Lengths: 151, 158, 165, 172, 179
Turn radius: 16m @ 165
Weight per pair: 2270g
More Info: Atomic Skis
New for 18/19 is the 85 in Atomic’s ever-growing Backland range and this certainly does not disappoint. Thanks to its superlight poplar/karuba woodcore and carbon backbone this ski weighs in at 2270g for a pair of 172s. Don’t let that put you off though, as this ski has some grunt.
The Backland 85 is aimed squarely at a more advanced skier looking for a second multi-day set-up and, I found, at those who ski in Scotland. I tested this first on my doorstep near Glenshee in the famous snowy winter of 2017/18 in wind-blown crud and ice and its grip was better than many all-mountain skis. The ski is agile, grippy and really sure-footed on variable terrain. Partnered with Atomic’s own pin binding, it made for a light, quick ski uphill too.
Though at the skinnier end of the touring spectrum it has HRZN Tech, which adds 10% more surface area at the tips, giving awesome floatation in powder plus less tip deflection and better tracking through chopped-up snow.
Partner them with Atomic’s own Hybrid skins and you can do away with the need for cheat sheets… great when trying to stick your skins together in Scottish gales…
All in all, these stood out as light, grippy but oh-so-beefy underfoot. Worth a look, too, are the Backland’s various-widthed siblings – 78, 95 and 107 – and the corresponding women’s models.