Shell Size Tested: 25.5
Flex rating: 130
Ski tested with: ON3P Jeffrey, Volkl Kendo
*Location of review: Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, The Canyons, Deer Valley
*Runs Taken: 120 - 150
*Snow Conditions: Powder, crud, hard pack, soft groomers
*Demo or Own: Own
Height/Weight: 5' 11" / 170 pounds
Average days on snow: 25+
Years Skiing: 6-15
Aggressiveness: Moderately aggressive
Preferred Terrain: off piste
As someone who frequently hikes to lines or stashes when resort skiing and also tours occasionally, I was a huge fan of the original Cochise Pro 130 as it enabled me to use one ski boot for all of my skiing without feeling like I was compromising performance on the downhill. With the 2014/15 version, Tecnica/Blizzard has taken a great boot and found a way to make significant improvements.
While there were quite a few small tweaks (detailed here: http://tecnicablizzardexperience.com/cochise2014/ ) I'm going to focus on the changes that to me were most apparent.
First is the fit. The original Cochise Pro 130 wasn't a bad fit, in fact, for someone like myself with a very high instep it provided an ideal amount of room with a high lower shell. When I saw that this new version was a bit tighter in that region I was a bit concerned, and the buckle over my instep could barely close without too much pressure. This turned out to be beneficial, as with the lower shell having a tighter natural fit to my foot I barely felt the need to buckle the bottom two buckles and could still maintain a high level of performance. The asymmetrical toe box provides more room in the sixth toe area, which was great news since I actually had to have the previous ones punched to avoid overly-squished toes, and even then would experience occasional discomfort on colder days. The ankle and heel hold is a bit more snug without being uncomfortable and overall these boots seem to fit my feet quite naturally - even when first breaking them in my feet weren't being punished.
The other improvement that was more noticeable than I would have anticipated is the increased range of motion when in walk mode. Tecnica/Blizzard says the range has increased by 8% but it almost feels like more than that. I have yet to go skinning in these boots but I hiked quite a bit at Alta and The Canyons and my legs and feet were more comfortable when trudging up the boot pack because I could stand in a more upright, comfortable position and relieve that forward pressure on my calves and shins that makes hiking in regular ski boots so horrible in comparison. The old model wasn't bad in this regard, but these felt just a little more natural.
Everything I loved about the original Cochise Pro 130's remains unchanged. The easy to switch walk mode pull tab, the convenient top power strap buckle, the option to swap out DIN soles for tech if needed, and of course the feeling of a 130 flex boot that you can also tour and hike comfortably in. As far as durability goes, only time will tell, but these seem like they're going to hold up a little better over time. Especially the liner, which was more difficult to slide back in the shell on the old version and had a soft rubbery bottom that started to get chewed up quite a bit after only several removals and insertions. The 14/15 model has a tougher material and the back spine of the boot doesn't snag it when sliding them back into place.