If your ski gear is even a few years old, there’s new technology out there that will help make good days on the snow even better. There are important considerations when making a purchase: What is your skill level? In what region do you ski the most? Powder or groomed? Do you ski in the backcountry? Your answers to these questions will narrow the search to the best category for gear and allow you to take advantage of all the modern day advances in ski technology.

For our skiing recommendations below, we break down all the best gear for the 2021 season. We’ve picked the top performers in each category and tell you precisely what makes them the best. Our guide to the best all-mountain skis is for those who stay mostly inside the ropes, and our guide to the best alpine touring skis is for backcountry specialists that venture far from the chairlifts. We’ve also reviewed the top boots, bindings, poles, and accessories and apparel like goggles, helmets, jackets pants, gloves, and more.

Best All-Mountain Skis of 2021

If you're searching for that elusive one-ski quiver, this is the category to find it. The definition of “all-mountain” varies by manufacturer and retailer, but generally includes skis from 80 to 105...

Best Backcountry (Touring) Skis of 2021

Unlike their lift-assisted alpine cousins, backcountry skis have two jobs: getting you uphill efficiently while retaining enough power to make the downhill worth the effort (and fun). The good news is...

Best Ski Brands of 2021

There’s nothing quite like getting first tracks at the resort, nailing a new trick in the terrain park, or finding fresh pow in the backcountry, but skiers need the right tool for the job. The industry is vast and expanding by the year, making...

Best Downhill Ski Boots of 2021

No matter your ability level, a comfortable boot is an absolute necessity. Nothing ruins a good powder day faster than cold or painful feet, and ill-fitting boots also run the risk of not properly transferring energy...

Best Backcountry (Touring) Ski Boots of 2021

There's a strong argument that the most important part of your ski touring kit is a pair of quality boots that fit well. The good news is that this growing category has seen some impressive advancements...

Best Ski Bindings of 2021

Bindings are often the last piece of ski gear you choose but remain a very important one. As the connection between boot and ski, they play a fundamental role in power transfer, responsiveness, and safety. We’ve separated the best bindings...

Best Skis for Beginners of 2021

Beginner skis offer great value and an easy platform for learning the basics of turning, balance, and control. In short, they make it easier to learn proper technique in less time...

Best Ski Boots for Beginners of 2021

If there is one piece of gear that will keep first timers from sticking with the sport, it’s an uncomfortable ski boot. A cheap boot can pinch and freeze toes, turning potential fun into complete misery. Thankfully...

Best Ski Poles of 2021

It’s hard not to admire the utility of the humble ski pole. A pair of ski poles serves a number of purposes, from helping you set a rhythm for turns, to propelling you along flat sections of trail, to having a crutch to lean on in long lift lines...

7 Great Skis for East Coast Hardpack

First and foremost, the East Coast has great skiing, from Stowe in Vermont, to Sugarloaf in Maine, all the way up to Tremblant in Quebec. But the reality is that the conditions vary considerably from places like...

Best Snowshoes of 2021

With a long platform for floatation and added traction underfoot, snowshoes open up your favorite terrain and hiking trails for all kinds of winter fun. Below we break down the best models for the...

Good Ski Gear on a Budget

The biggest impediment to skiing is cost: the gear can be prohibitively expensive, and that’s before you get to lift tickets. The good news is that despite all the hype around the latest and greatest gear, you can have a good day on the hill without...

The 5 Best Sites to Buy Skis and Ski Gear

Another ski season is upon us, and to help navigate the confusing online environment, we have put together a list of our favorite websites for buying ski gear. All the sites below are reputable companies...

Best 4-Season Tents of 2021

From backcountry ski tours to mountaineering in some of the most inhospitable weather on Earth, a 4-season tent is the last line of defense between you and the elements. Accordingly, these tents are much stronger...

Best All-Mountain Snowboards of 2021

As snowboarding season kicks into high gear, it’s time to take stock of the equipment that will help make your winter that much better. Below we break down the top all-mountain snowboards of...

