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What's too stiff: AT/Alpine Boots (Or is it my skis??)

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  • What's too stiff: AT/Alpine Boots (Or is it my skis??)

    Noobie question to an extent. Appreciate any generosity.

    First time in Alpine boots since 1992. I have Technica Cochise 120s.

    What are signs that boots are too stiff? I recall moving from T2 to T1s took some adjustment, but it was more about technique than the boots being too stiff to flex and drive the ski.

    I am quick to attribute a lot of what I am feeling to learning to alpine all over again, but man I just feel these boots are hard to flex when I need to drive the ski harder when the terrain is steeper and the snow harder. When I really try to pressure the tips, the skis begin to chatter and my feet feel like they are encased in concrete.

    I am on K2 Coombacks, which are not the best hard snow ski obviously, but the snow here in CO is not ice. Just hard. I should be able to carve it in the Coombacks (Maybe not?). Its 30˚ here in CO so I can't imagine what these boots will feel like when its 10-15˚ or less in VT.

    Any thoughts on what are tell tale signs of too stiff boots?

  • #2
    The tell tale sign is that the movements you are making with your feet and lower legs are transferred to the skis in a way that is to sensitive for your ability. In other words it might feel like every movement you make is amplified and makes the skis to twitchy or responsive and that you would be better off if your boots acted like a filter to the movements you are making.

    They could also be to stiff for your size or strength so that you could not flex them properly and pressure the cuff. The encased in concrete comment fits this description but it could also be that you are just not used to them.

    As far as the skis chattering that could happen on any ski that you apply to much force to so that it starts to bend torsionally. The ski grabs the snow flexes and let's go and then grabs the snow again. This happens over and over very quickly causing the chatter. I think this would be easy to do with some coombacks or any fatter ski and stiff boots. If your skis are chattering you are applying to much force to the ski by either tipping it to much or going to fast or some combination of both. A stiffer alpine boot would allow you to put much more force in to a ski then a tele boot and make it much easier to overpower the ski and get it to chatter.

    Yes someone could carve on those coombacks but at some point the ski will chatter and the harder the snow, the more you tip the skis and the faster you go the sooner this will happen. They will also be more likely to chatter if you are skidding sideways on them decelerating as opposed to really carving them like a knife thru the snow.
    Last edited by James; 30 December 2013, 11:49 AM.

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    • #3
      Get some of these:

      http://www.skis.com/Nordica-Doberman...efault,pd.html

      Last edited by SkaredShtles; 30 December 2013, 12:12 PM.

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      • #4
        The Tecnica Cochise is one of those AT boots that compensates for the inevitable compromise in forward flex stiffness from including a tour mode, by adding a HARD limit on the forward flex. The boots skiers tend to like get progressively stiffer. Many AT boots switch between a nice flexible cuff for touring, to an ultra stiff locked cuff that won't budge unless you drive it really hard, or you weight more than 200 lbs. A key part of that is the forward lean position when locked.

        I found the Maestrale to be too stiff in the more upright position, but that same stiffness was okay when I locked it in the forward position. Cochise is more like the Maestrale's upright position. For me when I hit the forward lean limit, it simply stops. That is probably what you're feeling. If it was more progressive, as in, it got progressively stiffer as you flexed it forward, you'd probably like it more.

        ain't no turn like tele!

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        • #5
          I have a pair of Cochise 130's as a reference, here's what I think and I have about ten days on these boots. I think mine would be similar to yours. First, a Coomback is a rockered tip only and has a pretty soft tip and a stiff tail. You can't really drive the tips on these skis so you kinda steer them with your feet edging with the camber underfoot. You are right they arn't the best ski for firm snow but IMO, doable. As far as my boots, they are upright and a little too upright for my tastes. So, I added a med wedge under my heel and I stacked a sticky pad on top of the Cochise pad that is behind the upper part of the liner just below the calf. This really improved the fit for me and gave me a little more foreward lean and a better angle for driving my skis. WTBS, I have only used the boots on firm snow driving carving alpine skis. I may not like it that much once we get powder and I start skiing my big rockered skis. Anyway, this may help you, I don't feel my Cochise 130's are all that stiff.
          "Just say no to groomed snow"

