Kick, glide, and drop a knee with this burly backcountry setup.
“Specialization is for insects,” science-fiction superstar Robert Heinlein famously penned, and when it comes to winter travel in the backcountry, I couldn’t agree more. Skinny skis sink in deep snow and suck at descents; AT gear is great on steep terrain, but deprives one of the sweet, rhythmic kick-and-glide of a meandering trail. Unwilling to pick a single pleasure, I searched around and found the best of both worlds: a beefy cross-country ski with stout three-pin boots. It’s old-school style with a modern look and the latest technological advancements. Now I can swish along a serene trail, ascend a small mountain, and tele-turn my way down, without frustration or feeling like I’ve developed a movement disorder. Here’s the package I put together.
With steel edges and a waxless base, the Rossignol BC 110 Positrack touring ski grips and glides with ease. A moderate sidecut delivers excellent downhill performance, while the 78mm waist offers plenty of stability underfoot. Cruising packed powder, exploring off-trail, carving downslope—the BC 110 does it all, and without the hassle of skins. $395; rossignol.com.
Solid construction and a host of features make the Fischer BCX 675 an ideal backcountry boot. Hinged polymer cuffs for stiff side-hold and fluid forward rotation, easy-entry loops, a special strap to lock in the heel… the list goes on. Throw in the integrated gaiter, lace cover, and water-repellent insulation, and you can count on warm, dry feet after a long day afield. $250; fischersports.com.
Rounding out this touring triumvirate is the Rottefella Super Telemark binding. Simple, strong, and lightweight, this puppy locks in your entire toepiece, providing a stable, secure connection to the ski. No more wobbling, teetering, or trembling in fear on a shaky descent—with these all-metal clamps, you can reef away and remain upright. $80; rottefella.com.
Though not part of the three-pin package, an accoutrement worth mentioning is the Black Diamond Traverse ski pole, which fits this setup well. Light and strong, with a quick adjuster that opens and closes with a single thumb-flick, the Traverse has oversized baskets for deep powder and a tacky grip for digging in on those wobbly tele turns. $80; blackdiamondequipment.com.