Scarpa F1 Evo Ski Boot — Revolution or Evolution?


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

The verdict is up to you dear readers. The new (limited availability this year, full retail 2014-15) Scarpa F1 Evo ski touring boot has so many innovative features it could be called a new species. Or is this only a stage in the Darwinian process by which all life forms eventually live or die according to how well engineered their plastic parts are? We are here in Asolo Italy checking it out. I’ll opine, you decide. Field testing will tell the ultimate tale but this thing has been tested by everything from World Cup skimo racers to a 100,000 cycle slam test machine. It thus appears to work.

Scarpa F1 Evo to be retailed 2014-15 comes in at claimed weight of  <> 1,130 grams, size 27. Features 'Tronic No Hand' mode changer, more.

Scarpa F1 Evo to be retailed 2014-15 comes in at claimed weight of <> 1,130 grams, size 27. Features 'Tronic No Hand' mode changer, more. The Tronic device is nothing less than Einsteinian, or Darwinian, or both?

We’ll save the best for first. In what Scarpa is calling their “Tronic No Hand” lean lock system, F1 Evo switches between downhill cuff-locked mode and cuff-free mode simply by clicking in and out of your tech binding. Complex? Don’t let your imagination run wild. The patented Tronic system has only 6 parts. It is genius in simplicity. Basically, a couple of small metal tabs protrude down into the area where your rear binding pins sink which you click into a tech binding. These spring-loaded tabs are pushed up by the binding pins, in turn actuating a lean lock. Pictures below, and I did a video as well that I’ll publish ASAP.

Designer and production manager Davide Parisotto demonstrates the 'no lean' lean lock, I'm quite impressed, was expecting something perhaps over-designed. Should have known that a company making boots for World Cup racers was going to come up with something elegant.

Designer and production manager Davide Parisotto demonstrates the 'no lean' lean lock, I'm quite impressed, was expecting something perhaps over-designed. Should have known that a company making boots for World Cup racers was going to come up with something elegant.

The mechanism is obvious. Two tabs indicated by arrows are spring loaded. They move up when you snap your boot down on the binding pins and are held up by the pins. Take your boot out of the binding and they drop back down. This movement engages and disengages the lean lock.

The mechanism is obvious. Two tabs indicated by arrows are spring loaded. They move up when you snap your boot down on the binding pins and are held up by the pins. Take your boot out of the binding and they drop back down. This movement engages and disengages the lean lock without the use of your hands. The only trick for doing this totally hands free is you have to pre-adjust your boot buckles so they're not so tight as to be uncomfortable for walking. The way the boot is configured makes this easy, but there could be times when you'd want to tighten things for the downhill, thus obviating the hands free effect.

Looking down at lean lock machinery, the magic is hidden.

Looking down at lean lock machinery, the magic is hidden.

Lower portion of  the shell tongue is the side hinged type Scarpa uses on Maestrale. This has the advantage of adding solidity to the boot feel.

Lower portion of the shell tongue is the side hinged type Scarpa uses on Maestrale. This has the advantage of adding solidity to the boot feel. In this case a Boa system cinches it down. I carpet tested this and it feels bomber, though the boot does have the overall somewhat flexy feel of a lightweight touring boot, not a freeride boot -- expected -- but due to a carbon structure that wraps your ankle you do get more stiffness than the overall look and weight of F1 would indicate.

Stiff carbon yoke is laminated to the lower shell's nylon plastic. It's not just for show, really works.

Stiff carbon yoke is laminated to the lower shell's nylon plastic. It's not just for show as visible through the oblong windows, it really works.

A short history of F1. Scarpa released a boot called “F1″ in 1999. It was an ultra-light yellow ski touring boot with flex at the ball of the foot. Scarpa’s pioneering work in telemark boots gave them the edge for making such ‘living hinge’ systems. Versions of the yellow F1 dominated skimo racing until other manufacturers came on the scene with boots appropriate for racing. By they time Scarpa discontinued F1, they’d sold more than 100,000 copies. Their story is that the heritage of F1 leads directly through their Alien race and recreation models, straight to the F1 Evo. Hence the name.

Liner is high quality Intuition. Boot board is included to add warmth and fitting options to shell.

Thermo moldable liner is high quality Intuition. Boot board is included to add warmth and fitting options to shell.

Underside of boot board interlocks with shell to prevent movement.

