2016 Backcountry Skis – Ski testing part I

2016 ski reviewsWe’ve been running through an impressive line-up of 2016 backcountry skis for our annual ski test. Mt Hood served up a classic spring mix of new snow and sunshine to help with the test process. There’s really nothing like varied spring snow conditions to run a ski though the paces.

We’ve made a concerted effort to focus on skis truly designed with backcountry skiing in mind. We’ve got skis from the usual suspects including Voile, La Sportiva, DPS, Prior, G3, Black Diamond, Dynafit, K2, Scott, Blizzard, Volkl and Rocky Mountain Underground.

After years of skis always pushing to get wider and wider, it appears many companies are focusing on waist widths between 90 and 115mm this year. In fact, we tested more skis in the mid 90’s underfoot than we have in long time.

The new K2 Pinnacle 95 (132-95-115) stood out as a very even-tempered quiver-of-one. It represents a new shape and new construction from K2 and we were impressed.
k2 pinnacle 95

Equally as impressive was the Volkl BMT 94 (122-94-112) – a ski we awarded Editors’ Choice last season – and that still carves and rips the spring snow with more gusto than just about anything else.

volkl bmt 94


If it’s light you are after, the all-new La Sportiva Svelte Nano (126-96-113) also held its own. Weighing in at 5 lbs (2300 grams) a pair, the Svelte follows in the footsteps of the Sportiva’s Vapor Nano (130-103-120) – also an Off-Piste Mag Editors’ Choice ski from last season – with its confidence inspiring lightweight construction.

La Sportiva Svelte Nano



Of course, we tested plenty of wider skis, too. More on that soon. In the meantime, if you happen to be in the market for some new boards, it’s a great time of year to score a deal at your local shop or online. Be sure to check out our 2015 ski reviews for all the beta on our favorite skis from 2015.