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Location: Rabitt Hill
Snow condition: Hardpacked Groomed with icy spots
Skis used: Atomic SX10 165 cm
Temperature: -12 C - 16 C
Skier: 5' 10", 150 LBS, 0-10 scale a 8
Boot size: 292 or size 6 or 24/24.5
top buckles: factory upper buckle holes drilled out and catch buckles moved to smallest position
Footbed: Superfeet

I previously was using Lange Pininifarina 130's (Pinns) from 04/05 and really liked the fit and performance of these.

But those new Freerides in wicked Orange to match my 8800's were meant to be . I downsized considerably for a tighter fit. 304 mm to a 292mm

Initial impressions are from 4 hours wearing at home and 8 more hours on the local hill.

Didn't heat mold them yet as I wanted to put some time in first incase some shell mods were needed.

buckles were easy to move back for my tiny calves, a drill / bits and supplied allen key was all that was needed. Bottom buckles offer alot of adjustment so no mods needed there.

The Freeride 120's have a velcro closure setup on the liner that although is a bit of a pain I think it's worth it to snug up the liner and it will prove very usefull when bootpacking and lodge slumming. After putting them on and off a few times I have it figured out and it's no big deal.

When first putting them on I found a slight pinch from the overlap shell but far less worse than many other boots out there. Taking off I found care must be taken to not ratch the tounge up on the shell overlap. Once you foot is out you need to pay attention to getting the tounge back into position. Again another thing that once you know it you work around it and it's no big deal and this is a problem with many many boots.

Shell is very pliable and will likely be okay to put on and off when cold.

At first Holy moly what have I done ! they were snug, snug, snug in fact hard to keep on sitting at home.

Firstly I noticed that the heel cup is much smaller and the achilles tendon area is also smaller. For me this is perfect, heel retention has always been a problem.

Toe box is noticibally wider but not overly so.

My toes touch the end stongly when sitting but pull back to releive the pressure when standing.

The Canting adjustment was a good feature and made the upper boot and the heel - achilles area fit that much better. Put boots on snug, loosen canting allen screws, flex aggresivly a few times and snug up allen screw.

First 4 hour stint out they were much easier on the feet and felt pretty good. I did install the Superfeet before this first ski outing. I left the factory supplied spoiler peice in to see if I liked the position.

Once at the top of the hill I found the buckles to do up easier than the Pinns, and were good and snug, the bungie like strap is great, provides a nice snug feeling but flexes and gives when you want it.

First run down I felt like I had owned these for ages already. First run I just skied my butt off no worries.

I found that the new found flex (I can't flex my Pinns) is a treat. I can actually playwith and pressure a ski's edge throughout the turn now. I found it actually easier to be forward in these boots as my shins don't get punished by pressuring the tounge.

Side to side for carving I can't say as these are any less of a boot than the Pinns. (Monday night gate bashing will tell the tale) I seem to think that perhaps I can get better edge angles with less effort in the Freerides.

fore and aft they offer a nice amount of flex. My foot is held far better in place and new tighter heel area is a blessing. I no longer have to build up under my insole to take up the gap. My feet are flatter now and my ski position feels more balanced and natural. I think the flex lets me have more room to balance, whereas in my Pinns my lightweight didn't give me much of a zone to balance in. I found I didn't have to pay as much attention to my fore and aft balance in the Freerides.

4 hour outing #2 was very similar. Boots felt even better than the day before as I am sure they are moulding a bit to my foot. I noticed that due to the tigher fit I had much faster input to my ski and the direction and tiny input adjustments. mmmm properly sized boots, what a concept.

so far I don't beleive any shell mods are going to be needed at all. They fit great out of the box, they look great and they perform even better.

Only downside is my buds say my feet look tiny in them. : I guess with a size 6 it is bound to be noticed.

I can't wait to get out to the mountains and get me some Alberta POW.

I do have to re-mount my 8800's as the change from 304 to 292 brings the rear binding out of range and places my freeride boot center 0.5 cm infront of the ski mounting point. Hmm what to do? A meeting with my ski tech is needed to see if a comprimise can be made somehow to allow use of both boots, and keep Freeride centerline slightly (3mm) behind ski mounting mark.

My SX10's have demo bindings so that was a no brainer adjustment.