Underside of boot board interlocks with shell to prevent movement. This sort of attention to micro-movement is how you make a lightweight boot ski ok downhill.

Wide velcro strap on the cuff buckle is routed through an anchor to prevent movement.

Wide velcro strap on the cuff buckle is routed through an anchor to prevent movement.

No detail appears to have been forgotten. Cuff lean is adjustable two degrees to either side of standard factory set 18 degrees.

No detail appears to have been forgotten. Cuff lean is adjustable two degrees to either side of standard factory set 18 degrees. Note the X shaped structure in the cuff plastic (indicated by my red scrawls) to add rigidity.

Cuff articulation is more than adequate, liner has flex zone to help make it real.

Cuff articulation is more than adequate, liner has flex zone to help make it real.

Every part of the boot is easily removed and replaced for service or customization. Nice.

Every part of the boot is easily removed and replaced for service or customization. Nice.

Parts come on, parts go off, I have to say I'm loving it. You mean, no more die grinder?

Parts come on, parts go off, I have to say I'm loving it. You mean, no more die grinder?

Carpet testing. The last was super interesting, way more room than it looks like, but not a bathtub. Internal length is maximized per BSL

Carpet testing. The last was super interesting, way more room than it looks like but not a bathtub. Internal length is maximized per BSL. The warm room combined with thin plastic resulted in a fairly flexy feel that I'm sure will tighten up a bit in normal temps. Plus, carpet testing always makes boots feel softer than they are in real life. That said, I'm thinking they could have made the carbon laminate area a bit longer and higher to compensate for the thin lightweight plastic.

Scarpa says the sole has a texture designed to pick up less sticky snow. That one will be easy to test!

Scarpa says the sole has a texture designed to pick up less sticky snow. That one will be easy to test!

We also visited the injection molding factory where Scarpa was making the demo boots. This F1 Evo scaffo was just out of the mold.

We also visited the injection molding factory where Scarpa was making their F1 demo boots for coming shows and such. This F1 Evo scaffo was just out of the mold; it felt like a nice warm chunk of Italian bread.

Another view of the clockwork.

Another view of the clockwork.

Factoids:

– Estimated MSRP $699.00 USD
– Weight size 27, >< 1,130 grams
-- Materials: Nylon plastic similar to Grilamid, laminated with carbon composite ankle yoke, what Lisa and I call "Davide's Secret Sauce."
-- Full retail for 2014-15, demo sizes 25,27,28 produced for winter 2013/2014
-- Tech fittings at toe are mounted 6 mm back from standard; we love the more ergonomic stride this induces, though it does cause some confusion when mounting bindings.

We are excited to have been guests of Scarpa and the Parisotto family. That's me with CEO Sandro in front of their main Asolo, Italy factory and offices.

We're excited to be guests of Scarpa and the Parisotto family. That's me with CEO Sandro in front of their main Asolo, Italy factory and offices. As always, certain things are true: Italian food is good, and Italians ski fast both uphill and down.

Comments

50 Responses to “Scarpa F1 Evo Ski Boot — Revolution or Evolution?”

  1. Charlie Hagedorn January 20th, 2014 11:32 am

    That’s really cool.

  2. Joe K January 20th, 2014 11:48 am

    Neat trick, but on softer boots I’m definitely tightening up my cuff for all the stiffness I can get downhill. Maybe nice for racing, not much use for me.

  3. James January 20th, 2014 12:27 pm

    If they are not as stiff as a Sportiva Spitfire I’m not interested. The design looks fantastic but they still need to be able to drive my 100mm skis in mixed conditions. I would love a wider fit (ala scarpa) vs. the existing options (TLT6 & Spitfire) but they must be performance competitive, even with the neat lockout option.

  4. Joe Risi January 20th, 2014 12:39 pm

    Brilliant walk system and very interesting lacing setup utilizing the BOA system.

    So simple and clean. Though I do wonder how wear, icing, and heel binding machining tolerances will effect it.

  5. Buck January 20th, 2014 12:56 pm

    The auto lean lock thing looks nice, but one of my favorite modes with my Dyna/TLT5 and now TLT 6 is locked in to the heel but with the boot cuff open in touring mode (with maybe a little support from a power strap).

