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Light but sturdy boots for spring touring

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  • Light but sturdy boots for spring touring

    Anyone have thoughts on any of these boots for spring tours (i.e., easy turns on slushy, tasty corn), not steep couloirs but not meadows either, paired with Voile Switchback or 3-pin Mountaineers, and a lightish, skinny ski (currently the K2 8611 circa 2003, which is around 74mm at the waist):

    Alpina Alaska (2000 g)
    Scarpa Wasatch (2320 g)
    Scarpa T4 (2980 g)

    I'm slightly leaning towards the T4. I rarely get blisters in plastic boots and know Scarpa fits my feet well. I also know the T4 is up to the job. On the other hand, shaving more than 1 lb per foot with something like Alpina's Alaska boots is significant. I began telemarking in the plastic-era and have only one day on someone's well used, beaten up leather boots (and I sucked running them through some moguls on a pair of 197 cm Tua Mx skis and 3-pin bindings), so I'd be curious to hear from those who use both.

  • #2
    In my opinion for the ski and tours you mention the T4's and Voile Switchbacks might be over kill. I think the lighter plastic boot that fits you best and the HD Mountaineers or 3 Pin Cables would be a better choice. I love my old Leather boots but for me they max out on anything beyond meadow skipping. if you move to a bigger ski (80+ to 90 under foot) then the T4 / Switchback combo would be perfect. Just my .02, I'm sure opinions will vary.

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    • #3
      Thanks. I generally agree re bindings, but the energy savings from the free pivot seems to more than compensate for the weight increase of the Switchbacks over the Mountaineers. My problem may be, however, that I spend the winter months on Switchbacks, so when I start skinning on 3-pins, the resistance is annoying. For convenience and the joy of playing with power tools, I have installed inserts in these skis for both bindings, so I'll mess around with them and see what works. Certainly, as we get later into the season and there will be less skinning and more bushwhacking, I'll be more inclined to go with the 3-pins.
      Last edited by dschane; 2 April 2014, 04:22 PM.

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      • #4
        I am very suspicious about the quality of Alpina boots. I got one of the last version of 2175 and they are not well made at all. I've heard that the Alaska do not offer much support at all (you can check at telemarkeast for more info... someone reviewed em). As far as I am concerned—if you have a scarpa feet—go T4... Great boots! Very soft but still supportive. Too bad they do not come with a thermo liner... I do not think SB and T4 on your K2 are overkill... They are perfect...

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        • #5
          $0.02 worth: Unquestionably T4's and Switchbacks. Actually, if you can find them, T3's would be even better. A tad bit heavier, but with a real instep buckle and a slightly higher cuff, but negligible weight increase for way more control when turning. With Switchback, no noticeable reduction in touring efficiency (except for that lil' weight issue). What size feet?

          ain't no turn like tele!

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          • #6
            Good feedback Rod and Dostie, thanks.

            Originally posted by Dostie View Post
            What size feet?
            Scarpa MP 28.5.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by dschane View Post
              I'm slightly leaning towards the T4. I rarely get blisters in plastic boots and know Scarpa fits my feet well. I also know the T4 is up to the job. On the other hand, shaving more than 1 lb per foot with something like Alpina's Alaska boots is significant. I began telemarking in the plastic-era
              If you like looking for turns more than covering distance then I would suggest the T4s or Excursions - especially when it sounds like you've mostly skied plastic.

              I shared my experience with the Alpina Alaska BC back in November:

              http://www.backcountrytalk.earnyourt...=alpina+alaska

              The Alaska seemed to be very comfy, supportive and well made, but it really is in a different class than T4s.

              There is a certain charm in the challenge of managing decent turns on NNN-BC systems and skinnier skis. It's a little like tight-rope walking or slack-lining!

              For actually turning successive short radius turns, on variable and steeper terrain and conditions, there is nothing like a wider waisted ski that pivots more underfoot (78mm+), and that kind of ski usually requires a bigger boot, like a T4.

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              • #8
                Thanks Mike and Pank, I appreciate your input on the Alaska's.

