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Women-specific gear should never be a softer, pinker version of the men's. That's why we love the four-buckle T1 Lady, which is as robust as the men's T1 but with a narrower heel fit and Scarpa's custom-moldable Intuition liner. 7.4 lbs; scarpa.com      …

Obvious beer-goggle jokes notwithstanding, Scott’s new spherical, all-conditions Natural Light lens might be the most versatile in our test. Instead of a gray or vermilion field of vision, Natural Light shows the world pretty much as it is. scottusa.com…

Although K2 calls the Lotta Luv an expert ski, it accommodates a wide range of advanced skiers. The wood core, topped by a layer of metal, makes for a quiet ride, while the integrated Marker system binding allows the ski to arc naturally through the turn. If that all…

Instead of two straps, the new Essence has one big flap with four mini-ratchets. It’s a time-tested design, and testers loved this binding’s unparalleled feeling of security. flow.com…

Good for All Mountain Are you rather large? Do wimpy skis piss you off? Go to Helldiver! Here’s an all-mountain ski with a big platform underfoot—90 millimeters—and no speed limit. While our biggest and fastest testers loved bombing groomers on it, our lightest testers found it a…

The tour mode still lacks the flexibility of traditional bindings, but the wide range of variously stiff, color-coded cables makes the NTN a good choice for skiers of all abilities. “This binding truly brings telemark skiing to a new level,” said one neophyte. 5.4 lbs; rottefella.com  …

Telemark This year, SCARPA finally adds a walk mode to the powerful, smooth-skiing T-Race. Add that to its downhill chops—four buckles and the best power strap we’ve seen—and you’ve got, as one tester put it, “a full-tilt, full-shred crusher.” 8.6 lbs; TAGS: all mountain, new walk mode…

NO RATTLE, PLENTY OF HUM Another no-nonsense frontside carver, the new Strato 80 Ti is motorhead-fast right down to the flaming Troy Lee Designs graphics. But although you can push into sweeping turns at GS speeds and beyond, it’s not race-ski nervous. The wide-body tip needs only to be rolled…

Big Mountain Our women testers praised the Nemesis as “the go-to ski for anyone who seeks powder at all costs.” But, while the 98-millimeter waist says soft snow, when you hit the hardpack you can hang it way out there with the carvers. New this year, a “slow rise” in…

SPEED DEMON It’s rare for all of our testers to be on the same page, but everyone agreed: The new 888 is unquestionably the best ski the Slovenian company has produced in years. During several days of testing at Powder Mountain, these moderately wide planks (88 millimeters underfoot) effortlessly zippered…

Despite nasty conditions—slushy snow on the way up; a boulder-strewn snowmelt streambed on the descent—one tester reported dry feet and not one slip, even on ice. Credit the Gore-Tex liner, grippy outsole, and stiff midsole. asolo.com…

PARK POUNDER This directional twin is the fix for park junkies. The Choice spins fast and easily, and the quasi-fiberglass topsheet gives the board tremendous pop, putting testers in the air for longer than expected. Other park-friendly features include the blunt-shaped tip and tail and the Magne-Traction sidecut, which has…

Thanks to interchangeable tongues (one stiff, one hinged for touring) and a sole that's compatible with every AT binding on the market, the Spirit 4's are this year's most versatile boot. 7.6 lbs; scarpa.com   Bonus: Smart touches include tour-friendly Dynafit tech fittings and lighter-weight thermo-moldable liners.   Bummer: Some…

BACK-BOWL BOARDS Good for All Mountain More of a freeride ski than the Blizzard or Völkl, the Lord excels at slinking around the resort in search of bumps, steeps, and leftover powder. But it’s no noodle. The edge grip was unfailing—especially impressive for a ski with…

Good for Big Mountain The Zealot is unchanged for this year; it's still big and brown. More important—thanks to its snappy wood core and strategically placed rubber woven into the tip, tail, underfoot, and along the edges—it's better at holding an edge on firm snow than almost any other…

