’s Backcountry Skis, Bindings, and Boots of 2016
The two best alpine-touring setups of the year.
From skinning up in the morning to shredding down icy chutes, our two favorite alpine-touring setups can handle it all.
G3 Synapse 101 W skis
A ski this light and uphill oriented tends to get skittish on the downs. Not so the Synapse 101W, which let testers rip in everything from day-old mank to eight inches of fresh. The superb mix of stiffness and playfulness comes from the carbon-wrapped poplar and paulownia core and the early-rise tip and tail. 130/101/118; 5.8 lbs
Fritschi Diamir Vipec 12 bindings
Last year the Vipec 12 made our list of finalists because of its alpine-binding-like toe release and pole-adjustable heel riser. The new version is even better, a result of subtle improvements like boot-toe guides for easy entry. 2.4 lbs
Atomic Century 109 skis
Mount alpine bindings on the Century 109 and you’ll be happy charging the resort all season. But the lightweight, carbon-reinforced wood core also makes this a fantastic big-mountain touring ski. With an early-rise tip and slight tail rocker, it’s ideal for deep days. 132/109/122; 7.5 lbs
Tyrolia Carbon Ambition 12 bindings
The Ambition 12 is one of the lightest frame bindings on the market, with a stiff carbon tube running between toe and heel. Compatible with downhill and AT boots, it’s only a little less capable on fast descents than a true alpine model. Best for those who spend equal time on both sides of the rope. 3.6 lbs
Tecnica Cochise Pro Light W boots
Meet the AT boot that thinks it’s an alpine rig. An updated metal-on-metal walk system gives you more flex and a locked-in ride on the descent. The burly power strap adds even more forward and lateral stiffness. The only downside: it’s heavy. 8.5 lbs
Scott Sports Celeste II boots
The Celeste II had no problem taming wide planks, with a relatively tall cuff, four burly buckles, and a stiff shell. But it was the walk mode, with 60 degrees of flex, that impressed us most. “It would tear up the dance floor as effectively as the slopes,” one tester said. 5.3 lbs