I’m not sure this boot can really be called a touring boot. It can tour, but weighing 5.4lbs. per boot (size 28.5) is not going to do much for helping you spin backcountry laps. I did test these boots in the Eastern Sierra on a moderate day where 7,000 vertical feet was gained. By the end of the day I was happy to have tried them as a touring boot. Every turn on the descent was better than in any other AT boot I’ve ever skied. But they’re just too heavy for what I would consider a true backcountry boot.
The boots boast alpine features with a walk-mode. This might be the first AT boot with a 130 flex rating that feels accurate. Usually, AT boots with such ratings feel more like 125 or even as low as 110-especially if you’re used to or still have a pair of alpine boots in your quiver. The tall cuff increases the rigidity of the boot and like most boots in this sort of sidecountry/slackcountry category they have an interchangeable sole. They also have an overlap design that further enhances the stiffness of the boot.
The liners are as comfy as they get. I’m personally a huge fan of Intuition liners, but these bad boys are like driving a luxury car around. Whether you’re into that sort of thing or not, sliding these liners on is an act in pure comfort. The loops at the front and rear make managing the on/off process of the boot easy. The plastic lining on the tongue fosters a stiffer feel to the liner, which translates into the boot, and while the liners are heat moldable you can also just put them on and they’ll naturally mold to your feet.
Other boot highlights include an easy buckle and walk-mode system, strong outer molded plastic, and a nice wide toe box for added comfort and warmth. All that said, and as you can see in the below photo, these boots are tech binding compatible. I found them to fit my tech bindings just as well as my other Garmont boots (Cosmos and Radium), which is a huge bonus if you do want to try and ski these with a tech setup.
Overall, this boot is all about the down. The cuff rotation is minimal and they’re heavy. But they do have their place. For a majority of what I ski they’re not practical based on their weight. But they are my resort boot of choice, and for minimal ascents they’re as good as you can get. They truly drive both of my primary ski setups in a way I realize now I miss with my other more touring-friendly boots. In Niseko, Japan, where you can ski the resort and adjacent slackcountry all day with lift assistance, these would be perfect. For most backcountry skiers they’re just too much, but in terms of if they’re right for you, are you skiing the resort and slackcountry a lot? Then these are for you. If you’re like me and tour 9 out of every 10 days you ski then maybe not, although they ski so good, I’m now finding myself thinking of excuses for when it’s ok to “weight train” in the backcountry. In that light I’d be bummed to not have them in my quiver, and look forward to wearing them when my ski day is compatible with what they have to offer.Google+