Best Splitboards of 2021

Thanks to a considerable rise in backcountry adventuring of late, splitboarding is having a moment. With the ability to separate your board on the way up and secure the halves together for a true snowboarding experience on the way down...

Best Rooftop Cargo Boxes of 2021

Whether you drive a small hatchback or a large SUV, adding a cargo box to your vehicle’s rooftop can go a long way toward improving organization, carrying capacity, and comfort. These boxes come in a...

Best Ski Helmets of 2021

No matter your ability level, picking up a helmet for skiing or snowboarding is a no-brainer. If you’ve been putting off replacing a helmet that’s years old or are new to the sport, recent advancements have...

Best Ski Goggles of 2021

No matter your experience level or budget, there is a great ski goggle waiting to be found. Interchangeable lenses dominate the high end of the market with systems that are getting quicker and easier by the by the year. Field of view is another...

Best Ski Gloves and Mittens of 2021

Nothing can kill a great ski day like cold fingers, so make sure to choose a quality glove or mitten that fits the type of skiing you do most. The options range from gauntlet-style synthetic nylon gloves to undercuff...

Best Ski Backpacks of 2021

Whether you’re headed to the resort or gearing up for a big backcountry outing, you’ll need a pack to carry the essentials: extra layers, water, snacks, and—if you’re going out of bounds—avalanche equipment...

Best Avalanche Airbag Packs of 2021

For experienced skiers and snowboarders venturing into avalanche terrain, an airbag pack can provide an extra boost in safety. These systems function by inflating an airbag to about 150 liters via...

Best Avalanche Beacons of 2021

Tasked with transmitting your location and helping you search for buried victims, an avalanche beacon (also called a transceiver) is an essential piece of gear for backcountry exploration. Whether you’re a...

Best Climbing Skins for Skiing of 2021

Skis, bindings, and boots get a lot of attention in the touring world, but don’t overlook your humble climbing skins. Most importantly, you want to match the design and materials...

Best Ski Jackets of 2021

Choosing the right ski jacket is all about managing the conditions that you might encounter on the mountain. This depends on the specific kinds of skiing you enjoy most—skinning up a sunny ridgeline in the North Cascades is far different than bracing...

Patagonia Ski Jackets: How to Choose

From resort days to deep backcountry missions, Patagonia’s 2021 ski jacket lineup covers nearly the full gamut of possible designs. At the time of publishing, a grand total of eight different models...

Best Ski Pants of 2021

Ski pants are a critical barrier between you and the elements, and there’s a pair to fit every type of skier and budget. Resort-goers typically opt for a classic hardshell design with some light insulation to stay warm on the lift rides up. Backcountry...

Best Ski Apparel Brands of 2021

It’s no secret that skiing is an expensive and gear-intensive sport. And whether you’re doing laps at your local resort or skinning deep into the backcountry, you’ll need a quality jacket and pant combo...

Best Ski Socks of 2021

A quality ski sock gets the basics right: a close but not restricting fit, soft-touch materials that don’t itch, and enough cushioning to keep you on the slopes all day. Every sock that made our “best of” list for 2021 accomplishes this and more...

Best Down Jackets of 2021

It's tough to beat a great down jacket, whether it’s for casual use or tearing around the backcountry. This cozy insulation type offers the best warmth-to-weight ratio on the market and packs down smaller than synthetics for easy storage. Below are the...

Best Synthetic Insulated Jackets of 2021

If you’re looking for a jacket that offers solid warmth at a good value, synthetic insulation is the way to go. You don’t get quite as high of a warmth-to-weight ratio as down, but synthetic jackets resist moisture, can breathe better, and are more...

Best Fleece Jackets of 2021

There are a wide variety of insulating jackets available, but the most comfortable and affordable choice is the classic fleece. These polyester jackets have been providing cozy warmth...

Best Hardshell Jackets of 2021

Hardshell jackets are designed for the alpine: they’re highly windproof, waterproof, breathable, and durable. This is the outer layer you turn to for ultimate protection while backcountry and resort...

