Trade Show Highlights - Alpine Touring Boots
Continuing with new AT boot , there are several more new boots worthy of further research. Garmont unveiled the new Cosmos four-buckle AT boot (women's version is Celeste). Paul Parker, Garmont's boot design consultant, gave us the full tour of the new boot, and we were impressed. It proved to be the lightest four-buckle AT boot at the show. The new Dyanfit boots are light too, but the new series are three-buckle styles. Garmont is moving back to traditional tongue construction from recent overlap designs like found the Radium. The Garmont Cosmos offers great cuff range (60 degrees), and the cuff mechanism stands out as a nice piece of engineering. It should translate to nice skinning. There are two forward lean positions (11.5 and 13). All of this comes in a boot, according to Parker, built to drive today's big skis. The boot uses Grilamid (polyamide) in the body to give it its power. Grilamid was the new catch phrase plastic in the boot world at the show - characteristics like lighter and stiffer than PU/Pbex were being thrown around. The bottom line is that the Cosmos appears to be nice bridge between lightweight racer-style boots and stouter freeride boots.
Not to be outdone, the Scarpa alpine touring boot collection includes a good looking new four-buckle boot, too - the Maestrale RS. Although not quite as light as the Cosmos, the RS is only a few ounces heavier and claims asimilar flex rating (120ish). Flex ratings seem to be all over the board, so i am not real inclined to use them to make comparisons. The Maestrale RS has 40-degree cuff range and big ski driving power.
The new Garmont and Scarpa AT boots look like great candidates for touring minded skiers who like to drive big skis. Once we can get samples in something beyond the tradeshow 27.5 testers, we'll put some time in and post more beta. It looks like we will do a full four-buckle AT boot review in the mag for 2012.
4x buckle is an entirely antiquated way to think about boots. the TLT5 proved that. I would seriously encourage you to make sure that the Vulcan and Mercury AND TLT5 are in your test as real ski boots (for big skis & big lines). Buckles don't mean a damn thing when the boot is designed correctly. Why are pro alpine skiers skiing sick lines on 3 buckles? Because the count of buckles are entirely irrelevant. Paul Parker will be the first to admit he designed the Cosmo with four to cater to those who must have four, not because it needs them.
Its curious to me that all of the boot manufacurers seem to be gravitating back to tounge style 3 piece shells after overlaps had been touted as the next great thing for the last several years. It would be interesting to read about why boot designers seem to be going back to the tounge. I'm certainly in the overlap-skis-better camp.
5. Bryan said...
I still ski my Garmont Mega-Rides. They're a 4-buckle boot. I'm a bigger guy and I more rigidity when I'm skiin' the NW cement. It may stem from my PSIA days, but I like to feel a little more locked down. Most 3-Buckle designs I've tried don't hold up to what my "tree trunks" can put into them on a icy/chattery line down the side of Broken Top. Check out my thoughts on the Garmont">href="http://www.oregonoutside.net/2012/01/26/garmonts-newest-creation-the-cosmos-and-celeste-4-buckle-alpine-touring-boot/">Garmont Cosmos and the Celeste.