EASY STROLLER The best value out there for casual snowshoers, the Xplore is a light-duty shoe designed for packed trails and gently rolling terrain. But our testers found that the aggressive carbon­steel toe and heel crampons dug in well enough on the occasional crust, and the deck provided more than…

Built with a women-specific anatomical liner and last, the Shiva got highest honors in fit and flex, balancing comfortable uphill mechanics with downhill dependability. “Super flex, and stiff enough for downhill, yet the walk mode feels like you're in slippers,” declared one tester. Tech fittings mean it's compatible with lighter-weight…

Good for Resort Ski patrollers, lifties, and anyone who likes to hike will love the new all-mountain Blaster. It skis as well as boots priced hundreds of dollars more and, thanks to a grippy outsole and a sturdy (and inconspicuous) walk mode, is way more comfy when…

TELEMARK Good for Touring Garmont's new three-buckle Voodoo pairs a high, alpine-inspired cuff with asymmetrical bellows for un-tele-like smoothness. Testers backed up Garmont's claims that the new toe-box design creates better snow feel and also loved the lively new thermomoldable liners. “Ski it right out of the box,” said…

The all-mountain One Magtek got the same high scores as the Lando Phoenix (but doesn’t require a black belt in snowboarding), even though its profile is the exact opposite—traditional camber between the feet, with rocker in the tip and tail. “Reverse camber done right,” said one tester after experiencing…

Expert skiers have long favored the precise fit and feel of Lange boots. The only problem was, if you didn’t have narrow feet, the fit could be painfully tight. Enter the brand-new RX 130, the first high-performance boot Lange’s made—it’s the stiffest boot here—specifically for folks with wider feet.

Team-proven Snowboarder Scott Lago’s binding, the Flow NXT-ATSE, keeps getting better: This year’s is lighter and easier to adjust on the fly. Testers liked how quick it was to strap on, making skier friends equally pleased at the top of the lift.

Speed is Your Friend Racers and fitness snowshoers, these are for you. And, no, you’re not missing something; there’s no binding. Instead, running shoes or lightweight boots attach directly to the shoes’ PVC-free decks with included, easy-to-use hardware and a couple of punches with a power drill. (Yes, it permanently…

Fine-tune support with the Decade’s unique locking lace system. And don’t worry about taking them off right away: The liner, with its memory-foam footbed, stayed comfortable when the bar was standing room only. northwave.com…

Striking a balance between park monster and powder hound, the Polarity utilizes a twin progressive sidecut with tight tip and tail radii for effortless spins and knuckle-dragging turns at high speed. The 149 might seem small, but it's surprisingly fast for its size. And the flex is playful in the…

You can’t see the changes. But by tweaking the shape of the lower shell (it’s more upright) and upper cuff (less forward lean), Lange has created the most responsive expert-level boot we’ve ever skied in. langeskiboots.com…

Good for Touring If you're not an overly aggressive skier, or if you rarely or never ski in-bounds, a three-buckle boot like the Syner-G offers the perfect blend of smooth power on the way down and comfort on the way up. While it's not quite powerful enough to drive…

Two aluminum posts at each lace hook allow for super-tight lacing that kept our testers’ feet securely anchored in all conditions. Note: This boot fit our high-arched testers best. vanssnow.com…

Good for Resort Feel free to go big: An extra dose of cushioning in the Grail’s midsole makes for plush landings. Our big-footed testers also liked its low profile; their Shaq-like toes and heels didn’t hang as far over their boards, giving them more control.

On a slope full of shiny happy helmets, Pro-tec has a response: canvas. But don’t let the army-issue look and the sweet price fool you: The Ace has two adjustable front vents and two mesh-covered rear vents. pro-tec.net…

All Mountain From a man who skied it all, a ski that does it all. The late C.R. Johnson spent years developing this ski, and testers found it a fitting legacy. It’s got full rocker at the tip for float, reverse sidecut for smearing, scrubbing, and changing direction, and just…

Retightening your boots has never been easier. A cord on the outside of the Ryker’s upper cuff lets you control the inner lacing system without having to loosen the rest of the boot. They look dangly, but the external cords never snagged on anything. TAGS: quick-adjusting, all mountain…

Atomic’s WORLDCUP SKATE BOOT is light and stiff.

