As is so often the case in the skimo world, we get really excited about the little things. So when we heard that the redesigned Atomic Backland UL 85 was 10% lighter and made in hard-to-find lengths, we got pretty excited. Integrating several of their proprietary technologies, the witches and warlocks at Atomic were able to shave grams from an already light model. This while maintaining the intuitive, stable feel that the Backland series is known for. In its second generation, this version of the Backland UL 85 has the Atomic HRZN spoon shaped tip that was first introduced on the Bent Chetler and has now spread to the farthest corners of the Atomic freeride line. This improves steering and float simultaneously. The tips of course still have a race-notch to streamline skin attachment, which is a huge plus for efficient transitions. Carbon fiber sheets sit above and below the Ultra Light Woodcore, making a sandwich that offers a snappy ride without compromising on stability. We used the word 'workhorse' to describe the previous model of this ski, and it still applies. Now, the Backland UL 85 is just a slightly leaner workhorse that skis even better.
- Atomic's Cap Sidewall transfers power through the core to the edge, all while keeping things light for long approaches and big days.
- The Carbon Powered laminates and Ultra Light Woodcore combine to give an incredibly powerful downhill ride, especially for a ski this light.
- True to typical Backland UL form, this updated 85 is stable and predictable, providing a reliable ride across the board.
- The 15% rocker, 117mm-wide tip [172cm] provide a stable, steady ride even in heavy, choppy, or just plain bad snow.
- The Tech Tips make for seamless skin attachment, perfect for tight transitions and windy peaks.
- HRZN spoon shaped tip slices right through snow and won’t hook up on crust.
Update 2019/20: Atomic has updated the topsheet for a sleek new look.
|Lengths (cm)||158, 165, 172, 179|
|Weight (pair)||1850g 
|Turn Radius||15m 
|Skin Fix||Tip notch, flat notched tail|
|Profile||15% rocker, 85% camber|
|Shape||Directional Shape with HRZN Tech Tips|
|Core||Ultra Light Woodcore|
|Skimo Co Says|
|Usage||Backcountry touring, ski mountaineering|
|Notes||Stable and reliable; comes in hard-to-find lengths|
|Bottom Line||A versatile, compliant, reference point for classic ski touring.|
|Compare to other Low-fat Skis|
Questions & Reviews
I'm looking for an all-arounder ski... I've got some fatter powder planks and a race setup, but nothing in the middle.
This ski seems like it'd fit the bill: mid-fat, tight turning radius, pretty damn light... I'd probably use it as my daily driver, but would also want to use it for ski mountaineering / tight couloirs. I'm 5'6", 130 lbs, and tend to like shorter skis so was thinking of going for the 158s. Also I'm a crap skier.
What do you guys think, is this ski (with some light boots and mounted with a set of race bindings) a decent way to go?
Also, I noticed using the 'compare' tool that you guys don't list 'ski mountaineering' as one of the uses, and was just wondering why not? Is there a reason you wouldn't recommend it for ski mountaineering objectives?
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