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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…

Hate cold toes? This is one of the first boots with an integrated, rechargeable heating system in the liner—crank it to a cozy 104 degrees for up to six hours. Caveat: The liner lacing always seemed to loosen by midday. burton.com      …

POWDER KING The Gyrator strikes a nostalgic chord with its graphics, but there’s nothing retro about the ride. Reverse-camber construction (the deck has a concave bow) enables the Gyrator to float atop powder with the ease of bigger, wider boards. But it can also tackle groomers thanks to its progressive…

There's a reason Scarpa hasn't made many changes to the T2X over the past few years: It's solid just the way it is. A three-buckle lightweight that comes in at a pound less than Scarpa's bulkier boots, it's most at home far from $12 hamburgers. 6.5 lbs; scarpa.com   Bonus:…

RIDE THE RAILS Good for Groomed RunsEquipped with a race-worthy binding plate and wrapped in the classic sandwich construction, the Cool Heat penetrates the hardest snow with minimal ankle flexion. “You can feel Fischer’s racing heritage when you bring these up to speed,” said one tester. The Cool Heat…

Good for All Mountain Don't let the new costume fool you. El Hombre's guts are unchanged, and he still controls all corners of the ring–er, mountain. “It has good western all-mountain dimensions,” said one tester, “and enough shape and torsional stiffness to rail on variable snow.” It can be…

FAST AND LIGHT Hailed as the lightest snowboard on the market, this all-mountain model’s superior float in the soft stuff made it a tester favorite. But lightness doesn’t equal weakness. Thanks to a synthetic polymer placed beneath the binding inserts—K2 calls the stuff Harshmellow—this setback twin has guts, silencing chatter…

Simple, easy to use, and time-tested, the durable Freeride remains as comfortable inbounds as it is on the Haute Route. Its 6–12 DIN accommodates a wide range of skiing styles and abilities, making this one of the most versatile AT bindings around.4.5 lbs; blackdiamondequipment.com      …

Good for Resort Salomon adapted the technology usually reserved for custom-boot makers for the rest of us. With some heat and the help of a professional fitter, two sections of special plastic on this all-mountain boot mold to your foot for a precise fit.

Fits Any Foot With most snowshoes, it’s just strap ’em on and go. That’s fine, unless you’re a bit duckfooted or pigeon-toed, in which case you’ll likely step on your tails, trip on your tips, and generally stumble around in misery. There’s another way: With the pull of a pin,…

Zeal has carved out a niche for itself in the ultra-high end of the market, and the SPPX Eclipse fits right in. Not only did the lenses get the highest score for optical clarity; they’re also polarized and photochromic. It’s the latter feature that will really blow you away,…

Based on the classic Raichle design from the eighties—with some cool updates—the First Chair has impressive quickness edge to edge and, of course, the trademark progressive flex. But it’s also got new metal buckles (lighter, more durable) and an updated cable system that’s easier to adjust. TAGS:…

LEKI‘s wicked-expensive but wicked-light SUPER SHARK POLES are worth ponying up for.

Testers reached for the burly Vector when they knew they’d be in changing conditions—like atop Mount Elbert, a Colorado fourteener. Spiked rails and a bear claw of points underfoot bit into hard-packed snow and ice. “I never had to take my gloves off when adjusting my shoes,” one tester…

From ripping the steeps at Silverton to carving groomers at Loveland, these twin tips were the ultimate hero skis. Their wood core makes them feel indestructibly stiff while bombing descents, yet their lightweight construction means they climb easily too. 128/98/121, 8.4 lbs; rossignol.com   Bonus: Super stable in crud.  …

This lightweight, composite-baseplated binding reacts instantly to commands. With the new Speed Zone strap technology, one pull and the ankle strap cinches tight. Custom-fit the Escapade with tool-free adjustments for strap length and forward lean. burton.com      …

These limited-edition beauties come with their own carrying case and feature Leki’s proprietary Trigger grip system: An integrated harness pops onto and off of the pole’s grip, so you don’t have to constantly shove your gloved hand in and out of the straps. The technology is also available in…

Good for Big Mountain One boot for both AT and tele? Yup. Because the X Pro doesn't have a duckbill like traditional telemark boots, it's compatible with the new NTN binding. But thanks to its standard sole and Dynafit tech fittings, it also works with Dynafit AT bindings.

With a unique V-strap system that uses only one ratchet at the heel, the Contraband is a cinch to tighten. And the toe strap may look like a big rubber band, but it’s more secure than it appears.ridesnowboards.com…

Good for Resort Testers loved the ability to customize the stiffness of the Sonic, thanks to traditional laces. In addition, an inner lacing system snugs tight—and never loosens—which means you don’t have to worry about retying halfway through the day. thirtytwo.com…

Front vents above the goggles force air between the helmet’s two layers, while the back vents draw air away. The result: chimney-like airflow that doesn’t whistle across your head. Flip a lever to open six additional vents on the helmet top, or flick ’em closed when the snow starts…

Fast and Light A standout as one of the most versatile skis in the test, this city kid is really a country boy. Testers found the slightly rockered, variable-sidecut Manhattan quick and snappy in tight trees but at its best with a good head of steam. “Turn it to 11…

WELCOME TO BIG BOY The Sultan 85 features the resilient wood core, powerful vertical sidewalls, and two sheets of vibration-quieting Titanal that elite skiers demand, but thanks to the addition of an “early rise” tip—a hint of rocker up front—you won’t have to muscle it into turns. Which means you…

From day hiking in the Front Range to hut trips in Canada, testers loved the go-anywhere Electra for its new FRS (free-rotating suspension) binding, which, they said, gave the shoe a springy feeling that made walking easier. The squared-off claws bit into steep terrain as well as fanglike crampons,…

  Take a few turns in the Hawx and you’ll notice they don’t feel as clunky and rigid as other boots, due to a radical design that allows the boot to flex underfoot. “The flex translates to a fun, easy ride for intermediate skiers,” said one tester. atomicsnow.com    …