Skis in this category—which excel on hut tours and backcountry exploring—are lightweight, with scales on the base that let you climb without using skins. What makes this the best of the bunch? The BC 125 is fat in the middle (95mm, for stability), has full metal edges (for supreme hold), is designed with progressive sidecut (for easy turning), and has a waxless base that glides easily on descents and sticks on inclines up to 20 degrees.
In other words: It’s the perfect heavy-duty Nordic touring ski, whether you’re skinning with a 40-pound backpack on a weeklong tour through the Rockies or zipping down frozen crust on an early-morning run on Vermont’s Mt. Mansfield. “It takes a lot for me to leave my tele skis at home, even when I know that a trip will be 90 percent touring and 10 percent turns,” says one Colorado-based tester. “But these are so fun and functional, I grabbed them even on cross-country days with good powder potential.”
The single-camber design (typical of Nordic skis) provides an optimal balance of glide (for schussing) and grip (for climbing). Going steeper than 20 degrees? A tail notch accepts skins. $400; 6 lbs. 6 oz.; one length fits all (123/95/120); rossignol.com