  Stiffer plastic in the upper cuff and lower shell make the Impact Pro beefy in all the right places. But it also has a soft side: Low-density plastic over the instep makes the boot easy to get on and off. salomonsports.com          …

THE ALL-AROUNDER Good for All Mountain How do you one-up the AC40, arguably the most versatile all-mountain ski ever made? You boost the edge hold with Marker’s iPT WideRide binding system, which transfers even more energy to this amazingly dynamic wood-core ski. You can feather…

At 13 ounces, the featherweight of the bunch is for freeskiers who don’t want to feel like they’re wearing a helmet at all. Trim padding makes this a good-looking helmet for narrow faces. markerusa.com…

With five adjustable underfoot cable settings, this binding, which was built to accommodate smaller boot sizes, suits all levels. 3 lbs; twentytwodesigns.com      …

Malleable rubber gaskets behind the foam create a reassuringly snug seal. Free-spinning strap hinges eliminate pressure points. And the spherical-like lens was second only to the Smith I/O in clarity. spyoptic.com…

Don’t mess with success. The Women’s Banshee incorporates Lange’s classic World Cup lower shell and a new women-specific upper cuff, providing a better fit and increased leverage without being overbearing around the calf. Improved rubber soles make it much easier to hike to the good stuff, and the shearling-like…

The men’s version of this shoe won 2010’s Gear of the Year award. The user-friendly women’s version has plenty of bite, but our favorite feature is a flexing frame that removes any jarring, whether you’re walking around the lake or up the mountain. 22″; tubbssnowshoes.com…

Good for All Mountain Here's the rightful heir to one of the bestselling skis of all time, the Salomon X-Scream of the 1990s. But while the X-Scream was no fun in deep snow, the brand-new Fury excels in it. The wider, 85-millimeter waist helps, but it's the ski's new…

ALPINE TOURING Good for All Mountain An update of the mainstay Fritschi Free-ride, the Eagle moves the pivot back an inch for a more natural skinning gait and broadens the mounting pattern for wider skis. “Kick turns are way easier than on Freerides,” said a tester. The DINs go…

Telemark It wasn’t the stiffest boot, or the lightest, but the Push quietly won testers over with its ability to do it all. “One boot to drive anything in my quiver,” said one tester. The Push features adjustable forward lean, Boa lacing, and a thermomoldable liner that fit most testers…

MOST VERSATILE It’s a frontside ski, so you can carve easy but powerful turns on it all day long, but thanks to subtle tip rocker (see page 39) and a big sweet spot, you can work the Rictor through bumps and mellow off-piste conditions with ease. Buy it if you…

Big Mountain As the stiffest boot in the women’s Inferno line, the Crush was our favorite advanced-level boot. “It’s a no-holds-barred women’s skiing machine!” one tester exclaimed. Its basic design—low volume with a very natural and efficient stance—fit most of our testers well right out of the box. A faux-fur…

  This stripped-down boot has a low flex point and an upright feel, but is plenty stiff enough to crank high-speed turns with confidence. head.com   Bonus: Its micro-adjustable alloy buckles were easy to fine-tune, even in bulky gloves.      …

LIGHT AND NIMBLE Ride engineers whittled away every bit of fat from this board by using tricks like a topsheet made with fabric-like material, which slices the weight of a typical topsheet in half. Ride even slimmed down its Slimewalls without losing their incredibly poppy action. But while most ultralights…

Thanks to the stiff carbon-fiber tongue and “stringers” that laterally reinforce the Zzeros, these ultralight four-buckle boots felt surprisingly solid and stiff bombing down steep shots around Loveland Pass. 7 lbs; dynafit.us   Bonus: Grooved guides in the toe make the boots much easier to click into the bindings than…