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          • #6
            I like K2 skis, but especially their BC oriented line is pretty white bread. That ski has a 22 M turn radius which is kinda middle of the road. It's made for a longer carved turn or more likely a smear, skid, or 3D powder turn. Those boots are made for charging and those skis are made to be a crossover BC ski meaning pretty good at everything and not great at anything - it seems that's what you are experiencing. If you're skiing classic chalky Colorado packed powder and want to rip off controlled small radius turns then grab another ski. If you want to stand up straighter and ski the middle of a longer radius skid turn then a mid-flex boot would be better, like any intermediate alpine specific boot. Tip rocker is certainly responsible for a lot of chatter that you end of either having to deal with or change skis. I think Dostie hit the nail on the head with the progressive flex comment too. You're not feeling the boot flex but if you're pressuring the cuff it will translate to the ski although possibly not the "tip" due to the rocker. These are concessions that some are willing to adapt to for a "quiver of one" type ski. IMO those skis are for guys and gals that log 6 or 7 days a season. In between storms, I'd ski a dumpster diver hard snow specific ski back east before I'd ski a Coomba.

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            • #7
              Dostie and Matt J both hit the nail on the head (no skin off any other's backs.) The flex just stopping....man that is IT! It's like I flex a few degrees and then I get nowhere. Today, I was checking out my kids race boots and my 20+ year old Langes Tii and it became clear to me that the tour mech seemed like a limiter to forward flex. James your point about the amplification of my movements and resulting twitchy-ness is spot on as well. I think these boots are too stiff and not progressive enough.

              As for the Coomback, you are right Matt. I took a gamble not having tried it as I also like K2 skis and used them back in the 90s when I skied alpine and when I skied Tele. Still love my Super Stinx. Just figured the reviews about being easy to turn and good at all, but not great would be good enough. I still think it will be OK for soft-er, but not deep days. Maybe I'll mount my G2 transits and see how they stack up. They seemed to tele well on EC hard pack and handle POW just fine.

              Are any AT or quasi-AT (Ie Cochise, Freedom, Pinnacle) boots more progressive?

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              • #8
                The Cochise is engineered to be as stiff as a touring boot can be. Somebody can probably give you a good run down on plastics, not me. The only advice I'd give is to demo, but it seems you've already realized that. I have a pair of the BD Factor 130's and don't find them to be very stiff and to my sensibilities they feel "progressive." But, I ski Lange race boots for Colorado lift access. There's a great thread on TGR about the "relative" flex as the numbers are just made up by each manufacturer:

                http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/s...ight=boot+flex

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                • #9
                  It's more than just me. I've heard numerous confirmations of Scarpa being the first AT boot company to build an AT boot that has a progressive flex in their Freedom model. These are comments from competitors who are amazed that Scarpa figured out what Lange has known all along (including when everyone was building rear-entry boots and Lange almost went out of business because they refused to compromise on the performance of their boots).

                  Other boots I've skied that have a progressive flex with a decent-to-good tour mode: Lange XT, K2 Pinnacle. BD's Factor MX isn't quite as progressive as either of these, but it isn't simply stiff. It has some give to the ski flex. There are a number of other AT boots from alpine boot makers, but few have Dynafit compatibility.

                  Actually, Dynafit's Mercury/Vulcan have a somewhat progressive flex as long as you remove the tongue.

                  ain't no turn like tele!

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                  • #10
                    ...what Lange has known all along (including when everyone was building rear-entry boots and Lange almost went out of business because they refused to compromise on the performance of their boots).
                    Well, let's reach into the murky past, when many of us were hobbled by "Lange Bangs" and forced to use XC gear at the DH areas because it hurt less. Lange learned their flex game through an earlier disaster...
                    Last edited by Todd Eastman; 30 December 2013, 11:12 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Dostie...I actually wanted the Scarpa Freedom and was talked out of even trying it on. It was my first choice too.

