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What boot for hiking and occasional uphill work on Duke bindings?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hey guys.  Last season I got some Volkl Gotamas with some Marker Duke bindings and black diamond skins.  I got them late season and only used them once for skinning.  My boots are some Lange Freeride 120's and are a very tight fit.  They gave me blisters in no time when I tried to skin up the mountain.  Also, I spend a lot of time hiking to higher terrain in my ski boots at Taos, and my Langes aren't the best for that either (although I love the control this tight fit gives)

 

The past couple of years has seen quite a few boots that are basically downhill boots with a hike/AT mode.  Are any of these head-and-shoulders above the rest, or are any of them to be avoided?  The Salomon Quest line sounds good and fit me well, but I'm skeptical of only 3 buckles.  What do you guys recommend?

post #2 of 17

Ultimately it depends a lot of what you're doing, whether you'll have other boots, and what fits your foot.

 

Last year I did some 3k+ vertical days in Barons + older Lange Banshees (no walk mode; not super stiff, but narrow last w/ punched 5th met head) and relatively heavy 115mm underfoot skis. My setup was heavy, which was the main issue. But with the top two buckles released, and an otherwise good fit, the only place I got a blister on the first day was on the inside of my right heel. On subsequent trips I put a strip of tape there.... problem solved. 

 

For short distances, I don't have any problem in a nice fitting alpine boot when it comes to foot comfort (though getting such a good fit is what takes work). But the main reasons I'm getting a pair of AT boots are: weight, stride. The former makes a big difference since I'll save 500-800 grams PER foot. That's crazy when multiplied over 3K feet vert. Stride improvements will be welcomed, but to be honest, there's only so much improvement you can get if your'e on a non-tech binding and a ski intended for going down as opposed to up (twinned pow ski; kick turns are not fun with this setup!). 

 

As for boots, fit is probably the most important factor. The Quest series had some big issues in past seasons, but it's apparently being/is fixed (see: TGR). The Cochise line gets tons of good reviews (and it's what I've got; haven't taken them out yet) for being relatively stiff, having a great stride for the category, and being relatively light for the category (notably if you swap the liner for an Intuition)-- and can swap tech/din soles should you ever go in that direction.

 

That said, you'll get tech people who tell you that the Cochise is crap for skinning or hiking compared to a TLT5... but far better going down or in resort use. 

 

Personally, I'd probably not go out of my way to get a DIN-sole, AT boot for short hikes/skins less than 1000 ft in vert for side-country stuff or skinning out at the bottom. I don't really even care that much until around the 800-1000 meter vert mark... which is the point at which the weight and stride really starts to burn for me on a non-touring-weight ski. Dukes/barons aren't light, so they're really not intended for long tours anyway. 

post #3 of 17

I have been skiing in Garmont Endorphin boots for the past three years.  Garmont has gone out of the ski boot business and sold its molds to Scott.  Some can be found as close-out deals.

 

I have been extremely happy with those boots as my every-day ski boots.  I came from Rossignol Course KX racing boots, and I find the Garmont boots to be just as good as the Rossignol were, precision and control wise.

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'm looking primarily for a sidecountry boot.  I'll skin or hike to higher terrain...mostly hike.  There's also a tiny ski area a half hour away, and a group of friends skin to the top on some weeknights (1600'), and also for some pre and post season skiing.  I intend to do little to no actual touring...too much avalanche risk.  So, performance going downhill is most important, which also explains my choice in skis.  That said, lighter weight does matter.  BTW- I misspoke in the title; I have the lighter Baron, not the Duke. 

 

The K2 Pinnacle 130 looks like a pretty well thought out design, if a bit heavy.  Tempting.  It could be interesting to see what there is to offer in the AT world, too, such as Scarpa.  Do any other those hold a candle to more downhill oriented boots?  I couldn't find Endorphins in my size.

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacobillie View Post
 

I have been skiing in Garmont Endorphin boots for the past three years.  Garmont has gone out of the ski boot business and sold its molds to Scott.  Some can be found as close-out deals.

 

Not quite (IIRC), Scott has brought Garmont and Garmont boots are still made, just with Scott branding.  Was something at Wildsnow on thei a while ago.

 

Back to OP.  I used Garmont Adrenaline boots for a few years for mixed alpine and AT duty. Replaced the Adrenaline boost two years ago with Technica Cochise so I could use the tech (Dynafit) swap blocks. Again, not a bad boot, fair as an alpine boot (not as good as my Lange Comps) but not as good as a dedicated AT boot.  I will be getting a dedicated lightweight AT boot.

post #6 of 17

I ski most days in the Dynafit ZZeus.  Middleweight among touring boots, but it's significantly lighter than my Tecnica racing plugs and I don't find that I give up that much performance.  I also like that they come standard with both alpine and tech sole lugs so I can upgrade from Marker Tour bindings to Dynafits if I ever hit the lottery.

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjohansson View Post
 

I ski most days in the Dynafit ZZeus.  Middleweight among touring boots, but it's significantly lighter than my Tecnica racing plugs and I don't find that I give up that much performance.  I also like that they come standard with both alpine and tech sole lugs so I can upgrade from Marker Tour bindings to Dynafits if I ever hit the lottery.

