Skimo Co

Atomic Backland UL 78 Ski

$649.95 From $519.95

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The redesigned Backland UL 78 is the culmination of years of Atomic working to perfect the tech that goes into a good lightweight ski. Tracing its roots to freeride and skimo racing skis, the 78mm-wide mountaineering ski incorporates all the unique Atomic tech that we love while staying light and responsive. This updated model features the popular HRZN Tech tip, which offers advanced float and steering in powder while simultaneously trading "grabbiness" for improved control and carving on harder snow. The core construction sandwiches the Ultra Light Woodcore between two sheets of carbon, which helps the ski respond quickly and snappily. When asked to give one word to describe the Backland UL 78, Skimo Co technician Tim said "obedient". He then went on to give many, many more words to describe this ski because Tim is, in fact, not as obedient as the Atomic Backland UL 78.

  • The core is constructed from Ultra Light Woodcore and is Carbon Powered, creating a light and snappy ski that goes up and down equally well.
  • HRZN Tech tip allows you to turn sharply, skin in deep snow, and ski fast without fear of going head over tea kettle.
  • With Directional Shape and Atomic's pronounced tip rocker, the Backland UL 78 is more stable and compliant than ever.
  • Capped sidewall complements the narrow waist and stiff core while helping to transfer power efficiently to the edges.

Update 2022/23: This year's cool, metalic-blue top sheets look pretty hot!

Lengths (cm) 149, 156, 163, 170, 177
convert to ounces
895g [156]
930g [163]
990g [170]
1040g [177]
Weight (pair) 1790g [156]
1860g [163]
1980g [170]
2080g [177]
Sidecut   110-79-99 [156]
111-79-100 [163]
112-79-101 [170]
113-79-102 [177]
Turn Radius   11.9m [149]
13.6m [156]
15.5m [163]
17.5m [170]
19.5m [177]
Skin Fix   Race notches, flat notched tail
Specs Verified Yes
Profile   15% rocker, 85% camber
Shape   Directional, medium radius shape with spoon tips
Construction   Cap Sidewall
Core   Ultra Light Woodcore
Skimo Co Says
Usage Ski mountaineering, fitness laps
Notes A fantastic ski mountaineering ski just got an upgrade
Bottom Line Light and compliant with impressive flex pattern
Compare to other Low-fat Skis

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Questions & Reviews

Question from Heather
Hi! I have the 2022 Atomic Backland 78 UL skiis (red version) 156 length. I don’t think the dimensions have changed on the newer skiis. I am making skins for these skiiis using a ski trab mohair mix - off the roll. I am trying to pick tails and tips for the skins. I’d like the tails to be adjustable. I have bungee kicker skins for these skiis and I’d like to have another pair that has tail clips. What skin accessories do you recommend purchasing? Black diamond sets? Contour sets? What size for the tip clip?

Thank you for your help!!
Answer from Carlos M
Hi Heather,

For adjustable tail straps, the Black Diamond offering fits well in the tail notch of this ski. You'll want the Ski Skin Tail Kit which comes with all the parts. For the tips, Pomoca Top Fix Race Tips are a great option for a race tip that will work with your tip notch.
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Question from Jeff T
Will the Backland 78 hold a tele binding? Switchback in particular? And stick w/ the 170 for the same heights and weights as mentioned above?
Answer from Will McD
Hi Jeff, as long as all of the mounting screws fit onto the forward mounting plate, the ski should have no problem with your switchbacks. I have telemounted the UL 85 and loved it, though I had to mount at +1 to fit the screws onto the reinforced area.