Best Snowboard Jackets of 2021

As your main line of defense against snow and wind, a quality snowboard jacket is a key piece of your kit. Designs fall into three basic categories: versatile and light shells, insulated models for a boost in...

Best Softshell Jackets of 2021

For high-output activities, it’s hard to beat a softshell jacket. Their breathable and stretchy fabrics offer fantastic performance and a really comfortable fit that moves with you. And as long as you don’t take them...

Best Vests of 2021

For getting outdoors on cool fall and spring days, it’s hard to beat a vest. This simple layering piece adds warmth to your core and is cozy, packable, less bulky, and cheaper than a full jacket. But the vest market is varied, ranging from casual to...

Best Midlayers of 2021

In the typical 3-layer ski clothing system, the midlayer is given the all-important insulating duties. As such, it is the one article of clothing you’re most likely to swap out depending on weather conditions. Is it bristling cold and dry...

Best Baselayers of 2021

As your next-to-skin article of clothing, a baselayer plays a fundamental role in pulling moisture away from the body and regulating core temperature. It’s far easier to justify purchasing a nice down jacket or waterproof shell, but a baselayer can be...

Best Winter Boots of 2021

Winter boots are a timeless and charming piece of gear. They bring back memories of being a kid, when snow falling always meant the anticipation of stomping around for hours at a time...

Best Winter Jackets of 2021

When the heart of the coldest winter months arrives, it’s time for a serious jacket. Our picks for the best winter jackets and parkas below are among the warmest on the market—they are packed with...

Best Winter Gloves and Mittens of 2021

Gloves may not get quite as much attention as your other winter clothing, but they offer invaluable warmth and protection when the temperature drops. Our picks for the best winter gloves of...

Best Mountaineering Boots of 2021

No piece of gear is more critical to summiting high peaks than footwear. A great mountaineering boot fills countless roles: it must offer support while carrying heavy loads...

How to Choose a Ski Jacket

As your outermost layer, ski jackets play a key role in keeping you comfortable and protected from the elements. The jacket market has expanded in recent years, covering everything from warm and cozy insulated resort pieces...

Ski Trip Packing List

Despite the crowds, there’s something truly satisfying about skiing inbounds. Maybe it’s the fact that you can accomplish thousands of feet in a day, or just the convenience of a warm lodge nearby to thaw cold...

How to Choose All-Mountain Skis

Picking an all-mountain ski can be a daunting task. The category itself covers a wide range of styles from groomer-oriented skis to more powder-friendly designs. In addition, the sheer number of models...

How to Choose a Down Jacket

For the best in cozy and lofty warmth, down jackets are in a class of their own. That said, the category covers a wide range of options, from lightweight and packable designs for backcountry use to stylish...

Choosing the Right Ski Waist Width

You have a huge range of widths to choose from when making a ski purchase, from 60-millimeter racing skis to 130-millimeter big-mountain sleds designed for extreme places like Alaska. After years of trending...

How to Stay Warm While Skiing

There’s a lot to love about resort skiing: you can cram in a ton of runs per day, always have the convenience of a lodge nearby, and don’t have to hoof it up thousands of vertical feet to earn your turns. That said, the biggest challenge with skiing...

How to Choose Baselayers

A baselayer’s primary job is to keep you comfortable while wicking moisture as you sweat. Whether you’re climbing steep skin tracks in the backcountry, skiing lift-accessed terrain at the resort, or climbing and hiking in cool shoulder-season weather...

Ski Jackets: Shell vs. Insulated vs. 3-in-1

Today’s ski jackets are well-made and built to handle many seasons of use in foul weather. They also can be big investments, with even entry-level jackets often setting you back a couple hundred dollars or more. With so many styles to choose from, it...

Down vs. Synthetic Insulation

As the weather cools down each year the insulation debate heats up. Goose and duck down fill are among the premier insulators on earth, trapping air and creating pockets of warmth around your body...