    It gives you a pretty good range of cuff articulation, but with the benefit of a locked heel. so you don’t need to deal with the frictionless binding pivot causing the ski tail to flap uselessly in the way for something like an extended uphill sidestep or a skate of any distance.

    Is there a way on this Scarpa boot to keep the boot in full open cuff touring articulation but with the heel locked into the binding?

  6. DT January 20th, 2014 3:00 pm

    On the Scarpa side of things – any details on the 14/15 Maestrale RS yet? I know OR is later this coming week, inquiring minds from those who will not be there just want to know…

  7. aviator January 20th, 2014 3:06 pm

    what worldcup racer would use a boot this heavy?

  8. MorganW January 20th, 2014 3:22 pm

    Nice looking powerstrap. Is it the same principle as that on the Cochise?

  9. Lou Dawson January 20th, 2014 3:34 pm

    Aviator, the answer is obvious, the mechanism will be important to racing as it eliminates one motion and also prevents crouching at the knees and cramping thigh muscles, but yeah, obviously it’ll be built into lighter boots such as Alien or who knows what these guys have inside their pants. Alien is very popular with the racers…

  10. Lou Dawson January 20th, 2014 3:46 pm

    Scarpa gave me updated info on price in USD, to be $699. I edited blog post to reflect.

  11. Eric January 20th, 2014 3:53 pm

    As an engineer, I can appreciate this elegant solution. However, I can’t help but think this is a solution in search of a problem. How does this mechanism actually help me? It saves maybe 1-2 seconds every time I switch modes? Over the course of a day, maybe 30 seconds? Ok, if I’m rando racing I see the benefit, as seconds count. But for a normal day of touring, what’s the point?

    I hate to be a curmudgeon (ok, maybe I don’t hate it *that* much :)), but I don’t see this as revolutionary or even evolutionary. If you lose the ability to have the boot in touring mode while the heel is locked into the binding I’d consider it a deficiency of the boot.

    To be fair to Scarpa, I find Dynafit’s integration of the lean lock into the upper buckle mechanism of the TLT5 equally as annoying.

  12. Lou Dawson January 20th, 2014 3:57 pm

    Eric, I asked for reader opinions, you delivered, thanks! Time will tell of course. Upon carpet testing, I did get the feeling that this could be very nice but I did wonder at having a lean lock with NO manual control. Obviously I’m looking forward to some extensive field testing. When working at our cabin I go in/out of modes quite a bit, this could be wonderful for that I’m sure… Have to say I like Dynafit Ultra Lock, so I’m biased in the direction of less time, less motion. Lou

  13. Lou Dawson January 20th, 2014 3:58 pm

    All, I added video to beginning of post. Looks like my publishing on Youtube resulted in some sort of quality degradation. Will work on it tomorrow. The original vid has good quality. Lou

  14. aviator January 20th, 2014 4:21 pm

    so for this to save time in transitions you are supposed to find a happy medium where you can keep the cuff buckle tightened for both up and down?
    let me tell you all right now this wont work for skimo racing.

  15. Eric January 20th, 2014 4:33 pm

    Thanks Lou, hopefully my comments didn’t come off as me ranting (although after re-reading, perhaps more so than I meant). If the lean lock had a manual control in addition to the no hands thing, it would be the best of both worlds!

    What I was trying to say was that optimizing the lean lock is an interesting thing to prioritize. But I also realize that innovation comes from odd places sometimes and you need to let it play out.

  16. Charlie Hagedorn January 20th, 2014 4:52 pm

    The video is great.

    For rando racers, it’s a minor boon (you still have to reach down to manipulate the binding). Not sure it’s as useful for mountaineering from durability (scrambling might ding the actuating plate) and icing/grit perspectives, but the simple notion that such a design is possible is really cool.

    It’s a total fix (as is “ultra-lock”) for the “oh, man, I just skied that in walk mode!” problem that seems to happen a few times a year.

  17. Michael Kennedy January 20th, 2014 5:21 pm

    What about the slick Euro shoe on the other foot in the video? Stylin’

  18. Gentle Sasquatch January 20th, 2014 6:41 pm

    The shoes come with the boots in this years special F1 edition. ;)

    I love the idea. It just happens that we will be in a market for a new pair of boots next fall as my son’s shoe size is approaching mine. It will be either another pair of maestrales or this. Is it fair to assume that 29.5 boot size for Maestrale and F1 will be same length so we could share skis? Probably not. Maybe Lou can ask?

