Welcome to our review of the best backcountry skis of 2021. Backcountry skiing covers the range from alpine touring and freeskiing to ski mountaineering and randonnée (also called skimo or rando racing). Basically, it means you’re responsible for getting yourself up whatever you’re planning to carve, float or race down.
Therefore finding the right backcountry skis available isn’t always an easy task for the skier. There are a lot of brands to consider and an even wider number of features.
To ensure that you’re getting the right quality, you should take the time and learn as much as you can about what exactly makes a decent backcountry ski in the first place.
And that’s why we’ve decided to do the research ourselves and find the backcountry skis that are the highest quality and provide the best performance.
List of Top 10 Backcountry Skis of 2021 – Reviews & Comparisons
1. Blizzard Zero G 105 ($800)
These wonderful backcountry skis from the market leader Blizzard are a brand new model replacing the venerated Zero G 108. They include less Carbon Drive coverage and shorter sidewalls, giving the ski a slightly more rounded flex and making turn initiation more reliable in variable snow. With weight at under 7 pounds, the ski is light and easy to maneuver on the climbs but really comes to life when you point it downhill.
2. Moment Wildcat Tour ($779)
The Moment Wildcat Tour Skis are one of the best touring skis for powder that are custom-made for those earning deep mid-winter turns. Moment’s unique touring oriented core provides unrivaled energy in an ultralight package. At 116 millimeters wide and with a rockered profile and early-rise tip and tail, these skis are what you need for your next snow adventure.
3. Armada Tracer 98 ($700)
The Armada Tracer 98 are fantastic skis that provide mix of all-mountain and backcountry design. They feature camber underfoot and Titanal reinforcements around the binding for better stability for resort days. In addition, Armada’s lightest wood species creates the best uphill feel while retaining the power and dampness required in descending gnarly terrain.
4. Black Crows Navis Freebird ($830)
These skis are one of the best-selling touring skis in the list that are very light, yet powerful. The sidecut has been lengthened a bit (19 meters @ 173.4) and a Titanal plate has been added underfoot for binding retention, but this ski will continue to be a winner this season.
5. Voilé HyperCharger ($795)
Voilé HyperCharger are wonderful skis that offer excellent all-around performance at a good value. Voilé HyperCharger come with mild rocker at the tip and camber underfoot the 106-millimeter waist. The new paulownia core provides an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. The minimal taper from the shovel to the tail, and a longer running length, give these skis strong edging capability to tackle steep terrain.
6. Volkl Mantra V-Werks ($1,150)
The Volkl Mantra V-Werks Skis offer great all-mountain performance in a lighter, more maneuverable package than the traditional Mantra. Similar to all of the V-Werks line, the V-Werks Mantra is as high tech and innovative as it gets. Its strong construction and mixed rocker/camber design floats and slashes through all kinds of terrains.
7. DPS Skis Wailer A112 RP ($1,299)
DPS Skis Wailer A112 RP are wonderful skis that are strong and lightweight. They come with Alchemist Pure Carbon – the world’s most advanced ski construction, making the ski more damp and smooth. The Wailer A112 RP is the ski you want under your feet when the conditions are prime.
8. Icelantic Natural 101 ($779)
Lightweight, durable and powerful, the Icelantic Natural 101 skis will turn you into a powder-touring machine this winter. They float float very well for their width of 101, 111mm, and are super easy to manage in tight and steep spaces. Made from 100% paulownia wood, the Feather-Weight core combines lightness and durability to help you be efficient on backcountry ascents and confident on the way down.
9. Line Vision 108 ($750)
The Line Skis Vision 108 are wonderful skis that combines a playful personality with genuine big mountain capabilities and a light weight that will appeal to anyone in the business of earning their turns. With ample rocker and 108mm underfoot, they shine in soft snow, but Line’s proprietary THC™ Construction smooths out the ride for impressively damp performance when things are firm or choppy.
10. Volkl Blaze 106 ($600)
The Volkl Blaze 106 Skis are big mountain freeriders with long, rockered tips and tails, short cambered sections underfoot, and a triple radius sidecut. Thanks to a titanal power plate and extra long radii in the tips and tails, these rip sticks handle scary fast descents with grace and ease. With weight of 7 pounds, Volkl Blaze 106 are superlight and ideal for a playful and nimble ride.
Backcountry (Touring) Skis: A Buying Guide – How to Choose Backcountry (Touring) Skis
Are you going to do backcountry skiing? You will surely want to choose the best ski for this purpose. Getting the most ideal ski for backcountry skiing is a bit of a daunting task since you will need to pay attention to several factors such as the width, materials, construction, length, and other factors.
When it comes to the backcountry skis, there are large selections of the skis you can find on the market. To narrow down the list so that you can pick your most ideal ski, you could take a look at some important factors below.
What kind of skier are you?
The choice of the ski will depend on what you are planning to do. Starting skiing has never been an easy thing for regular folks. You will need to pay attention to the basics. For instance, you could choose shorter skis if you tend to use slow pace and maneuvers. if it is endurance ski touring, do not use shorter skis since it cannot support you at a faster speed.
For a faster rate, consider choosing a longer ski length and wider waist to give you more speed and stability. But the longer the ski, the harder it is to turn. You will want to be ready with it.
The length of your ski
The ski length will determine how good you are skiing later. Choosing the right ski length is paramount because it will have to be aligned with your game plan.
For instance, the shorter skis are more prevalent for quick turning, short distance turning, and maximum maneuver qualities. It is great for slower speed but will lose its performance at a higher speed. The longer skis tend to be stabler at higher speeds. But it has a bigger turn radius. If you demand maneuverability, you will want to choose the shorter skis. All in all, the determination is yours.
There are different shapes of the ski that you can find on the market. There are some models that come with Early Rise Tip ski. But others might come with Tip and Tail Rocker and normal camber.
But then, you will also need to consider the other factors which we mention in this article. You will want to get the ski which is roughly the same height as you or up to 5 cm above your head. That is the most ideal way to measure the best ski shape for you.
Keep in mind that the shape of the ski should be personal. The thing which works for other people probably does not work for you. You won’t find the most ideal choice for you unless you try it yourself. Consider yourself lucky if you can easily find brick-and-mortar stores in your area.
The balance that you need
Choosing the most ideal backcountry skis is all about the balance between the traits in the ski itself. Therefore, you will want to pay attention to the specific lightweight, the performance for downhill as well as uphill.
The lighter skis are the top choice for the uphill skiing track. The lightweight skis can help you to move faster and use the retaining chain of energy so that you can move for a longer period. It is a great balance that you will want to seek if you plan overnight and multi-day skiing tours. But lighter skis tend to be prone to get worn off. The heavier skis can be a great option for descent and facing harder conditions out there.
The width of the ski
The width of your ski holds such an important role in your overall performance. The smaller the waist width, the faster the turning and transition it will produce. If you are striving for speed and acceptability, you might want to choose the narrower width of the ski. But in the process, you will lose more flotation. For flotation purposes, you might want to choose the wider ski model.
Your ski profile
The profile of ski defines the particular skis to cope with various kinds of snowy conditions.
For your backcountry skiing purpose, you will want to choose the ski profile type that can support your needs. For instance, if you are striving for deep snow, consider choosing a rocker type of profile. But if you are facing hardpack snow often in your skin activity, your chance will be much greater if you use traditionally cambered ski.