Backcountry Ski Bindings: Tech vs. Frame

As you transition from resort skiing to the backcountry, your set-up inevitably will become more complex. Some AT bindings prioritize downhill performance, particularly for aggressive skiers...

What is a Softshell Jacket?

Softshell jackets fill a much-needed void between lightweight insulating pieces and waterproof hardshells. They stretch for movement and breathe well, yet still offer better protection from the elements than...

How to Layer for Backcountry Skiing

Backcountry skiing can be an incredibly rewarding way to spend your time outdoors—no crowds, untouched snow, and a skin-track workout to compliment your knee-deep powder turns...

Backcountry Skiing Checklist for 2020-2021

Nothing is more satisfying or adrenaline-inducing than slaying fresh powder in the heart of the backcountry, but you’ll need the right gear to accomplish your ski objectives...

Does Your Down Jacket Need a Hood?

A down jacket is a wonderful insulating piece: it’s light, packable and offers premium warmth that you simply can’t find in a synthetic equivalent. In choosing your perfect puffy, one of the forks in the road...

Down Fill and Insulation Explained

Despite continued efforts in synthetics, down is the best insulator on Earth. It’s warmth-to-weight ratio and compressibility are unbeatable, and it’s extremely soft and cozy too. To better understand the...

Merino Wool: Is It Worth It?

Merino wool, the ultra soft fabric most commonly found in performance baselayers and socks, is one of the most sought-after materials in the outdoor gear world. But is it worth the hype? Below we...

Winter Camping Checklist for 2020-2021

Whether you are planning a week-long expedition or camping for a single night, having the right equipment for winter is crucial. Snow-covered landscapes can be magically enticing, but trips...

Black Diamond JetForce Pro 25L Review

With a rise in backcountry adventuring of late, avalanche airbag packs have become increasingly popular for the added safety they can provide in the event of a slide. Black Diamond’s battery-powered...

Lange XT3 130 Ski Boot (2021) Review

Backcountry skiers often sacrifice downhill performance for the ability to tour uphill, but Lange’s XT3 130 is designed with the descent in mind. We put the XT3 to the test both on- and off-piste in the...

Arc’teryx Rush Jacket (2021) Review

Vancouver-based Arc’teryx is a frontrunner in the technical ski shell market, and the Rush Jacket slots in as their fully featured yet light Gore-Tex Pro backcountry piece. Updated for winter...

Nordica Enforcer 94 Ski (2021) Review

Nordica’s Enforcer (and women’s Santa Ana) is a leading all-mountain design that excels in everything from firm snow to moderately deep powder. The ski was updated for...

Smith 4D Mag Goggle Review

Released last season and building on Smith’s popular I/O Mag snow goggle, the 4D Mag features a curved section at the bottom of the lens designed to greatly increase downward visibility. We...

Salomon S/Lab Shift MNC Binding Review

Most ski bindings fall into either the downhill or alpine touring category, but the Salomon S/Lab Shift MNC is a do-it-all set-up that can confidently transition between the front- and backcountry...

Norrøna Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Jacket Review

Norwegian brand Norrøna is no stranger to harsh mountain environments, with a quality selection of top-end hardshells built for demanding missions in the alpine. The Lofoten collection, named after...

Arc’teryx Sabre AR Jacket Review

Arc’teryx offers an extensive lineup of quality ski jackets, from technical hardshells to insulated resort options. The Sabre AR (for “All Round”) slots in right in the middle, with a premium Gore-Tex build...

Volkl M5 Mantra Ski Review

Volkl’s Mantra is one of the most well-respected skis among dedicated all-mountain riders, and the current model delivers serious speed and stability on hardpack. We put the 177-centimeter M5 Mantra to the test in Washington state and found that it’s a...

Smith Squad Mag Goggle Review

Smith’s Squad has been a long-time favorite for its semi-framed styling, budget-friendly price, and good all-around versatility. They’ve added to the collection for 2020-2021 with the Squad Mag, which takes the basic design of the original model and...

Rossignol Experience 88 Ti Ski Review

Rossignol’s popular Experience 88 Ti is a capable and confidence-inspiring all-mountain design. We gave the ski an extended look throughout a fun winter in the Pacific Northwest and found...

