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Backcountry Touring by Alpina – Find Your Powder

Backcountry Touring by Alpina – Find Your Powder

It is easy to think of nordic and alpine skiing as two totally different styles, each its own sport with its own equipment, techniques, and venues. But this is far from the case: Alpina’s rugged and versatile backcountry touring lineup proves that skiing is really a broad spectrum of approaches, in the middle of which there are endlessly exciting varieties of nordic/alpine hybrids, suited to meet each skier’s individual needs.

This range of ways to slip across snow runs from standard, cross country skinny skiing to hardcore downhill racing or freestyling. In this framework, we might place  Alpina’s backcountry Nordic boots and accompanying metal-edged touring skis somewhere in the center-left: more cross-country-y than a full on alpine touring setup with skins and pins, but more Alpine-y than your average set of rental classic or touring skis.

This means that the boots—which include the expedition-ready, leather-dressed, Alaska, the lighter duty Montana, and the straightforward, go anywhere Wyoming—are all sturdy and well insulated, ready to support your feet through the steepest ups and downs of your daylong adventures.

Take the Alaska: the burliest of the crew, this boot comes with Alpina’s advanced anatomical footbed and a toe-toasting thinsulate liner, all covered in the proprietary Alpinex membrane, which keeps water out without letting the sweat flow. At $249 MSRP, these are the priciest of Alpina’s backcountry offerings—but you get what you pay for. They are about as comfortable as ski boots can be, sturdy enough to keep you cruising through some gnarly conditions, and their slick mountaineering look is as stylish as it is functional.

If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, but you still want a reliable performer for backcountry adventures that isn’t afraid of a little powder or some serious drops and climbs, wander back down to the lower-48 and check out the Montana. Essentially a pared-down version of the Alaska, these are lighter weight than their big brother, with the same Thinsulate lining and excellent temperature control. Retailing at $180, these medium flex BC boots are an excellent and affordable addition to your winter arsenal. Also keep in mind the third sibling of this trip, the Wyoming, priced at a moderate $199. Pairing the straightforward design of the Montana with the leather exterior of the Alaska, this boot is a simple, good looking workhorse, ready to be worn every day, in any environment. All three of these boots are fitted with NNN backcountry outsoles, which form a solid connection with most all backcountry bindings.

With the footwear taken care of, it’s time to talk tips and tails: the skis that make Alpina’s backcountry package so exciting. The Discovery 80 skis were clearly designed with adventure in mind. The double camber outline mimics the shaping that allows alpine skis to remain stable through the toughest of turns. This curved profile keeps the ski afloat over the snow, letting you turn on a dime (instead of on, like, a silver dollar as a traditional Nordic ski allows). To reinforce your turns, the 80’s are equipped with full metal edges, ready to slice across crusty snow and dig into the ugliest ice. To help you discover the prime pockets of hidden powder, a Posi-grip waxless base provides abundant traction on the trickiest of ascents. Best of all, these all-terrain trekkers retail for a reasonable $180—not a bad price to pay for years of adventuring your way into the most memorable ski terrain.

Thanks to Alpina’s backcountry touring innovations, it is becoming increasingly affordable and practical to combine the best of cross country skiing with the best of downhill. Any of the boots mentioned here, along with the undeniably awesome Discovery 80’s, will let you hit some killer hills, and set first tracks on stretches of pristine powder, without a lift ticket or a burdensome gear setup. There’s no reason rad ski discoveries shouldn’t be accessible to everybody—and now with Alpina’s help, they just about are.

Find a retailer near you HERE!

About The Author

Pete Wilson

Pete is a Vermont native with a lifelong love of being outside. Ever since he bushwhacked a ski trail through his parents’ property, he’s been hooked on getting into the woods--whether it’s on skis or snowshoes, or going out for a trail run or a long hike. He studied English at Carleton College, and now after four years in Minnesota is back in the Green Mountains exploring the endlessly beautiful and intriguing locales across the Northeast.

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