                      I tried on the Pinnacle and balked at its weight which in hindsight was a mistake given my yo-yo habits and zero touring. It was a nice feeling boot.

                      Looks I may need to go for round two for boots.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Just Dan View Post
                        I actually wanted the Scarpa Freedom and was talked out of even trying it on.
                        Pray tell why?

                        ain't no turn like tele!

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                        • #13
                          I spent alot of time trying on most of the "transport boots", didn't try the Freedom. It came down for me the Pinnacle 130 or the Cochise 130. I thought the Lange XT was way too stiff and the walk mode had no range. I think I would have bought the Pinnacle but I needed the lesser volume fit and my LSS didn't have those and they were to be on BO for a long time. I thought the flex, walk mode and features of the Pinnacle and the Cochise were almost identical. So I bought the Cochise as it fit my lower volume foot the best. Personally, I don't think either of these boots is overly stiff. Actually about the same as my old Alpine boot which were Salomon Falcon 110's. The reason why I got a Transport boot is that I wanted a resort boot with a rubber sole and some sort of walk mode for walking on slippery icy parking lots, climbing stairs et et plus fit into a alpine binding without sole exchange. I like the way my Falcons fit and ski but the bottoms are full plastic and dangerous even stepping out of the car when there is ice.
                          Anyway, I wouldn't give up on the Cochise. I think you will find any of the dual purpose AT boots are going to be stiff and heavy. but, unless you are actually going to try to tour with them, you will want the power.
                          "Just say no to groomed snow"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dostie View Post
                            Pray tell why?
                            I assume your why is directed at why I was talked about of the Freedoms and not why I wanted them....

                            Mostly naiveté on my part not having bought a pair of alpine boots in over 20 years or tele boots even since 2005. I was told they were made of PU (and they are) which makes them more prone to stiffening up than Pebax when it gets cold. Said they would stiffen up equal to the 130 Freedom SLs in the cold.

                            Maybe that is true, I don't know the temperature behavior of PU vs Pebax. I don't think my help was very helpful. Cute ski girls in Burlington, VT will do that to you. She had a decent ski resume and certainly talked the talk covering most of what I'd read about the boots I had researched (Cochise, Maestrale, Pinnacle), but pretty much dismissed the Freedoms.

                            Maybe the shop had a deal with Technica as she pushed those the most. To be fair they are extremely well fitting boots. Zero pain out of the box which is a first for me with any ski boot, but I really don't like the flex at all. Power strap is nice

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Quadzilla View Post
                              I spent alot of time trying on most of the "transport boots", didn't try the Freedom. It came down for me the Pinnacle 130 or the Cochise 130. I thought the Lange XT was way too stiff and the walk mode had no range. I think I would have bought the Pinnacle but I needed the lesser volume fit and my LSS didn't have those and they were to be on BO for a long time. I thought the flex, walk mode and features of the Pinnacle and the Cochise were almost identical. So I bought the Cochise as it fit my lower volume foot the best. Personally, I don't think either of these boots is overly stiff. Actually about the same as my old Alpine boot which were Salomon Falcon 110's. The reason why I got a Transport boot is that I wanted a resort boot with a rubber sole and some sort of walk mode for walking on slippery icy parking lots, climbing stairs et et plus fit into a alpine binding without sole exchange. I like the way my Falcons fit and ski but the bottoms are full plastic and dangerous even stepping out of the car when there is ice.
                              Anyway, I wouldn't give up on the Cochise. I think you will find any of the dual purpose AT boots are going to be stiff and heavy. but, unless you are actually going to try to tour with them, you will want the power.
                              I pretty much looked at these boots for the same reason. I like to be able to ski whatever whenever which means icy resort days when I my kids are racing or skinning a local hill when it snows enough here in VT. I don't tour so weight really should not have been a factor in my thinking, but I bike so I have an illness of counting grams.

                              I'm not giving up, but out of the gate I find the flex of the Cochise unappealing. We'll see. Maybe its just something new to learn which is the reason I added alpine back into my winter toy chest.

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