The best way to make sure you'll fit on the mounting plate is to line up your boots and bindings on the ski, but for a rough estimate measure the length of your boot from heel to 3-pin-line, divide by two, and if the result is more than 75mm, I think you should be okay to mount the switchbacks at recommended, though double check your hole positions before drilling.
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Question from Matt
How dry/carbony do they feel when going downhill?
Answer from jbo
Hi Matt, these really don't have a carbon-y feel. The fibers are oriented to allow a nice flex pattern while remaining supportive on edge.
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Question from Adam
I’m torn between the 170 and 177. I’m just over 6” tall. I’m a kinda advanced skier and I plan on using them for everting and doing the grand traverse. I just plan on completing the traverse not competing.
Answer from jbo
Hi Adam, I'm the same height and prefer the 170 in this ski. It's a great length for mountaineering, traverses, and recreational racing.
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Question from Jackson
Hey what skins do you recommend pairing with these? Would race skins work or too narrow? Thanks
Answer from Gabriel I
Hi Jackson, ~65mm race skins will be a tad narrow on these skis. For a fast mohair skin with Contour's Hybrid glue, check out Atomic Hybrid Precut Skins. Contour's Guide Speed Skin is a mohair option with standard hot melt glue. Or, build something from off-the-roll skin.
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Question from Jeppe
I consider buying a pair of these and selling my pair of 85 UL to get a lighter pair of skis with many of the same qualities. I think about buying them in 170 cm. I just wonder if the weight is 900 grams in this length (as claimed by Atomic) or are they 990 grams as you claim?
Answer from Gabriel I
Hi Jeppe, we've measured the 170cm length of this ski to be an average of 990g. Note that the weight of individual skis can vary since they are built from natural materials, and the listed weight is an average of multiple pairs.
Answer from Jeppe
I understand, but almost 100 grams difference in all lengths? That is quite much for skis in this category.
Answer from jbo
Hi Jeppe, Atomic uses 163cm as its reference length for this ski. We weigh all the lengths.
Answer from Jeppe
Atomic: «Weight single piece (g) / Size (cm) : 850 / 163»

80 grams in difference.

My 85 UL are spot on the same as Atomic claims. If your weigths are right it means my 172 cm 85 UL are only 45 grams heavier than 170 cm 78 UL. Weird.
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Brian h (downright abused product)
Everytime I take these skis out I'm always pleased at how they perform. They remind me of the old Dynafit Broad Peaks which was a favorite among many ski alpinists many years ago. Hell, I still have mine. But the BL 78 gives the same skiing pleasure with a modern front end and less weight. They do everything pretty darn well. I'm 6' and 170 lbs and use the 170cm. I pair them with either race boots or a light touring boots depending on the mission.
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Question from Christina Buchanan
Hey there,
I'm interested in the Women's Backland 78 and I'm not sure what size to get. I am 5'4.5" and 120 lbs. Would you recommend the 149 or the 156?
Answer from Emmett I

You could go either way! The 156 will have better floatation in powder and more stability at speed, while the 149 will be more agile, easier to kick turn, easier to jump turn, and easier to bushwhack with. Considering this ski is a fairly narrow mountaineering ski that isn't designed for powder, I'd recommend going with the 149.
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Question from KajetanA
Hi, I'm currently using Backland 85 UL, and was thinking about buying something lighter for faster trips and uphill training.

I'm 185 and 83kg

I was considering Backland 78 UL in 163cm or Backland 65 UL. I know that 65's are mostly racing skis, but I've heard great reviews about "normal use" too :D.

I'm using atomic backland PRO CL boots, but I was thinking about changing to Backland Carbon or Backland ultimate.

Can you please help me with the choice
Answer from Patrick C

The UL 65 will not be as versatile as the UL 78 for sure. For fitness laps, the 65 could be a great choice, but you may find yourself limited in terms of performance on regular tours. The UL 78 is a great choice to shed some weight that would still be appropriate for training laps. If you do go with the UL 78, at your height I would recommend the 170cm ski for better stability on the descent. If you have further questions about ski choice feel free to e-mail us at!
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Question from Paul
I was wondering what sort ski length I should be looking for with these.
I’m 178cm tall and 74kg.
Intermediate skier looking for a fitness ski that can also stand up to multi day tours such at Haute Route and some easy ski mountaineering around the French Alps.
Thank you.
Answer from Lrow
Hi Paul,

