Editor Matt Hart, skinning in the Colorado backcountry
If you are a backcountry skier who prefers light-and-fast over burly-and-stable, then chances are good you are already familiar with SkiMo.co. The site has become the premier online retailer for purchasing all the lightweight backcountry skiing and ski-mountaineering race gear that is tough to find outside of Europe. In October 2015, on the heels of the site’s online retail success, owner Jason Borro opened a brick-and-mortar store to cater to the adventure skiers and skimo racers of Salt Lake City, Utah. Since then, the company has become known for its workbench precision and deep product knowledge.
SkiMo.co’s lead technician and retail manager Eric Bunce has been mounting and testing ski equipment for nearly 20 years, and racing since 2004. Bunce and Borro personally test and evaluate each piece of equipment they carry. If it’s not up to snuff, they don’t bother to stock it.
As the ski season approaches we checked in with SkiMo.co and Bunce to see what guys with encyclopedic knowledge of product offerings and their nuances, are excited about for the 2017/2018 ski season.
Bunce: “The first thing is the Ski Trab Gara Titan Release. This race binding has good elastic travel and you have the choice to pick your release value of 8, 10, or 12. It has a beautiful, simple-to-operate toe and is now updated with the addition of a brake that can be added for extra security when backcountry skiing.”
MSRP: $471 or $599 with brake
“Everyone in the shop wants a pair of the Scarpa Alien RS boots. These are blurring the lines between race boots and touring boots. We are calling them ‘race-plus.’ This boot walks like a race boot, is light like a race boot, but somehow skis like a boot twice its weight.” (Check out this Alien RS Promo Video)
Availability: Late October
“The new Atomic Backland Tour binding is light, simple, and has the key features of other bindings without the weight. It also has 30mm boot length adjustment, which for an ultra-light, race-style, pin binding is rare.”
“Another boot we’re excited about is the Fischer Travers Carbon. It’s in the nearly-race category. I skied a pair all last winter and will continue to ski it this year because it fits great — and it fits a variety of foot shapes. It’s comfy and fast on the uphill and skis like an alpine boot. They also have a women’s version too, called My Travers.”
“Atomic made a great ski even better with their update to the Backland 95. It has a new core and tip, making it even easier to ski. At 95 under foot, it’s solid, stable and blasts through tough snow.”
“Ultimate Direction has a new Adventure Vest this season. They worked with French ski-mountaineering champion Mathéo Jacquemoud to perfect the design. The pack has dual crampon-style, side-access pockets, a vest-style harness, and a roll-top lid to shrink or expand as needed. The shape is an improvement over last year’s SkiMo packs, so it carries better. It has all the bells and whistles and will definitely be in my arsenal this year.”
Availability: October 15
“Aski skis, in general, are worth checking out. They have a range of great backcountry skis, from powder boards down to 65mm race skis. They’re a small Italian composite company that builds with thermoplastics. All Aski skis are damp, stable, and ski like lightning. I have a pair of race skis that can scare me at how fast I am skiing, before they get nervous. They ski much bigger than their footprint.”