Okay, okay, so you might consider this to be... well... the summer – but that’s no reason not to start getting a little bit excited about wonderful winter! There's nothing wrong with taking a little look ahead to all the sexy new gear that’s coming your way for the 2017/2018 season. The vast majority of it is up on-site already and available for pre-order, so go ahead, whet your appetite! Hell, why not go the whole hog and grab first dibs on a thing or two from our Ski Picks for Winter 17/18.
All-mountain: Faction Candide CT 2.0
Back with a bang for 2018, the Faction Candide 2.0 is slightly wider in the tip and tail than previous versions, giving it even better soft-snow-float without sacrificing the all-mountain-freestyle manoeuvrability that you get from that 102mm waist.
Built on a sandwich construction of beech and poplar, with fibreglass and carbon reinforcements for durability and torsional stiffness, the 2018 2.0 is a little softer overall than previous models, making it more compliant and easier to butter and press. Combined with plenty of rubber dampening, you get a ride that’s smoother than ever.
But with plenty of traditional camber underfoot for grip on hardpack, and loads of tip and tail rocker for smashing through chop, you can be sure that the Candide 2.0 is going to stand up to the sort of heavy-hitting all-mountain charge that its namesake has made his own.
Hugely popular, and for good reason – we love it!
Freeride: Armada ARV JJ
Changes afoot at Armada in 17/18 as the now legendary JJ joins the ranks of the ARV range to inject a bit of backcountry freestyle fatness to their collection of all-mountain fun machines.
Looking great with fresh artwork from Southern Calfornia’s MADSTEEZ, the new ARV JJ improves upon the classic JJ shape by bringing the ski’s contact point back behind its widest point. The result of years of insight into the relationship between rocker and taper, this clever new tweak is designed to deliver even easier and more consistent turn initiation.
With a bevelled 3D base shape the JJ delivers improved catch-resistance and sideways performance in deep snow, giving you even more confidence to progress, innovate and express yourself in the backcountry.
Armada’s pow-plundering grin-generator is a genuine gem.
Touring: Volkl BMT 90
The days of having to compromise on downhill performance to find a ski that’s light enough to tour all day are fast becoming a thing of the past, and skis like Volkl’s Big Mountain Touring range are leading the charge.
With traditional rocker underfoot setting it apart from its BMT stablemates, the BMT 90 is a firm favourite of ours for its agile descending ability in soft snow and tricky terrain. Thanks to that low weight and plenty of tip and tail rocker, they come alive in small radius turns, delivering a nimble and confidence-inspiring ride.
The secret to the BMT 90’s success lies in its core and construction. Dense ash underfoot keeps things powerful and lively, while lightweight paulownia in the tip and tail shaves off precious grams. A full carbon jacket improves torsional stiffness, and the Ice Off topsheet sheds snow to cut 20% to 30% of weight in real-world touring situations.
Precision German engineering that’s worth every penny.
Freestyle: Line Tigersnake
It’s an obvious place to start, but what a graphic! The 2018 Line Tigersnake would make our list of picks for that alone, were it not packing park-slaying performance to back up the good looks.
While they might look like a tattoo you’d find on the back of a scary Yakuza hitman, they’re actually far from intimidating themselves. The buttery and forgiving flex is bolstered by a pop-enhancing Carbon Ollieband for a dynamic and characterful performance in the park and pipe.
And with almost completely symmetrical shape and flex, plus Thin Tip construction for reduced swing-weight, the Tigersnakes are 100% built to spin. Inverts and rotations feel balanced and composed whichever way you hit them and however you land.
Look like a badass while you learn and progress in the park and pipe.
Alpine: Look Pivot Dual WTR
Elasticity is the name of the game with Look’s Pivot binding. It packs 45mm of lateral elasticity in the in the toe and 28mm of vertical in the heel, which essentially means that there’s more give in the binding before it eventually releases your boot. More shock absorption, fewer unwanted releases, lower release values and fewer knee injuries – all good things if you ask us!
And we’re clearly not the only ones who think so, as you’ll increasingly find them beneath the feet of some of the world’s best freestylers and freeriders, who trust them to stand up to a serious battering from those big drops and solid landings.
Smooth, consistent and packed with advanced features – don’t overlook the Look Pivot.
