Short hikes backcountry: DaKine. I love my 1999 Poacher, 2300 cu. in., I think. The diagonal carry system works great when you run out of snow at the bottom and must hike out down hill. My calves appreciate not having the tails of the skis driving into them every other step down hill. Also, if you have to get on a snowmobile, an A-Frame set up gets caught up on the seat – no fun! I think the Sports Castle may still have some of last years model on sale.
Lift access. 1997 VauDe Asymmeteric 40 is what I use; I think it’s about 2400 cu. in. It’s top loading, with two separate interior upper and lower compartments. They’ve changed the design a bit over the years, but what I do is just load the top half, compress everything, and leave the bottom empty for sitting in the chair. Skis are carried in an a-frame setup, there’s an exterior shovel pocket with parallel daisy chains, which work great for backcountry.
For overnighters, I use an old Mountainsmith Frostfire 53. The VauDe latches perfectly to it for the accent. Typically, I swap out my packs depending on the trip.
Most important, get a pack that fits YOU well, more than anything else. Good Luck.