The parents of Icelantic founder, Ben Anderson, say the electricity went off nearly every time Anderson used his first ski press, located in their garage. It took several years of producing prototypes out his parent’s house in Evergreen, Colo., and testing then on the slopes of Loveland until he had a viable product, where “surface area was key” instead of length, which was the trend at the time. The company now is headquartered in Denver and all skis are produced in the U.S.

The backcountry-specific Vanguard sheds weight for touring ease with Icelantic’s balsa Ochroma Core and Bombproof construction, which includes a carbonium topsheet and fiberglass. Specs include a 107-mm waist, early rise tip and flat tail. Look for the beast—another unique Icelantic design—on the topsheet.