Skimo Co

Atomic Backland UL 65 2.0 Ski

$749.95 $699.95

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Naming note: according to Atomic’s ski-naming department, this ski is still the Backland UL 65. As far as the ski and its performance characteristics are concerned, however, this is a very different ski than the original in all the best ways. In order to minimize and/or increase confusion, we are calling the 2018/19+ edition the 2.0. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on to the ski.

The original Backland UL 65 has been a hit amongst the race community, favored for its durability and versatility. Atomic decided to tweak a few things which resulted in a ski that’s more energetic, powerful, and comfortable at speed but just as fun and easy to manage. The turn radius and effective edge have been increased to improve stability at speed so you can feel even more comfortable keeping them pointed down the fall line. The longer effective edge promotes excellent grip and control. In order to counteract the “cruise-missile” effect that comes with long turn-radii, an extra dose of camber was added. This allows for fun, energetic carves of varying shape. The added camber also gives a bit of extra pop while skinning, a.k.a. “free speed”.

The HRZN Tech tips are a novel design that came from Atomic’s freeride skis. The red sections on the tip of the ski are rockered perpendicular to the ski (think of a boat hull) to add extra flotation without adding mass. This improves the UL 65’s already-stellar soft snow performance and allows for more aggressive positioning on the ski. The tails have been tapered to speed-up transitions by guiding the skis into a pack loop and also help the ski release from turns. So, go ahead and point ‘em. They’ll do the rest.

  • HRZN Tech Tip adds extra flotation and helps in challenging snow conditions.
  • Sloped topsheet minimizes snow accumulation, ensuring that your light skis stay light.
  • Fiber Grid layer built into the topsheet adds durability and stability.

Update 2020/21: Old reliable stays mostly the same, albeit with an updated paint job.

Update 2022/23: Same ol' ski with updated topsheet graphics.

Lengths (cm) 161
convert to ounces
698g [161]
Weight (pair) 1396g [161]
Sidecut   93-65-78.5 [161]
Turn Radius   24m [161]
Skin Fix   Tip notch
Specs Verified Yes
Profile   HRZN Tech Tip, camber, semi-rockered tail
Shape   Hook-free HRZN Tech tip, long radius, tapered tail
Construction   Cap w/ carbon laminates
Core   Karuba + Poplar
Skimo Co Says
Usage Skimo racing, speed touring, training
Notes Longer running edge and more camber than previous model
Bottom Line Skimo race ski made for the modern skimo racer
Compare to other Race Skis

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Questions & Reviews

Question from Kristen
What bindings would pair well with these skis? I want a brake (to be legit for a race here and there and for them to be adjustable (25mm would be ideal). I’ve really been liking the Plum bindings lately.
Answer from jbo
Hi Kristen, the Plum Race 120 comes to mind. We like to match the binding to the skier as well, so consider heading over to our binding finder.
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Alfredo A (downright abused product)
Holy smokes, I put as many miles on these last ski season as I normally do during the trail running season. And an unfathomable amount of vertical. Every day, on every outing, I was thankful to be rocking such an amazing pair of skis underfoot, which often makes the experience feel akin to running and lets you truly fly uphill.

Regardless of whether I'm skiing resort laps, backcountry pow, or spring corn, they always feel like the right ski for the job with a few adjustments to technique depending on conditions and as long as your priority firmly remains racking up vert and distance.

More than once I encountered folks in the backcountry who were astounded to see how well these sticks handled deep snow; however, I do still get the most enjoyment out of skiing them on-piste or in relatively simple spring conditions, and will only break them out for deep days if I have a lot of distance to cover, a speed objective, or for the sheer novelty.

Obstacles like breakable crust, while not fun to encounter on any ski, become objectively worse on skis as light and narrow as the backland 65, and so when encountering mixed snow conditions is likely, I prefer the backland 78 or 85 UL.

In fairly straightforward conditions, skiing the 65 is a sheer joy, as they are incredibly playful, poppy, and confidence-inspiring. They are also highly durable for their weight, which is so light that they're also ideal for multi-sport outings, such as running or cycling with them attached to your pack on the way to the trailhead.
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Question from Heiko K
I have been skiing skinny Hagan AT skis from the 90ies (ca. 25 years old) until now, width 65mm, length 175cm. Been super happy overall. I like to do a lot of vertical ski mountaineering in a day, and I ski anything off piste, powder, corn, crud, crust, icy slopes, and never had a problem. Everybody tries to convince me that I need wider skis, so I was looking into upgrading to some ski in the 82-85mm range that weighs about 1000-1100g. But now reading the comments on the ultralight racing skis, I am noticing that people seem to be very happy with those in all kinds of conditions, and the geometry is very similar to my old skis from the 90ies. Question: Should I upgrade to a new ultralight ski like the Atomic UL 65, upgrade to a lightweight "normal" touring ski in the 80-something width ranges, or just keep skiing my Hagans from the 90ies until I die? Thanks for your advice.
Answer from eric
Michael - sounds like you can ski skinny skis just fine. You could easily ski a race ski, though I think a difference between your Hagan and the current race skis is that the race skis are a lot stiffer with less sidecut than the older Hagan's. This makes them a lot less friendly in tougher snow conditions. I think if you want the same ski feel, look at something like the Atomic UL 78 or similar would give a better ski experience in all snow types. So, yes, you might need to go a little wider.
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Adam L (used product regularly)
Yes, these are race skis, but they can charge down surprisingly well. I've had these up to 60mph (on groomer) without an issue and skied through soft snow with relative ease. I've been impressed with how much I'm able to trust these. Plus they look cool and are just as light as many more expensive models. All in all, these skimo skis rock.
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Question from Michael
Can the new Dynafit Superlite 150 with the extra wide front hole pattern be mounted on this ski?

Answer from Will M
Hey Michael,

Great question, the Dynafit Superlite 150 can indeed be mounted on this ski!
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Question from Aaron O
Has anyone skied the new version of this ski? Wondering how much things have changed in the update - I really have liked prior generations but they are a bit more on the light/playful side. I am wondering if they have eased off the "3D snow" tip rocker a bit and maybe made it a bit more aggressive?
Answer from Nate
Hi Aaron, I have not skied the ski to give an impression of its new personality but I can answer some parts of your question.

The reshaping of the tip and tail, along with the lessened tip rocker amount will change its performance for sure. The shorter rocker will increase the running edge and the tip shape will help with stability and limit deflection. The new tail shape should help the ski release from turns a little easier, especially in tough conditions.

Depending on how you are using the word aggressive, the answer is "possibly."
Answer from Aaron O
Thanks - this is helpful. What about as compared to the Blizzard Zero G skimo.
Answer from TSB
Hey Aaron O., the Zero G is a fairly stiff, traditionally-shaped ski that likes to go fast and prefers consistent hard-snow conditions. The Backland 65 by contrast does great in softer snow and has more of a slice-and-dice personality. Generally the Zero G is preferred by technically precise skiers who have been in the game for a while and may prefer skis that feel straight out of 2006, while the Backland suits a wide range of skiers from those looking to improve their skills to the top racers in North America.
I'm realizing we may be a bit late to the party answering your initial question, but perhaps others will be interested in this same comparison in the future! :-)
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Model: Backland UL 65

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