2022 Powder Buyer’s Guide pt 1

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 Mons Royale has always designed its merino baselayers with versatility in mind. Not only does merino resist the aroma of a sweaty day on the slopes, but the New Zealand-based brand has always steered toward lifestyle over skin hugging when it comes to the fit. Take the Yotei Tech LS, a long sleeve that brags all the performance benefits of wool—sweat-pulling, warm-when-wet, thermoregulating, anti-odour, renewable—and a casual cut that won’t make you consider your body shape before dropping your jacket. We’re rocking ours on the slopes, the trails and to the bar. $150; monsroyale.com


 Make the skin track a little less sweaty by ditching the hardshell jacket and pants many ski tourers wear, for a softshell kit like the Arc’teryx Shashka Stretch (for women) and Procline (for men). Arc’teryx treated the jacket and pants with a PFC-free DWR that ups the already solid weather resistance of the Gore-Tex Infinium fabric. It’s plenty water- and wind-resistant for all but the snottiest of days, and is far stretchier and more breathable than any hardshell. That means more comfort on the way up and less restrictions on the way down. Jacket $650, pant $550; arcteryx.com


 Dalbello new Quantum Free is a lightweight touring boot that skis amazingly well on the down. It comes in three iterations, a 130 flex, 110 and a women’s 105. Weighing less than 3 kg per pair, they’re fairly light touring boots, and in walk mode the soft tongue area feels hiking-boot flexible. In the skin track there’s still enough lateral stability to hold an edge, while the to-the-toe lacing on the liner prevents any unwanted movement. All that’s pretty standard for boots in this category. Where the Free stands apart is at the top. To build the shell Dalbello uses a proprietary process where it creates two halves and then bonds them together. It allows the company to add more contours to the shell shape and to use plastics with carbon fibres that aren’t compatible with the usual boot construction process. This translates to a better fit and a stiffer shell with less weight, respectively. Lock the boots into ski mode and they feel incredibly stiff for how light they are and how easily they walk. Even cranking turns we didn’t notice the boots bellow or deform.  In the ever more complex world of backcountry boots, the Quantum Free is downhill friendly at an uphill weight. From $800; dalbello.it


 Thin, lightweight, affordable and an impressive field of view, the Marker Ultra-Flex Goggle has become our go-to for all backcountry and slackcountry missions. The frameless style is also super slim, sitting close to the face. This creates a wider angle for unobstructed vision and also makes them incredibly packable, an often overlooked detail—goggles take up a surprising amount of space in a pack. “Wow” is how most people react when they put these on. After weeks of use, we keep saying the same thing. $80; marker.net


 The Line Vision 118 shows that being obese does not necessarily translate on the scale. At 118mm underfoot (152 at the tip) each ski weighs 1.9 kg, one of the lightest skis in the fat category. It seems even more of a featherweight considering it’s not a dedicated touring ski. Line’s freeride athletes consider it their go-to for deep days, pillow lines and anytime they want to surf down the mountain. $850; lineskis.com

from Fall 2021 issue

2022 Powder Buyer’s Guide

Ryan Stuart
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