I'd recommend the 170cm. Our goldilocks range for balancing performance and stability with narrower skis tends to be between your chin and your eyes. You will find it easier to engage your edges and turn with more control.
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Question from Brian S
I am a 5' 8", 155 lb skier. I am would use this ski in winter and spring paired with light race boots for backcountry days where speed is a high priority. As such, looking to to get the shortest and lightest version of this ski that would offer enough stability and floatation to be substantially more fun than race skis in the backcountry. Do you have length recommendations? Would the 163 length likely feel too short?
Answer from Jeff
Hello Brian,
Good Question. For this ski, the 170cm will give you better stability and maybe even a better glide on the up. The 163 will not be a whole lot more ski than a race ski. Only about 1 ounce heavier.
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Question from Drew
I'm primarily a climber/mountaineer, secondarily a skier.
6'-0", 180 lb

I'm replacing some old skis that I use mostly to approach as lightly as possible, and just "get down" safely. No need for high speed, often in crusty snow, best case is some nice corn.

Do you think the 163 is long enough? Thanks!
Answer from Jeremy L
Hi Drew. You could get away with the 163cm length but for the very minimal weight penalty, I think you'd be much happier with the extra versatility of the 170cm ski.
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Question from Samuel H
I’m looking for a wider race ski platform since I am a bigger person - 6’2” 180lbs. Is it okay to go 163 for lightness. I will only be using for races. I have other touring skis
Answer from Ian C
Hi Sam, you sure can go with a 163cm for a traditional skimo race ski length! One thing to note, most race skis are fairly stiff with a large turn radius, while this ski is more docile. This means you would get a little more stability racing downhill in the 170cm!
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Question from Aaron
Final question:
I’m 177cm, 150 lbs.

163 or 170?
Answer from Tristan M
Hi Aaron,

Based on your dimensions, I would put you on the 170cm length for the best all around performance for all of your future plans. If you want to save some more grams, and are looking for an even more nimble ski, consider the 163cm length.
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Question from Lightfoot
Hey there! You guys are such an amazing resource. I’ve been in depth searching for my next ski and am debating between the atomic backland UL 78 and the Dynafit Blacklight Pro for uphill fitness laps (primarily) and perhaps a race one day next season. Might also casually take it out for some back country hut stuff , but priority definitely on uphill laps at the local mountain.

I’m a trail runner who usually enjoys the winter mountains on xcD skis (but nothing super steep) and want to dip into this world of light uphill travel then ripping back down. I’m a solid alpine skiier, currently advanced intermediate (blacks including trees and bumps on resort, feel comfortable at top speeds with big turns for open slopes) and continuing to improve. 5’10” 150 pounds.

Thoughts on those two skis given my abilities and desires? I don’t mind skinny, I’m looking at weight and performance and having a tough time discovering differences between the two setups.

Thanks for any insight!
Answer from Ian C
Hey LF, thanks for the kind words. See you out there! I think either of these skis would make you very happy for the purposes you are describing, enabling you to charge uphill for mountaineering objectives or fitness points.

The Dynafit Blacklight Pro has a stiffer flex, longer turn radius, and comes in slightly longer lengths, which gives them the edge on downhill performance at speed. It also has a unique skin tail attachment system that saves weight and seems to stick well compared to a tail strap. By comparison, the Backland 78 is quicker to turn and more "playful," potentially a bit less demanding for intermediate skiers to control.
Answer from Aaron S
Y’all are the best, thank you!!
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Question from Zach W
Hi folks, I'm thinking of putting together a spring ski. Intention is corn farming and couloirs in all of the various spring conditions. This year I intend to ski in the PNW, Sierras, and Utah. I'm 5'7" and 150 lbs. Intermediate-advanced skier but self-taught. A casual daily tour would be something like corn-farming Cardiac Ridge or doing some Wolverine lines. A season-long objective would be something like NW Pfeiff.

I think that I'm down to the UL 78 in a 170 or the Blizzard Zero G 85 in a 171. I've skied siblings of both skis and was hoping for your all's take.

