BACK AND BEYOND
The Atomic Backland 107 melds the freeride performance of Atomic’s Bent Chetler with the lightweight build of the Backland family. The result is a backcountry tool up to the progressive antics of today’s powder-hungry skiers. From the Bent Chetler it borrows HRZN tech, upturned edges around the tip, and heaps of early rise in the tip and tail. The HRZN tech adds surface area, without width, making the ski feel wider without the extra weight or bulkiness of a bigger ski. Atomic kept the general lightweight construction of the previous Backland skis, but amped it up with a karuba wood core and a carbon backbone, both cutting weight by about 300 grams compared to last year’s Backland 109. ($799; atomic.com)
ATOMIC BACKLAND 107
$799 * BEST FOR: Deep-snow specialist.
LENGTHS: 175, 182, 189 * RADIUS: 18.5@182 * SIDECUT: 137/107/124 * WEIGHT: 1,530 grams
On paper this looks like a fun ski for lighter rippers: a medium-sized powder profile, lightweight build and a fairly turny sidecut. It’s no surprise that lighter-weight testers loved it, even when they were skiing a longer length than they normally do. The ski floated effortlessly, thanks to plenty of rocker in the tip, more in the tail and HRZN tech, which gives the tip a spoon shape for even more lift. All that shrank the effective edge. “The ski snapped turns in tight trees, even in thigh-deep coastal powder,” reported Ryan Stuart. The surprise came when heavier skiers hopped aboard. It still skied nicely and the float was still evident. Nobody enjoyed this ski on groomers. “It was a lot of work to turn with any liveliness on firm snow,” Stuart said. Testers agreed the Backland 107 would make a deadly touring ski all winter long. Just put it away when it turns to corn.