                Pank, I saw that review . . . you could go pro with your use of those video loops. And I agree with your point re charm/challenge and will try to find someone with leathers to borrow for more experimentation. I found a sweet deal on some used T4's in my size, so I jumped on it and will see how it goes. The search for greater thrills has cost me more dollars than I care to admit.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dostie View Post
                  $0.02 worth: Unquestionably T4's and Switchbacks. Actually, if you can find them, T3's would be even better. A tad bit heavier, but with a real instep buckle and a slightly higher cuff, but negligible weight increase for way more control when turning. With Switchback, no noticeable reduction in touring efficiency (except for that lil' weight issue). What size feet?
                  Do you mean the T2 Dostie?. The T3 with thermo liner at 2.6 kg is lighter than the T4.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MikeK
                    Is the Wasatch still available in the US?
                    Right now, it's available in small sizes only. Scarpa's website says it was discontinued as of Jan. 2014:

                    http://www.scarpa.com/wasatch

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nick D View Post
                      Do you mean the T2 Dostie?. The T3 with thermo liner at 2.6 kg is lighter than the T4.
                      No, I meant the T3. If it IS lighter, so much the better. I didn't actually take the time to look up weights or anything like that, just assumed it was heavier. The key, as you point out, is the Intuition liner which makes it lighter than the T4.

                      Originally posted by MikeK
                      Another option which I've been eyeing myself is the Fischer BCX675. It's garbage in terms of quality, but I've heard it's got good support.

                      Honestly I'm so disappointed in the crap that is out for light BC boots that I'm thinking plastic and eff the weight!
                      Thanks for the reminder. Fischer BCX875 might work well too, although I'd still lean towards the T3.

                      Why do you say the Fischer boots are garbage?
                      Last edited by Dostie; 2 April 2014, 08:59 PM.

                      ain't no turn like tele!

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                      • #12
                        Does Scarpa still make the T3? I love mine but they have the same buckle arrangement as the T4. The only difference I can see between the T3 and T4 is that the T3 has a removable spoiler and strap and a nice plus fit liner, not intuition, but lighter than the T4 liner. An option would be to get a used pair of T3 or T4 and get the waterski hardboot liner from Intuition, that would be tits.

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                        • #13
                          I've seen mixed things on the T3's weight. One blogger said 7 lb and one said 5.7 lb. Regardless, unless you have a size 22 or 23, it seems very unlikely to find T3s these days. But I'm now curious about the weights of the T4's stock liners vs Intuition's Aqua, Denali, and Universal liners.

                          I see a demand of six folks who want uber light plastic tele boots -- niche tele market if there ever was one.

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                          • #14
                            I used to ski the Scarpa Wasatch with Chili's and Rossi BlackWidows. Great boot, horrible skis and bindings. I really liked that boot and it was amazing what terrain you could ski in that boot if you went for a good tight performance fit. I definitely sized down a size.

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                            • #15
                              It has been alluded to but I think it's worth repeating...

                              REPLACE THE OLD SCARPA LINERS!

                              I scored an old pair of the maroon colored T3's and the liner is junk. They are different boots with the Palau liner from my F1's, not to mention lighter. That's an option too BTW - F1's and TTS.

                              Even in something like an Excursion I've found that the Intuitions are the ticket. I am between shells in the Excursion and as it's not a "performance boot" I just got the bigger 28 mondo. Found some clearance wrap style Intuitions and used a cam strap for a power strap and was amazed by how much better performance I got.

                              FTR, I prefer the T3 to the Excursion mostly because the lower volume and locking ski/walk mode. The Excursion is pretty much always in walk mode. The resistance of bending the sole in a 3 pin shouldn't tire you out that much considering the weight of these set ups. I actually prefer the slight resistance especially when it comes to skating or popping off a quick kick turn.

                              Also, as far as a personal preference from doing a fair amount of this type of skiing... go plastic double boot or full-grain leather if you know you'll put miles on these boots. The different materials in the synthetic uppers will never stay stitched together.
                              Last edited by Matt J; 3 April 2014, 11:51 AM.

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