Originally Posted by mooseknuckle
This is a cross post of my question from the Ski Gear forum.
How much would I benefit from getting AT boots vs using my standard alpine boots with an AT binding/skin setup. Am thinking of mounting Freerides to 188 Bro softs/skins for extending the available terrain at resorts to begin with - perhaps more backcountry down the line. Most skiing would be close to the resort and would likely be more lateral movement than vertical.
If all that is the case and your alpine boots are moderately comfortable for you to walk in, I'd stick with your alpine boots for now.
The primary advantage of AT boots is comfort and lighter weight while walking. Most of them are softer than most alpine boots (although the line is definitely blurring), most AT boots have some kind of uocking/unlocking hinge to make climbing and skinning easier, and most AT boots are lighter than most alpine boots (although that also is blurring).
All of that means that you'd most likely be more comfortable in AT boots if you do a lot of walking, booting, or skinning.
The downside, however, is control. Because most AT boots are softer than alpine boots, you won't have quite the control and power that you do with alpine boots. That's no big issue if you're doing pure backcountry where the snow's untracked and excellent. If you're doing primarily sidecountry (lift-accessed but outside the boundaries), you'll probably run into more variable tracked-out and crud conditions. In those situations, an alpine boot is more powerful and offers better control.
Based on your criteria, I'd stick with alpine for now and get AT boots when you decide that lift-served skiing is only a small part of the overall picture.
Good luck and have fun.