or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Backcountry, Telemark, and Cross Country › AT boots and bindings for advanced female skier
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

AT boots and bindings for advanced female skier

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi, everyone, 

 

I'm posting here to get some advice for backcountry gear. This season was my first season venturing into the backcountry - did some short tours in simple and slightly challenging terrain. I used rental gear this year and was thinking of trying to pick some up with the current sales. I'm open to tech binding compatible boots, but I'm looking for a good fit. I know that most of you will say - go see a bootfitter. But perhaps all of you with so much knowledge might give me a place to start... I especially need a boot than can fit larger calves

 

size 11 street shoes

5'7"

215 lbs

advanced skier

I have a high instep, fairly narrow foot, and monster calves that sit low

if it helps, I wear an Atomic Hawx 90 for downhill with calf customization and its awesome, i wear a 26.5 boot

I ski in the Canadian Rockies

tours I've done include Rawson Lake, Chickadee valley, Lake O'Hara

 

 

Where do I start? What do I look for in backcountry boots? Am I looking for the same thing as in downhill boots? 

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 12
This is really an ask the boot fitter topic
You will probably need the same customization done to your at boots that you had done to your down hill setup

@mntlion may be able to help or guide you to a fitter and get you setup
post #3 of 12

you look for the same things in a AT boot as a DH boot.

 

go see Lou in calgary

 

I'm in banff, and will back at work in Nov (boot fitting closed for the summer)

post #4 of 12

I am going to suggest a boot and binding which I just purchased.  I understand we all like to think we made the "best" purchase and that influences our thinking.  However, I think they could work for you.  I am of the mind to buy the best boot possible for your foot fit and then find the boot fitter.  In other words do not be limited to the boots the fitter deals.

 

The Dynafit Khion is a 4 buckle boot which has easily moved upper buckles.  This could accommodate your lower leg.  I also have a high instep, an average forefoot and a narrow heel.  The boot is easy to put on once you become used to putting on the liner first and holding open the boot  as your foot enters it.  It is a pain to get off and something to consider.  I have read they are changing the liner for next year and you may be able to find a good deal like I did.

 

Tech bindings really are the way to go and after riding dynafits for 8 years I will be swiching to the Fritschi Vipec black for this coming year.  The black edition solves some of their growing pains (hopefully) is relatively light and comes closer to an alpine design in a tech binding.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks @near nyquist @mntlion for the suggestions! Maybe I should wait then for the fall when there will be a bigger selection in stock... 

 

@Maineac I will check out those dynafits!

post #6 of 12


I'm just a little bigger than you, 5'8", 230 lbs, large calves, MP29 boot.  I think one should look at markedly different things for a bc boot vs DH boot. If you are truly going bc and not sidecountry, light weight, large cuff rotation, and tech fittings are the best.  Given a narrow foot, you might look for out-of-production TLT5, the Mountain version if you just want to tour around, the Performance version if you want to do fast, steep, deep, and or hucking.  These are 2-buckle boots.  The TLT 6 has a little wider last.  The Scarpa Masestraele and SM RS are also good and fairly narrow.  My stepson prefers the La Sportiva Spectre over the Dynafits for fits (i'm not sure why).  I switched from 4 buckle Dynafit Zzero PU (a really nice, not too heavy boot, you still might be able to find somewhere), to 3-buckle Zzero Pbax, to the 2 buckle TLT5 (a little narrow for me) and then TLT6, nice fit for me, plenty of calf room but the mountain version is softer than the TLT5 mountain and I would go with the Performance.  These are light weight boots, with removable tongues (the 6 has soft and stiff tongues).  If you are really touring, not having to deal with extra buckles or power strap (I carry a Booster Strap in the pack), having a 40+ degree cuff rotation, and no forward resistance from an tongue make for more efficient longer strides, lower weight, and faster climbing speeds.  If you think you must have more buckles, the Scarpa Masestraele and M RS are fairly narrow lasted.  The Dynafit Mercury is stiff and  I find a little loose in the toe and a little cramped over the instep with the very stiff tongue in, I think I could have gone a size smaller; the Vulcan is perhaps the stiffest out there.  I bought the Mercury to use with my stiff, long radius 98 mm (184 cm Volkl Nanuk), 106 mm (182 cm Dynafit Stoke) and 112 mm (178 cm Voile V8) waisted skis.  I use the burly "alpine overlap" Dynafit Zzeus lift served with everything from 184 cm  Kastle LX 92s to 188 cm Rossi S7s and 191 cm Moment Bibby Pros.  Personally I wouldn't use the boot for the bc given its weight, 4 buckles, lack of cuff rotation, and inflexible liner.  My TLT6s work fine with my  182 Dynafit Cho Oyus (89 waist), 180 Voile Vectors (98 waist), and 177 Movement Shifts (135 mm shovel, 98 waist).

 

So if you are going with a light-weight pliant ski (the latter ones listed above) a 2-buckle boot is fine; if you are going to use a heavier, stiffer, more demanding ski then by all means consider a 3- to 4-buckle boot.  I have friends that really rip, really ski the steeps, and ski off summits and use 2 buckle boots.

 

I have Plum Yaks on my Voile V8s and used them lift-served and bc with truly deep snow.  I have had, and I detest frame binding for AT.  I use Plum Guides with the stomp plate on my Shifts and like them a  lot.  I have used a variety of Dynafit bindings, liking the Verticals the best (out of production), and sitll have 2 pair of Dynafit  Speeds I am in the process of designing stomp plates for--stomp plates help keep ice from building up under the heel while touring.  If I were to buy a new pair of Dynafit bindins I'd buy the Speed Superlite and fit it with an adjustable B&D plate.