EVERY RESORT, EVERY RUN Good for All Mountain Rossi bills the Phantom as a 60 percent off-piste ski. So we were a little nervous taking it out on early-morning boilerplate at Taos. But even though this shark-nosed and fairly straight ski is silky and light, it…

Good for All Mountain The Anti Piste has the exact same dimensions as K2's popular Coomba but with a bit of rocker in the tip. You can tell. Testers loved the way the subtle tweak to the shape allowed them to smear turns in a flash but noted…

HIGH FLYER Like the Tahoe-based hucker for whom it’s named, this one is all about the park. The Jackson Pro’s true-twin shape and easy swing weight allow for solid spins and switch riding. “Superstiff and powerful, this thing tore through the park,” remarked one tester after multiple laps. Strips of…

Good for Telemark Now available in a size small, the NTN binding offers women accustomed to alpine-like control and power a no-sacrifices way to get into telemark skiing. Testers liked that they didn't have to bend over and mess with cables to get in and out. And everyone praised…

Good for Resort Testers were truly shocked: You’re not supposed to be able to get a boot this good at this price. The key feature is the special plastic underfoot: It’s formulated for optimum energy transmission, and they must have gotten the recipe right, because the Sensor…

Band Aider New to running tech? Start here. A foot pod and waterproof wristband measure time, total distance (90 to 95 percent accurate), and speed (ballpark), then uploads the info into basic Web-based tracking software. nikerunning.nike.com…

The Quasar features triple-layer foam for a cushioned fit, spherical lenses for optical clarity, and, like the Smith (right), an equalizer vent to help eliminate moisture buildup and fogging. All those inclusions would more than merit the $140 price tag, but the Modulator lenses are also photochromic, a feature…

The Sensor3 is easy to like. It has a slightly wider fit that almost every tester (except those with really narrow feet) raved about. But it’s no slouchy cruiser; despite its comfy fit, it’s one of the stiffest boots in Rossi’s line. TAGS: easygoing, big mountain…

Lightweight Response And for those of you who ride Burton’s EST boards, the company has updated its EST-only CO2 binding. Testers agreed that the new soft-rubber cushions in the highback soak up even more chatter, but they had mixed feelings about the redesigned ankle straps. They’re lighter but also…

The Imperial has plenty of trick features—like shell material that helps distribute the rider’s weight and rubber ice spikes on a Vibram outsole for better hiking traction. But testers most appreciated the simple lacing system, which allows you to quickly lock in the ankle and toe areas separately.

Built on the same chassis as Völkl's bestselling alpine ski, the Mantra, the M Rock is lighter (there's no metal in it), and its wood/PU core makes it slightly less forgiving—and more fun—in powder. 133/94/113, 7.8 lbs; volkl.com   Bonus: Hands-down the best resort AT ski we tested. “I'd put…

Off the stair rail or the gap box, this binding is a top performer that's ergonomically shaped for women. The UnderWrap.2 Heel Hoop is slimmed down and cored out in the toe region for a super-responsive feel. Choose among several strap positions (capped or regular). romesnowboards.com      …

You know your buddy with the dollar-sign cuff links and flashy ski jacket? The Freerides, with their plush, lined straps and faux-leather accents, are for that guy. komperdell.com…

Good for Touring You can find a lighter AT boot, but our testers felt the Radium had the best downhill performance-to-weight ratio. Credit the Radium's alpine heritage—an overlap shell—and the Pebax reinforcements in the thermomoldable liner, which add stiffness but almost no weight. Walk mode is a little clunky,…

Its solid performance and great price made this our top pick for intermediate riders. Nice touch: An antimicrobial coating helps keep them from funking up the condo. ridesnowboards.com…

Good for Resort Can’t stand mushy boots? With its high-density EVA and synthetic leather in the shell, the Journey is the stiffest boot here. Testers also liked the ergonomic tongue, which hugs your shin for immediate response. dcshoes.com…

The lightest option here (it weighs just 15 ounces), this airy helmet was our top choice for touring. If you’re a hothead like me, you’ll love the way the vents flow air through the helmet as well as in between the outer shell and the liner.

