Apex Ski Boots is an independent, but definitely not a garage operation. They likely don't spend too much on their molds. It looks like a snowboard boot inside an open "chassis." I think that is cool, but I also have no idea about the performance.
Daleboot has indeed been around since the 70's and I have a pair. The original thinking was out of the box the way independents unusually do think. I still can't figure out why other manufacturers cannot or do not cant the boot soles the way Daleboot does (canted soles pop on and off with the help of a screwdriver), or have the forward pressure adjusted with a cable. Releasing the cable in powder or for walking makes the boot versatile. Perhaps the patent for this stuff is still good. I dunno. Anyhow, I like the idea of component boots but the lack of getting patent-free component parts may be why independent bootmakers don't exist..