Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Snowboarding

Dynafit Denali 42L

81

2014

Dynafit Denali 42L

The Dynafit Denali 42L proved very efficient for skiers who are conscious of every ounce they put into their pack. Unfortunately, the pack is not a good choice for the rest of the tribe.

Dakine Arc 34L

93

2014

Dakine Arc 34L

The Dakine Arc 34L packs serves as an all-around load hauler that suffices for everything you might do in a day on snow. 

Smith Vice

91

2013

Smith Vice

Smith's Vice will compete with (and likely perform superior to) any goggle in its category.

Oakley O2XL

88

2013

Oakley O2XL

Oakley produces a solid goggle in the O2XL in an affordable price range.

Zeal Tramline

88

2013

Zeal Tramline

You will likely be happy with the Tramline, especially if you splurge for the exceptional Automatic lens.

Scott LCG

87

2013

Scott LCG

Scott's LCG is very comfortable eyewear.

Optic Nerve Boreas

81

2013

Optic Nerve Boreas

Optic Nerver's Boreas is value-priced, although at the expense of some features.

POC Retina Big Goggle

77

2013

POC Retina Big Goggle

POC has a great concept with a frame that is medium-sized on your face but fits an oversized lens in a slim frame. The problem is that the lens is so close to the face that it fogs easily and, despite its great clarity, also scratched far too quickly.

Oakley Airbrake Snow Goggle

87

2013

Oakley Airbrake Snow Goggle

A very good goggle that stands out for its versatility in varying conditions. The lenses didn’t fog and provided great optics, and changing lenses was insanely easy. The main drawback was its limited peripheral vision.

Thule Sonic Alpine 633

87

2013

Thule Sonic Alpine 633

The Sonic Alpine is the best box we've seen for when aerodynamics matters most. Very easy to use, smartly designed, and  The Sonic Alpine’s 11-inch height precludes it from heavy use outside of toting skis and boards.

BCA Float 32

90

2013

BCA Float 32

Overall, we believe the BCA Float is the best avy pack on the market for Winter ‘12/'13. It has the essential features of the best packs, with a very simple-to-refill canister recharge system.

Wary AviPack 33L

86

2013

Wary AviPack 33L

The engineering of the Wary 33’s airbag system is best in of this year’s airbags.  It’s simple, solid, dependable, and abuse-ready. The backpack itself is a fully-featured, well-organized all-day ski touring pack with a bomber construction.

Mammut Light R.A.S. 30

84

2013

Mammut Light R.A.S. 30

As the second-lightest and most stripped-down avy pack in our test, the Mammut Light R.A.S. 30 is good option for those seeking to save every ounce they can. In order to save weight, Mammut skimps on a few features many backcountry users might appreciate.

K2 Diversion

83

2013

K2 Diversion

A lightweight, vented ski/snowboard helmet with hybrid construction and audio included.

K2 Photometric Goggle

84

2013

K2 Photometric Goggle

This is a solid showing for K2s first goggle, providing good but unexceptional performance—but a great value. It is a base-model goggle without the features of higher-end models but provides good visibility in a stylish package.

Burton Imperial Snowboard Boot

90

2013

Burton Imperial Snowboard Boot

The Imperial out-tested nearly every stiff-flex boot we tried, including more expensive boots in the Burton line, and was comfortable both in and out of bindings, making it ideal for chasing powder.

Never Summer Lotus (2012-13)

82

2012

Never Summer Lotus (2012-13)

The best thing about this board is its control. It has lightning fast edge-to-edge transitions, an extra-thick damping system which smoothed out most chunky snow, and great stability at top speeds, though it is lackluster in powder.

Jones Mothership (2012-13)

68

2012

Jones Mothership (2012-13)

The Mothership felt at home in just one place: bombing down wide-open bowls of deep, fluffy powder. It felt more like a miniaturized version of the men’s board, not one built specifically for women.

High Society Scarlet (2012-13)

93

2012

High Society Scarlet (2012-13)

The Scarlet was the top-scoring board at our snowboard test, with a mid-level, responsive flex, enthusiastic pop, and solid snow contact, which meant uber-stability, even at high speeds.

Gnu Velvet Guru EC2 (2012-13)

90

2012

Gnu Velvet Guru EC2 (2012-13)

An all-mountain freestyle snowboard with designed with moderate flex that responds best to aggressive riders.

Arbor Poparazzi (2012-13)

83

2012

Arbor Poparazzi (2012-13)

Less noodly and narrow than past Arbor women's boards, the Poparazzi is ideal for intermediate riders who like to cruise the mellow ungroomed, floss trees, explore steeps, and play in the bumps. Advanced riders felt it lacked the chutzpah to go mach speed.

SmartWool Teller Tech Tee

94

2012

SmartWool Teller Tech Tee

Powderchaser Steve loved the features SmartWool fit into their Teller Tech Tee, but it's the performance that won him over.

Columbia Back Up & Out

85

2012

Columbia Back Up & Out

Budget-friendly insulated ski/snowboard pants appropriate for a wide range of temperatures and conditions on the resort.

Patagonia Powder Bowl Pants

80

2012

Patagonia Powder Bowl Pants

Patagonia's Powder Bowl pants—Gore-Tex waterproof, and ready for backcountry touring and resort mayhem.

Bonfire Radiant Pants

89

2011

Bonfire Radiant Pants

Cold-weather ski pants get put in the hot seat: Catherine Lutz's take-no B.S. report on Bonfire's Radiant pants.

Signal Omni Wavelength

84

2011

Signal Omni Wavelength

All-mountain Omni gets an all-condition workout.

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