All Mountain Aptly named for the exposed adjustable pivot beneath the toe, the Axl is a free-pivot touring binding like its forebear, the legendary Hammerhead. Testers found that the underfoot pistons, sleek cable routing, and heel throw provided more downhill chops than any similar binding on the hill. And unlike…

JUST RELAX Every ski in K2’s line features rocker this season. In addition to floating a ski, rocker can be designed to help initiate a turn. Such is the case with the easy-skiing Aftershock. And where skis like the Nordica Enforcer and Völkl Kendo require near-constant attention, it’s possible to…

Finally, embrace your inner nordic dork with CASCO‘s frameless, photochromic NORDIC SPIRIT COMPETITION SHIELDS.

WIDE BUT NIMBLE You don’t need to be a big company to make a big ski. Liberty, a small manufacturer in Avon, Colorado, has created a giant-killer with the Helix. An eco-friendly bamboo-and-poplar core gives it a light and poppy feel—but the Helix is still tough enough to land hard…

Big Daddies If these were skis, they’d be your superfat powder boards. With smaller teeth and abundant surface area, the aluminum-framed Mountain Quests easily kept testers afloat when smaller snowshoes began to sink. While it takes a bit of practice not to feel as if you’re walking in flippers, they’re…

Use your ski pole to switch this durable binding to the more efficient touring mode (instead of your toe pivoting in the binding, the binding pivots with your foot). 3.7 lbs; bdel.com Bonus: Choose from three compression-spring cartridges of varying stiffness (binding comes with one; pay $56 each…

FREIGHT TRAIN COMIN’ Good for Powder Our favorite powder ski, the Kuro just might redefine the class. Whereas most rockered skis are surfy by design, the Kuro effortlessly blasts through powder like a more classically shaped fat boy. Credit Völkl’s Elongated Low Profile design—essentially less rocker in…

Are we not dudes? Must we sport beads and faux fur on our goggles? Oakley, thankfully, says “No!” The new Ambush is blessedly simple but stylish, comes in six different colors, and has top-notch helmet compatibility. oakley.com…

ALPINE TOURING The third-year Aura is lively on hardpack and absorbs crud, thanks to Völkl's poplar-and-beech core and the two sheets of titanium that cover it. Bonus: The progressive sidecut holds an edge at all speeds. Bummer: Dampness and power equal extra weight. 130/94/113, 7.3 lbs; volkl.com…

Testers loved the no-brainer binding on this aggressively cramponed shoe: It positions your boots in the snowshoe perfectly every time, and with one pull you’re in—no fiddling with toe and heel adjusters required. 23″, 27″; atlassnowshoe.com…

Good for Frontside Got fresh legs and a belly full of breakfast burrito? Rotate the knob on the Tigershark’s tail to dynamic mode and feel this damp and stable cruiser morph into a hyper-energized beer-league racer. Already had that beer? Switch it back to cruise control mode…

TELEMARK Good for All Mountain If you loved the snow feel and adjust-ability of TwentyTwo Designs' classic HammerHead, you'll go for the Axl, the same binding with a free-pivot tour mode. “Every bit as powerful and responsive as the HammerHead,” said one tester. And for the ups, another added,…

Alpine Touring Built with a new steel-rod touring mechanism, the Mobe skis like a (softer) alpine boot with a walk mode and lug soles. Only it’s just eight pounds per pair—about 30 percent lighter than your average alpine boot. Add a booster strap, a rockered mountaineering sole, and tech fittings…

THE TWOFER Remember what we said about simple ski design being the best? Forget that for a moment. Atomic’s DoubleDeck (D2) technology actually delivers. Each ski is essentially made up of two decks: The bottom one contours the snow surface—boosting edge hold, control, and glide—while the upper one responds to…

All Mountain The Kenja is a master of all terrain, thanks to an even flex and a modestly tapered sidecut. On snow, that translates to a huge sweet spot—you don’t have to be “on it” all the time—with a low swing weight and silky ride. At 86 millimeters underfoot, it’s…