Martin Chester picks backcountry set-ups for five very different types of skiers. Here’s what to ski if you’re a backcountry seasonnaire
This is a really exciting category, as this is the one-quiver rig to suit the whole winter. So I approached this by thinking: “If I had to choose just one set-up for the rest of my skiing career, what would it be?” This is undoubtedly the best combo, so long as I didn’t have to look at the price tag!
Ski – Völkl V-Werks BMT109
The Völkl ‘Big Mountain Touring’ skis are simply amazing. Zero camber, they appear like they will be a floppy nightmare. Not so. Put them on an edge and they carve and spring. Take them into the powder, and they have more bounce and agility than a bunny on a sugar rush. The conservative side-cut means they hold an edge on steeper terrain better than most skis this width, and they are a true all-mountain tool as a consequence. I love them!
Binding – Marker Kingpin
Beautifully engineered, superlatively user-friendly, and eminently functional. This binding combines the best of a pin binding at the toe; with the safety of a toe release; with the features and burliness of a ‘proper’ binding for when you are charging hard. It really will go anywhere and cope with anything! The engineering of the alloy components comes from DMM back home as well – so I am persuaded on a number of fronts.
Boot – Scarpa Freedom
You wanna ski, you can ski. You wanna go touring, well with 27° of movement, you can cope with touring. You wanna charge hard, you can get all the support you need. You wanna dance on the tables, you have a Vibram sole. Winner, all round!