Fast Forward

Upgrade your skis—and your skiing—with this high-performance package.

Whether it’s a daily workout, an upcoming race, or just an occasional foray into the winter woods, good ski gear makes all the difference. Last year, when it was time for me to ditch the old hand-me-downs and upgrade my classic kit, I went with Salomon— and I’m damn glad I did. I can ski faster, harder, and longer, which means I didn’t come in dead last at the West Yellowstone Rendezvous race last March. Shame averted and mission accomplished.

The RC 8 Skin Med. classic ski is a speed-demon in the track, with a short strip of mohair embedded in the ski base, rather than scales. This makes for better grip on ice and a smoother glide—not to mention no annoying buzz on the downhill. Its medium flex offers reliable performance in all conditions, from soft snow to hardpack, and the light weight means you can ski all day without undue fatigue. Did I mention these things are fast? $350 (201 length).

The sleek, simple ProLink Pro Classic binding connects you to the ski—and the snow—without an ounce of extra weight or a millimeter of superfluous material. The handy clasp system ensures quick entry and exit, as well as a solid, stable hold. The ProLink Pro is compatible with most classic boots. $72.

Light and cozy, like a good pair of slippers, the S/Race Classic boot brings it all together in the track. A snug fit means no movement within the boot, just precise delivery of force through the ski and into the snow. Despite the featherweight feel, they’re warm enough for a thin, high-performance ski sock. Note: these boots run a bit large, and you want a tight fit; consider choosing a half-size down. $350.

Last but certainly not least are the Active poles: light but rigid shafts with burly wrist straps for digging in and poling hard. Choose a style—diagonal stride, double-poling, kick-double-pole—or make up your own; regardless, the Active will propel you forward until your arms wear out or you reach the trailhead, whichever comes first. $50.