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Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130 Ski Boot And Atomic Backland 95 Ski Review

There’s a ‘shift’ to ski touring (free touring), and it’s growing in popularity! So if you’re skiing frontside on the resort pistes or finding that un-tracked snow on the backside of the mountain,  the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD is the perfect all round boot. It’s comfortable, lightweight and gives you the performance you want. The same can be said of the Atomic Backland skis, lightweight and performance!

Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130

Before I left for Colorado; I was impressed with the customisation of the boot. The Hawx Ultra has a narrow last, and my foot is defiantly not narrow. However, thanks to the expert fitting of the Memory Fit 3D Platinum Light Liner, these  are the comfiest boots I had ever worn; and light! They only weigh  1420g (size 26.5  boot). The lace up liners are a great addition because you can put the linear on before putting the boot on; which is a great help in the cold car parks of the Colorado Rockies.

New to the touring scene I was interested to see how I would get on with the pin bindings compared to a traditional alpine bindings.  Safe to say any doubts I had were quickly put to bed. The pre-cut skins were also an easy fit (and removal), thanks to a new tip fitting.

atomic backland skis
The carbon backbone of the ski gives it the stiffness and performance you want making those powder turns!

My guide (brother) had been up in the mountains for a month skiing and touring every day; so I was expecting to be absolutely beasted when we pulled off the highway at Shrine Pass, Vail (3380M). The extreme light weight of the Hawx Ultra XTD and the Backland 95 skis (1370g  size 177cm ski) meant, that although I was behind, my pride was still intact – which is always key when trying to keep up with your brother. After two hours of going up my legs were feeling surprisingly better than I first expected; mostly due to the boots and skis rather than my superior fitness levels. The hike mode on the Hawx Ultra allows the boot to articulate further than my legs possibly can.

Atomic Backland 95 Skis

After an avalanche check it was time to charge down the untracked snow on the Atomic Backland 95 skis that took me uphill so well. They were just as good on the downhill. The carbon backbone of the ski gives it the stiffness and performance you want making those powder turns!

The best part about this set up is that it gives you uncharted access. Find yourself a touring buddy and go wherever the snow takes you. For me personally there isn’t much better than being out in the mountains with just yourself and your touring buddy; away from all the noise and lift ques in resort. 

The next day, with somewhat tired legs, we took the lifts to ski frontside. This is where I had my doubts about pin bindings. Skiing in America for the first time, it was my first experience of someone pulling my skis out of the gondola for me. I was met by an American guy who was extremely excited about how light my skis and bindings were. First run down and all those doubts about the bindings and skis were gone; putting in harder carving turns each time. The pin binding work just as well on piste; and it was noticeable how many people were skiing on pin bindings!

The next wave of skiing is defiantly coming in quick, so keep an eye out for our freetouring gear!



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Atomic Redster X7 Skis Review

I was lucky enough to have been offered a set of the Atomic Redster X7 skis with XT12 bindings, for a recent ski trip, so jumped at the chance to take them away.

Atomic have arguably produced some of the best race/piste skis on the market over the years. Although I’m nowhere near the same level; knowing that current World and Olympic Slalom Champion Mikaela Shiffrin and current Men’s World Champion Marcel Hirscher opt for the Redsters, I was very excited to try them out.

Various reviewers have catagorised the Atomic Redster X7 as an all mountain to top end piste ski. Atomic describe the Redster range as the perfect blend of Giant Slalom carving turns and Slalom short radius turns. So as a keen skier myself I was interested to see where I would ‘place’ them!

My initial thoughts of the skis were very positive; on the first ‘red run’ of the morning. Atomic’s power woodcore, full sidewall and 100% traditional camber, had the skis edging beautifully. When I flexed the skis into the turn they responded, with their full sidewall and woodcore, snapping me back and into the next turn. I took advantage of this, whilst the slopes were empty, and enjoyed several runs with the skis push harder and harder. I understood what Atomic are claiming with the “blend” as the skis seemed to generate more speed the harder I pushed them.

atomic rester x7 piste skis
When my ‘millionaires’ slope time starting to come to an end I decided to go in search of a busier chopped up piste.

When my ‘millionaires’ slope time starting to come to an end I decided to go in search of a busier chopped up piste, one that you might find at the end of the day, to see how they would handle the lumps and bumps. I wasn’t sure what to expect here, but due to the slope being busy, I tried a few parallel turns. The skis were very aggressive over the bumps and seemed to snap back at me the more pressure I put through them. I didn’t see this as a negative towards the skis because they are sold as a top end ski, that are designed to be aggressive. It did get me thinking, though, that fatigued legs at the end of a long day may struggle to absorb these bumps on the last runs down to the bar.

Overall, I would sum these skis up as an awesome bit of kit. To any potential buyers I would strongly recommend really thinking about where you ski most on the mountain. If your looking for an all mountain ski that is forgiving and can go all over, even into the powder, then these are not the skis for you. However, if you prefer to ski hard on fresh packed corduroy pistes with a ski that is going to push your edge angles, and generate speed, then these skis are fantastic. I found myself having to back off several times, not due to the ski quivering or loosing grip, but for a reason that any skier doesn’t really like to admit to!

Check out our selection of Atomic, and other skis: piste, all-mountain, touring and more.

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