Edited by Andy Carey - 4/27/16 at 8:54am
post #7 of 12

I have the tlt5 and I would caution buying a similar two buckle boot for a person new to touring.  Here is the reason:  It is not a good choice for in bounds due to its lack of progressive flex and lower fit.  In bounds there is much more shock due to more bumps and much greater vertical over the day.  A two buckle boot like the one suggested is not going to be fun.  So most have an in-bounds and a out of bounds boot.  Switching between the two styles of boots is challenging and not something I would encourage adding in.  Yes there are definite benefits on the up, but those are better realized as physical fitness improves to take advantage of them.  A relatively light boot like the Khion (I would also suggest trying on a Scarpa Maestral RS) will have plenty of walk mode travel and be light enough for years of use when paired with a "modern" tech binding.  Just my 2 cents and since this is not printed on paper I may be overvaluing my advice.

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineac View Post
 

I have the tlt5 and I would caution buying a similar two buckle boot ...  It is not a good choice for in bounds due to its lack of progressive flex and lower fit.  In bounds there is much more shock due to more bumps and much greater vertical over the day. ... is not going to be fun.  So most have an in-bounds and a out of bounds boot.  Switching between the two styles of boots is challenging and not something I would encourage adding in.  Yes there are definite benefits on the up, but those are better realized as physical fitness improves to take advantage of them.  A relatively light boot like the Khion (I would also suggest trying on a Scarpa Maestral RS) will have plenty of walk mode travel and be light enough for years of use when paired with a "modern" tech binding.  Just my 2 cents and since this is not printed on paper I may be overvaluing my advice.

I definitely agree the 2 buckle boots lack a lot for lift-served skiing--that is why I use the Zzeus for inbounds--if I had access to a good bootfitter with a good selection of boots I'd probably use something else.  My Mercuries also lack progressive flex compared to my Zzeus and use a thinner liner and thus I feel the shocks on hardpack more, especially with a 112-mm waist ski.  However, I have not found switching between boots to be very challenging.  Of course I spent spent 20+ years telemarking with leather, then plastic boots and I still 3 pin with leather-like boots on 70 mm waist skis in the bc an XC. I actually see bc skiing and lift-served/alpine skiing as 2 separate sports--different boots, different bindings, different skis.  MY inbounds skiing style is much different than MY bc skiing style--I suspect that is true of at least some other people.  And the flip side of "more bumps and much greater vertical [on the way down]" is that in true bc climbing is 80% of the effort.  But plenty of people use 4 buckle boots.

 

I would say the choice would depend on the degree of commitment to bc, the strength and enery of the skier (I have seen 30-somethings bombing up hill with 7+-lb boots, 6-lb bindings, and 10-lb skis, 25+ lbs/foot, lifting the entire system off the snow with every step LOL) and the amount of vert they are wanting, able, willing to climb.  Personal choice rules.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

@Andy Carey @Maineac Thanks so much for the detail - this is really helpful. To clarify, I would not be using the bc set-up inbounds ever. I have an inbounds/resort/lift-served set-up that I really love and that's what I would be using when skiing at the resort, with kids etc. This would be another set-up entirely and really focused on touring where, so far, the majority of time is spent on climbing and some mellow nice descents, on snow of all sorts. My eventual goal is to work up to some longer classic hut-to-hut tours. I don't plan on having a ski that's wider than 105-ish, maybe something like the Salomon Stella (I think that's the women's version of the Q-105), or Nordica Santa Ana, or Atomic Century/Automatic etc, in a 170ish length. The snow in the Canadian Rockies can be quite variable, its definitely not soft and deep all the time, can be a lot of crust and ice. So comfort is important, and reasonable downhill performance. I will be looking at 2-buckle boots as well - I think my priority is to find a good boot fit and go from there. This is a great start, and it does sound like a tech binding compatible boot might be the way to go. 

 

Just out of curiosity - why do people have trouble switching between different boots? It seems to me that they have two very different purposes, and I haven't necessarily noticed that there would be some trouble between the two...

post #10 of 12

I think the difficulty is that on the down we want to ski how we have learned to ski.  95% of our time and 97% of the effort is in the climb up and you are in these spectacular places and you want to ski down in the freest form and the switching from how one boot feels to a very different boot can be awkward.  You can adapt your style, but there is so much more involved in BC skiing (clothing, food, hydration, route planning, avi knowledge, skin care, winter survival, etc.) that keeping the part you are going out there for-the skiing-simple (read familiar) makes sense.   At least that is how I look at it.  

 

I am a boot switcher-never been attracted to the boots with the switchable soles.  Give me a boot designed to do its purpose.  That said we are getting close to where the tech touring binding and the touring boot are approaching the alpine binding and alpine boot in performance and durability.  

post #11 of 12

If you have a good local bc ski shop, be sure to check in with them about ski and boot choice for the use you will have for them; I think there is a MEC in Calgary but I don't know the staff.  Two good sites for bc touring in the western US are Cripple Creek Backcountry (CO) and Skimo (CA); I've consulted and bought from both but have no other association.  Also check out the Wildsnow.com quiver reviews (and boot reviews)--the most complete site for AT.

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks @Maineac ! and @Andy Carey - the MEC in Calgary is not great for bc stuff, and the staff is really really hit and miss for knowledge. There's a good bc store in Canmore which I will probably check out, and Lou's in Calgary and Soul in Banff too. Thanks for the wildsnow reference - I haven't heard of this website before. Looking forward to checking it out.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Backcountry, Telemark, and Cross Country › AT boots and bindings for advanced female skier