Smith I/O Mag Goggle Review

Smith is a leader in optics, so it comes as little surprise that their snow goggles are some of the best on the market. Within their lineup, the I/O Mag stands out as their most well-rounded design: it offers excellent optics and fit, comes with two...

Arc’teryx Macai Ski Jacket Review

Sitting atop Arc’teryx’s venerable ski lineup is the Macai, a Gore-Tex-equipped, down-insulated ski shell built for frigid conditions and serious resort use. Two of our testers put the Macai through a season-long test in Washington state...

Patagonia SnowDrifter Jacket Review

Patagonia offers a jacket for just about every type of skier and terrain, from insulated, resort-ready designs to lightweight hardshells built for the backcountry. The SnowDrifter slots in as their affordable...

Smith Vantage MIPS Helmet Review

Smith is a leader in the ski helmet market, and their Vantage MIPS is a favorite among serious downhill and alpine touring riders. This lid seemingly has it all: comfort, performance, safety, and good looks to boot. Given its impressive résumé...

Patagonia Descensionist 40L Pack Review

Skiers, snowboarders, and other adventurers headed into the backcountry will need a pack to carry their supplies, and options range from highly organized and plush haulers to minimalist models for weight...

Scarpa Maestrale RS Ski Boot Review

Among Scarpa’s impressive and diverse lineup of ski boots, the Maestrale RS alpine touring model is a standout. A stiffer version of their popular Maestrale, the RS is designed to be light on the skin track and extra powerful on the descent. The...

Salomon MTN Binding Review

Salomon made a bold entrance into the tech binding world with the release of the minimalist and feather-light MTN. Mounted on a pair of lightweight DPS skis, the MTN + Brake was my binding of choice for a winter of lightweight missions, where it was...

Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket Review

Arc’teryx is no stranger to hardshell jackets and long has been a go-to option for protection in harsh mountain environments. At the very top of their lineup is the Alpha SV ("severe weather"), which is designed for use in the most serious of...

Outdoor Research Hemispheres Ski Jacket Review

When it comes to choosing a shell, backcountry-goers often have to make the decision between range of movement and weather protection. However, the Outdoor Research Hemispheres Jacket aims to deftly balance both demands without making any major...

Outdoor Research Hemispheres Bib Review

Released in late 2018, the Outdoor Research Hemispheres kit garnered a lot of attention among backcountry skiers due to its claimed balance of weather protection and freedom of movement...

Salomon S/Lab MTN Ski Boot Review

Salomon is no stranger to the backcountry skiing market with an expansive lineup of touring equipment. From their ski boot collection, the S/Lab MTN is aimed at resort and backcountry skiers who want the option to do both without making major...

Patagonia Insulated Snowbelle Jacket Review

Patagonia’s ski jacket lineup undoubtedly is impressive, from the fully featured PowSlayer hardshell to more basic resort options. Their Insulated Snowbelle Jacket falls on the latter end of the spectrum, and we gave it a full season of testing in...

G3 Ion 12 Binding Review

Now in its second generation, G3’s Ion has earned a solid reputation in the tech binding market for its user-friendly design. With a full season of testing under my belt with the 12-DIN model, I've found its auto-rotation lock, simplified step-in, and...

Arc'teryx Beta AR Jacket Review

From Arc’teryx’s formidable hardshell lineup, the Beta AR slots in as the all-around workhorse. The jacket has been a flagship piece since its release back in 2000, and it’s a favorite for everything...

Patagonia Insulated Powder Bowl Pant Review

For resort skiing, we look for pants that are reliably weatherproof, tough, and warm enough to keep us cozy while sitting on cold lifts. The Patagonia Insulated Powder Bowl Pants tick all of these boxes...

Arc'teryx Proton LT Hoody Review

High-output activities like ski touring and winter climbing require an insulated jacket that balances warmth and ventilation. Retooled for this winter, Arc’teryx’s Proton LT...