October 29, 2013
We all get to decide what “skiing” means on our own individual level. With all the gear manufacturers crafting backcountry tools we don’t have to be defined or limited by the gear, but only by imagination and fitness. My definition has changed dramatically in the past 2 years. I’m no longer using telemark equipment, but clicking into a wide variety of AT gear. And loving it! Not only do I enjoy the weight savings and lack of face plants, but I actually like turning ’em which has surprised me. Snow conditions and terrain vary dramatically and I like to be able to get out and enjoy it all. I want to have the right tool for the right job whether it’s crushing the lungs rando racing, or skiing steep chutes, or even “freeride” (whatever the hell that is) and everywhere in between. A box of Scarpa boots just arrived and by adding the Freedom to the line-up this year, I feel the quiver is complete. From light to might, a boot for every mountain in any given condition.
I’m going to briefly go over my boots of choice for the season. I won’t go into detailed specs, but click on the hyper-links for weight and more info.
The Alien 1.0 is one of the lightest boots produced and it skis incredibly well for what it is when paired with the right skis. I used these a fair amount last year and was very impressed with how they held up. Make fun of guys running around in tights all you will, but this is where the future boot technology will come from. I’m excited to see carbon fiber and ultralight design work their way up the chain and into some of the beefier boots.
-This will primarily be a training boot to run uphill for cardio and endurance conditioning
-Rando races aren’t my #1 priority, but depending on snow conditions and travel plans I’ll do a few this season
-These are lighter than some of my hiking shoes so I may use them to shovel the driveway and walk around town
-There are several really long traverses I’d like to attempt this season, this will be the boot of choice for huge days.
With the Alien weighing in at 1lb 8oz and the Rush coming in at 3lb 2oz it seems like there is room here for a boot to appear in between these two?
The Rush is the boot I’ve used the least, but still fills an important role. It’s a slightly lighter version of the Maestrale with slightly less performance.
-Really deep days
-Longer link-ups in technical terrain
The Maestrale RS was my work horse last season. The took a real beating. This boot is the quiver of one in my opinion, if I believed in a quiver of one. It’s light enough and tours so well that you can put in big days on them. Then once you lock in you can drive bigger skis at higher speeds. They did pack out and the plastic broke down a bit towards the end of the season to the point of not skiing as well. I replaced the liners and they were back to high performance.
-Everyday go-to boot for the backcountry
I’ve put these boots on everyday since I received them and walked around the house dreaming of winter and it’s Freedom. That’s not much of a test, but I’m really excited about this addition on the hefty end of Scarpa’s boot line. I’m getting them baked today and I’ll get some days in on them and do a proper review, but they appear to be quite an impressive combination of tour-ability and stiffness.
-Special days in the backcountry
Thanks for the early Christmas gifts Scarpa!