I have the Zzeus and use it as my only lift-served boot; it has what Dynafit calls an "alpine overlap" upper and it is PU (with a good flex); I use it with a booster strap and don't feel any need for a burlier boot even with my S7s (or LX92s or 191 Mantras).  I put some Barons on my Mantras this summer for side country, but have done any skiing/climbing yet with the Barons/Zzeus combo;  Zzeus are real bargains right now with the new editions from dynafit.

post #8 of 17

It still comes down to what fits.   From what I've seen on the patrol at Highlands or guides at Silverton, most still use alpine boots w/walk mode, but more are moving to AT boots all the time.

I've still never seen one that uses tech bindings full time. 

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

I see some ZZeus for a good price online; I just need to see how Dynafits fit.  It may be the way for me to go.  How do they compare to a 120 stiffness Lange for downhill performance?  Are the upper and lower rivited together.

post #10 of 17

I have the Technica Cochise and really like them.  I am coming from skiing heavy Lange race boots and find the Cochise to be both comfortable and able to drive my skis just fine.  They are supposedly very popular with patrollers who spend all day, every day in their boots and do a lot of walking around the mountain. much lighter than my old Langes but not a lightweight...definitely more of a side country than backcountry boot. My first season in them was last winter and I put in 33 days with a bunch of side and slack country but not a lot of vertical skinning.  Of course it all depends on what fits your feet.

post #11 of 17

Go to the Boot Doctor and try on every pair of AT or walk mode boots they have and ask them.  I wouldn't try to buy online, recipe for disaster.

post #12 of 17

Another option to consider would be the Scarpa Maestrale RS.  I tried on countless boots last year at this time (goal was a cross-over boot that would function as an AT boot for the 10% of the time I pursue that, but not lose too much performance for the lift-served resort skiing that I do the remaining 90% of the time -- expected to get something like the Tecnica Cochise) and ended buying the Scarpas because of the exceptional fit out of the box.  They are lighter and more AT oriented than I was shopping for, but have greatly exceeded my performance expectations for in-bounds skiing.  I like them enough that I'm changing bindings on my dedicated front-side skis to accommodate the Scarpas, and am ditching my downhill boots altogether.

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by carve View Post
 

I'm looking primarily for a sidecountry boot.  I'll skin or hike to higher terrain...mostly hike.  There's also a tiny ski area a half hour away, and a group of friends skin to the top on some weeknights (1600'), and also for some pre and post season skiing.  I intend to do little to no actual touring...too much avalanche risk.  So, performance going downhill is most important, which also explains my choice in skis.  That said, lighter weight does matter.  BTW- I misspoke in the title; I have the lighter Baron, not the Duke. 

 

The K2 Pinnacle 130 looks like a pretty well thought out design, if a bit heavy.  Tempting.  It could be interesting to see what there is to offer in the AT world, too, such as Scarpa.  Do any other those hold a candle to more downhill oriented boots?  I couldn't find Endorphins in my size.

 

 

Yes. The Dynafit Vulcan. Get ready to max the card.

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

Go to the Boot Doctor and try on every pair of AT or walk mode boots they have and ask them.  I wouldn't try to buy online, recipe for disaster.

 

times eleventy billion.  Fit in an AT boot is very critical. Nothing will spoil your day more than blisters from a bit of booting or skinning.

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by carve View Post
 

I see some ZZeus for a good price online; I just need to see how Dynafits fit.  It may be the way for me to go.  How do they compare to a 120 stiffness Lange for downhill performance?  Are the upper and lower rivited together.

I'll answer the question but add that YMMV.

 

I wear 27.0 mondo in plug boots (Salomon or Tecnica).  I ordered the 27.5 Zzeus.  The shell fit was perfect.  The liner fit like a 25.  I couldn't keep them on my feet even outside of the shell.  The liners are average at best anyway so I went the Intuition route.  I'm very happy now.  I've seen other reviews where owners complain that you have to "size up".  I don't agree.  I tried a pair of 28's and they were huge.

 

No they are not riveted...how could you have a walk mode if they were riveted?

 

They are nowhere near as stiff as my Tecnica X17 plugs.  But as far as AT boots go they are on the upper end of stiff.  Can't compare to Lange since I haven't skied in Langes in decades.

post #16 of 17

My Zzeus are MP 29; they fit exactly like MP 29s I have in other ski boots and hiking boots and shoes.  Dynafits have a reputation for being narrow, but I generally run a D width and they fit me fine.  The liner is moldable in the foot area to achieve a good fit; I molded mine with my custom insoles.  My Zzeus have cuff rivets than allow the upper to move relatively freely when unlocked and the rivets have an adjustment for can't.  IIRC, the Zzeus was advertised as a 120 flex boot but since there is no standardization for flex that is meaningless.

post #17 of 17

I think the question was if the cuffs were riveted to the lower to keep them stiff (rivets at the back of the boot) like racing plugs.  If I misinterpreted the question, then disregard my previous post.

 

I ski the Zzeus on most days unless it's bulletproof when I'll go back to my racing boots.

 

I don't think they're too narrow, but I don't have a wide foot. I was really surprised at how small (short) the 27.5 liner was and how much larger the 28 liner was.  It's not a subtle difference.  With a properly sized liner, the 27/27.5 shell was perfect and in line with other boots I have.

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