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Nordica Taking The Slack Country By Storm


In a world of constant change and growing uncertainty, it’s wise to keep your options open. Which helps explain why more and more skiers are opting to go slack country skiing.

Should we ride the lifts and save our energy for skiing, or earn our turns by hiking to ski? Shall we search for fresh powder off-piste or carve the corduroy on-piste? Do we stick to the main hill or explore an adjacent peak? Should we warm up in the trees or go inside for a nice hot chocolate? In slack country, the options are many, as  lift-served ski hills become gateways to on and off-piste adventure.



I first discovered slack country skiing years ago when our guides, Fred and JP, led us off Red Mountain, then up and down nearby Mount Roberts. ‘Twas bliss. A few days later, after rounding up some wheels, they introduced us to a neat variation. This time at Whitewater, where we summited by chairlift, traversed way out of bounds, and skied down through untracked trees to the access road where our wheels (and drivers) awaited to whisk us back to the resort. That was heaven.




Today, slack country is the hot trend in skiing. Thanks, in large part, to the tremendous improvements in equipment. Back then, slack country skiers had two options: either use heavyweight Alpine gear that skied well but made hiking a chore or choose lightweight Touring gear that let you climb effortlessly but ski at your own peril, especially on hard snow and ice. 




Now, slack country skiers can exercise a third option: skis, boots and bindings that are remarkably light and surefooted going uphill yet incredibly powerful and stable going downhill.

Says Benny Lalande, Nordica (Canada) Product Manager and Race Group Director, “Our all-new Strider boots and Navigator (for men) and Astral (for women) skis are 100%, the first choice in slack country.” 




A Titanal Hexbridge and wood core construction lessens the skis’ weight without compromising their downhill performance. Moderately rockered Hammerhead tips (inspired by Nordica’s breakthrough Enforcer and Santa Ana freeride skis) can handle anything. Straight sidewalls and Dobermann-inspired tails provide incredible power and edge grip, even on ice. Adds Benny, “The notched tails hold climbing skins in place.”



According to Benny, the new Nordica Striders are the ultimate, lightweight hike and ski boots for men and women who live to explore and rip the whole mountain. “Unlocked, the hike/ski cuff provides a comfortable 46° of movement. Michelin Tire Gripwalk soles ensure traction on snow, ice, cobblestones and floors. Both the Strider 120 and 130 Pro soles are certified Dynafit compatible.”

Says Benny, “Add Marker Duke or Kingpin bindings, Nordica-sized skins and telescopic poles and, in my humble opinion, you have the perfect slack country set up. But remember: never ski off-piste alone. Always ski in groups of three or more.”

One other thing: don’t call us slackers.   





Dave Fonda
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