Frame: Marker Duke EPF 16
If you’re planning to slide into the sidecountry or break free in the backcountry, but you’re not quite ready to commit to a pin binding then the all-round appeal of the Marker Duke might be exactly what you’re looking for.
This hugely popular frame binding lets you free the heel when you need to, while still delivering the sort of chunky construction, high DIN settings and shock absorbing performance you need for those side-hits, drops and hucks.
Ideal for big skis, big riders and big air, the Duke will dominate any terrain.
Touring: Dynafit ST Rotation 10
Like the Marker Kingpin, the Dynafit ST Rotation 10 aims to take the PinTech design and improve elasticity and reliability of release to the level of traditional alpine and frame bindings. The two take slightly different approaches to solving the riddle but both have received reassuring certification from Germany’s TUV institute – good news for knees everywhere!
The Rotation 10 uses a rotating toe piece and spring-loaded heel piece to provide 10mm of longitudinal elasticity and a super reliable release, regardless of the model or condition of your boots. DINs can be set from 4 to 10, and the new toe piece design makes it even quicker and easier to step in and get going with minimum fuss.
The ST Rotation 10 is proof that safety can be sexy too!
Alpine/Freestyle: Full Tilt Tom Wallisch
Who likes shin bang? Nobody likes shin bang, that’s who! Full Tilt’s infinite pivot design and progressive flex all but eliminates the dreaded bang, which is why freestyle and freeride big-hitters like the all-round legend Tom Wallisch trust the design. Wallisch’s pro model boot is back for 17/18 and better than ever.
The removable tongue is mid-flexing for a balance of forgiveness and support, while the Soul shell has a roomier toe box for a little extra room and comfort. The liner is designed to be one of the thinnest and lightest that Full Tilt offer, to keep weight to a minimum, but you’ve got the Shock Absorber foot board to help soak up those big landings.
Feel like a winner by wearing what winners wear – winners like Wallisch!
Alpine/Freeride/Touring: Lange XT 130 LV Freetour
If you’re looking for seriously beefy freeride performance, with relatively low weight for earning your turns, and compatibility with a range of binding types, then it’s hard to look past the Lange XT 130 Freetour boot. It delivers that trusted Lange downhill performance and big mountain capability, with an impressive weight and walk mode for its class.
Lightweight Grillamid and Polyolefine HP in the shell help to bring the low-volume LV version in at around 1.8kg per boot, with a 40° range of hiking motion – so they’re super manageable on the ups – while the Power V-Lock 2.0 locks solid and adds to the boot’s incredible power transfer on the downs.
All that, and it’s compatible with WTR, MNC, Sole ID and tech bindings. What a boot!
Touring: Scarpa Maestrale 2
Italian boot supremoes, Scarpa, have redesigned their best-selling Maestrale touring boot for the 2017/18 season and it re-emerges as the Maestrale 2. A classic touring boot that’s designed to offer versatility, comfort and range of motion, it’s around 400g per boot lighter than the Lange, above, and offers almost 20° more movement in hike mode.
While you’re always going to concede a little on the downs for that kind of weight saving, the Maestrale 2 makes the most of every ounce by using several clever enclosure techniques to ensure excellent heel retention and stability.
An out-and-out tourer that’s best with 80 to 90mm waist widths, the Maestrale is a true mountain maestro that doesn’t diappoint.
Ski Alpinism: Atomic Backland Ultimate
For some, even the Maestrale won’t cut the mustard. If you’re a member of that rare breed of mountain mentalist who’s never happier than when they’re hanging from a rope, skis on back and ice axe in hand – or skinning up at walking pace isn’t enough for you and you’d rather run – then you want even lighter weight and greater range of movement. If that sounds like you, then stop what you’re doing, sit yourself down, and drink in the wonder that is the Atomic Backland Ultimate.
One of the finest examples of a ski alpinism boot on the market today, the Backland Ultimate weighs in at a frankly ridiculous 750g per boot and swings through a mind-boggling 80° range of motion in hike mode. The result of some pretty radical thinking, Atomic have thrown the rulebook out of the window on this one – it doesn’t even have a tongue. But with a bit of carbon fibre and some clever enclosure techniques, they manage to deliver a class-leading performance on the downs.
A unique boot, for a unique breed of mountain madman, that truly delivers the goods.