I skied the non-UL 78 in a 163 as my only ski last year and really liked them. They were a ton of fun, I felt they were energetic, turned easily. I didn't like the length - I felt like they had a speed limit on open faces. My worry with the 78 UL/170 is that they will be too soft and squirrely on open faces. If it's perfect corn, I want to be limited by my ability & comfort at speed, not by the ski.

I've also skied the Blizzard Zero G 95 in a 171 for a few days. This year, I'm a more aggressive & better skier and loved how chargey they were - I leaned forward, got low, and felt like I cranked through inconsistent snow. But I definitely got kicked around & I think I'm not quite a good enough skier to be on top of them at all times. With the 85, I'd be worried that they're too strenuous for me. I'd also be worried that I'd need to always "be on" and that on bushy exits after long days they'd be hard and tiring to manage.

If I didn't get a spring ski, I'd just use my "stable powder snow" ski in this category, either a Ski Trab Maximo or a Dynafit Blacklight 88.

What do you think? Thanks!
Answer from eric
Hey Zach- I agree on your description of the zero G 85. Fantastic, stable ski, really good on hard snow but the "on switch" like you say is true. The atomic UL78 I dont think would be more squirrely then the non UL78 just damper and a little stiffer under foot with the extra carbon and different core. Might I suggest reaching out to us at and we could discuss some other options too.
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Question from Matt

I wonder how this model performs compare to the much praised 19/20 version. Are there any compromises due to the reduced weight?

Which length can you suggest please? I am 184cm and 74kg. Want to use this skis for closing the gap between my race skis and and my everyday touring skis.

Thank you very much!!
Answer from eric
Matt-The weight has not affected the ski performance. In fact with the HRZN tech tip it makes this version even better in punchy snow that you could find in the spring. For a mountaineering ski for your height and weight you should go 170. If you want a little more soft snow or very high speed stability you could go to the 177cm, also if you have a stiffer heavier boot the longer ski moght match better too.
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Question from Elisa
I'm an advanced ski mountaineer who likes steep, European Alps like, ski touring, including 2000+ m days in spring and multi-day ski touring routes. I'm looking for something that is light and doesn't compromise on being pleasant to ski, but at the same time that remains ok to handle in crusty/bad snowpacks on those mid-tour days when legs are tired, the weather sucks, and the backpack is heavy.

I'm replacing a pair of movement random-X (which I find a bit too nervous), and I'm unsure between the UL 78 and the UL85. How does the 78 ski on bad snows? And, would you recommend anything else?

Thank you!
Answer from Zak M
Hey Elisa, thanks for reaching out with your question. Both the Backland UL 78 and Backland UL85, generally are two very easy to ski skis while also being relatively versatile. The HRZN Tech Tip on both of the skis make for a nice addition when encountering new snow for added flotation, and both skis do well on the hard pack. If you have experience and are comfortable in that 76mm-78mm underfoot range the Backland UL 78 would probably be a great option. If you are just thinking you need a ski with a bit more versatility for a mixed bag of snow and for better float but for not that much more weight the Backland UL 85 would be the way to go.

While both of the Backland UL skis mentioned above are excellent skis, if you are just wanting to look at ski that would perform better in variable snow a few other options come to mind. The  Ski Trab Maestro 2 is an absolute winner is when it comes to skiing steep terrain, and has properties in the core and layup that make the ski feel much "damper" for what it is. If you were looking for that same performance as mentioned above but in a wider width the  Ski Trab Magico 2 would also be an excellent option. Let us know if you have anymore questions!
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Question from Torstein Svendsgaard
I'm considering these skis in 177. What would be the optimal boot from Atomic to pair with this ski? Considering the Backland Carbon vs Ultimate. I'm 6'2" and intermediate/advanced skiier.
Answer from jbo
Hi Torstein, I feel the Backland Carbon would be a better match for your size and that length of ski.
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Kristian Woyna (used product regularly)
Excellent, comfortable, and fun for fast light Spring tours covering longer distances. Paired with Atomic Backland Ultimates. And surprisingly good control on the down.
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Model: Backland UL 78 MPN: AA0028170

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