The day trip is the realm of the powder hunter who wants to get away from the madding crowd. It’s for those who are as devoted to finding untracked snow as they are to ripping it up on the way down. For them gear needs to find that middle ground: light and efficient for getting up fast; and powerful and stable for getting down even faster.
Cute killer kit
Flylow’s got a knack for making kickass gear that’s right on style, and nails it again with its latest backcountry-focused women’s kit. The Domino Jacket and Siren Bib use The Perm, Flylow’s proprietary waterproof-breathable fabric. It’s lightweight, stretchy and highly waterproof. It’s also air permeable—hence the name. Hit the skin track and body heat naturally passes through the jacket before the mugginess builds up inside. Jacket $460, pant $460; flylowgear.com
Collab skinning cap
Toques are too hot. Ball caps are too cold. The Paradise Cap is Goldilocks. This collaboration between hat-maker Coal and apparel manufacturer 686 is an insulated and weather-resistant ball cap with ear flaps that tie under the chin for windy ridges or over the top when it’s warmer out. $58; coalheadwear.com
The Scarpa Maestrale XT is a unique boot. Most 130-flex backcountry boots look more like a resort boot—tall and lanky. But the newest Maestrale shares the DNA of its best-selling backcountry-focused siblings: full hiking-boot-style sole, three buckles and shorter height. The hybrid design hints at its versatility and uses Grilamid plastics found in top-end boots. We skied this boot in a downhill dash on a sheet of ice and on long days yo-yoing pow. For the down, the boot board has a built-in forward lean (separate from the cuff) of a more alpine-like six degrees, which can be swapped for one of four degrees. The buckle over the instep hooks into a cable system that pulls the shell snug at multiple points. It feels more like a four-buckle boot, not a three. For the backcountry, there’s 56 degrees of movement with the walk mode open for friction-free striding, and the boots only weigh 1,500 grams—right up there with many squishy backcountry slippers. We never regretted skiing the Maestrale XT in the backcountry, especially when the snow turned funky, and even back inbounds. There are lighter boots. There are stiffer boots. But no other boot we’ve tried combines both as well. $1,099; scarpa.com
Shovel like an animal
A solid shovel at a solid price. That’s the promise of the Ortovox Beast. High sidewalls and a centre spine stiffen the blade for ice-busting rigidity. An asymmetric T-grip handle provides digging options, and lightweight aluminum and cutouts in the blade help keep weight around 500 grams. $60; ortovox.com