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Backcountry Ski Gear: Our Favourite Picks for this Winter (Part 2)
Here is the second part of our "new pieces of gear we are excited about" article for this coming Winter. If you missed part 1, you can read it here.
Cilao Ski Packs
Since 2002, Cilao has produced highly technical backpacks aimed at meeting the demands of mountain professionals and guides in Chamonix. Their factory is located in Annecy and that is where all the R & D and the manufacturing happen. What we love about Cilao is that their only goal is to meet the needs of the alpinist and skiers who like to go light and fast by offering products that are very different from the rest of the market. Their backpacks are durable, very lightweight and they are by far the most comfortable ones we have ever worn. It’s a more minimalist pack so if you looking for a snow safety tool pocket, a helmet holder, tons of compression straps and heavily padded straps and hip belts, Cilao is not for you. Where they stand out so much is in offering a product that has all the most important features without going overboard and trying to offer everything. They know their market and they serve it well!
This year, we are bringing two similar backpacks from Cilao: the TAPCAL 2D (33 litres) and the PAPANG 5D (37 litres). While both products are marketed for mountaineering and alpine climbing, their diagonal ski carry makes them great for ski-mountaineering. We love their split-straps and the simple hip belt that doesn’t impede range of motion. Their weight distribution is perfect for skiing as they puts most of the weight closer to the hips for greater stability.
Made in France by true mountain lovers!
Fischer Travers - The 2018-2019 Update
The Travers boot from Fischer was one of our best sellers last Winter. Its outrageous walking range of motion, mid-range volume and high cuff quickly made it a favourite. It was already a great product. However, we were very surprised when we saw that Fischer updated their Travers Carbon without telling anyone! A different colour and a 2.0 name could have been easily justified given the changes that were made for this coming Winter.
First big difference: the Grilamid of the shell is thicker. This changes the toe box fit, but they feel noticeably stiffer than last year. The volume and shape are almost unchanged. Expect the same great fit for medium to high volume feet.
Second update: A shorter cuff velcro strap/Buckle combo. Last Winter, the cuff velcro strap was a bit long for skiers with very small calves. As a result, it could be hard to tighten the cuff enough without having to modify the strap. This year, Fischer listened to that feedback and all their boots now come with a shorter velcro strap that will help nailing the fit on the downs.
An awesome product by Fischer, and a boot that packs enough of a punch to ski the steepest lines with simple customization if needed!
Movement AlpTracks - The ultimate do-it-all backcountry ski?
The Alp Tracks collection is Movement’s most cutting-edge line of backcountry skis. The lightweight karuba core wrapped with tons of carbon fibre makes for a super light yet super stiff ski. Movement has worked extensively on the Alp Track’s durability and the result is a super robust ski that is among the best surface to weight ratio out there. The 2018-2019 season marks the 3rd year of the Alp Tracks collection and a new top sheet design. Expect a very refined product that will redefine how powerful and versatile a lightweight powder ski can be.
The only downside of those superb skis: the 4-digits pricepoint. But remember that for the same amount, a lot of skiers are more than happy to purchase skis with pretty top sheets and terrible variable to hardpack snow performances…