    (From Lou: I asked the Scarpa guys, 29.5 Maestrale is BSL 331, same size Evo is estimated to be about 320, so while they’re not the same length perhaps depending on binding choice you could mount the bindings so they could be adjusted to swap the two boots between skis.)

  19. Mike January 20th, 2014 8:12 pm

    I hope they make this in a 31.0 mondo. It is frustrating that the TLT5/6 only goes up to a 30.0 (same with the Alien). If this has comparable downhill performance to the Maestrale with the reduced weight and ideally better range of motion then it will be time to upgrade.

  20. Josh A January 20th, 2014 10:04 pm

    Insta -tele excitement has now been maximized!!! Can’t wait for that! Cool idea but I think the current alien design is more realistically functional and lightweight.

    So, TGR shows some pics of a sexy new all carbon alien… tomorrow’s post?

  21. Josh A January 20th, 2014 10:05 pm

    oh, and how “free” is the cuff ROM? looks like it will be far from the alien 1.0? :(

  22. TonyBob January 20th, 2014 11:47 pm

    FYI, La Sportiva has some new goods coming out too. The competition thickens.
    Throw a google out for La Sportiva Syborg. Scratch that. Nothing shows up, yet…
    http://www.skintrack.com/gear-tech/la-sportiva-syborg-skimo-race-skis-boots-affordable-cousins-to-rsr-stratos-cube/

  23. James B January 21st, 2014 12:02 am

    I’m thinking there could be 1 issue which has slipped through the engineering net with this system. What happens when the ski is negatively flexed? We know the heel pins get very close to coming out the heel mount (and sometimes do!), what would happen in this case? I can imagine the lean look disengaging and moving down, and then when the ski springs back the ends of the heel pins pressing on the flat of the lean lock putting a lot of stress on the rear binding.
    Lou, whats your thoughts?

  24. Lou Dawson January 21st, 2014 12:51 am

    James, if your boot heel comes out of the binding the F1 Evo boot cuff immediately goes to unlocked walk mode. I’d agree that in the case of the boot heel pulling out of the binding accidentally while skiing, it would be much harder to make a recovery with F1 due to the cuff suddenly unlatching as well. All theory, the fact is that if the binding ‘tech gap’ is adjusted correctly this situation is rare. I haven’t had it happen in years, since a small amount of length was added to the rear binding pins.

  25. Lou Dawson January 21st, 2014 1:01 am

    Josh, the ROM appeared to be fine. How free the cuff moves is partially dependent on the liner design.

    All, my take is that if you want your boots buckled really tight you may be adjusting your buckles during transitions anyway, so in that case this system won’t have much over the “buckle/lock” system of the other main brand. On the other hand, my evaluation showed that if you carefully adjusted the upper buckle it could be left closed in the same position for both uphill and down. That will be key, of course.

    One point I didn’t make in the blog post is that overall boot technology is somewhat stalled, especially in the alpine world. Thus, something truly interesting like Tronic No Hand is wonderful to see, and I’d give Scarpa a big cheer for breaking out of the endless treadmill of the same lean-lock concept year after year after year. How much it catches on with all of us in actual use is of course the burning question for both Scarpa and we users. As for me, I truly like the concept and the execution appears excellent so I’m planning on giving this boot a very comprehensive real-world use test. Added benifit is the 27.5 fits me nearly perfect, as far as I could tell all I’ll need to do is a quick liner mold and I’ll be good to go.

  26. Toby January 21st, 2014 2:29 am

    Thanks for preview Lou, very, very interesting design here. Maybe you could forward my greeting to Mr. “Scarpa”:

    Dear Signore Parisotto,
    These boots looks fantastic, but still, why not offering a ‘low budget – all mountain – work horse..’ version of this boot? Maybe a conventional lower buckle Instead of Boa, and classical Scarpa instep strap buckle, plus more conventional cuff lock.
    Why; to add the gap between ‘Race’ and Maestrale category. Light (around 1300g class) and walkable, non-DIN mountaineering boot with short BSL, but without added race features to make it robust, more affordable and attractive for wider band of skiers.
    Distinti saluti,
    Toby

  27. Toby January 21st, 2014 2:53 am

    And by the way, while you are there. What’s going on with Crispi? They are only 4km away from Scrapa. Inovative Italian company as well, but much less marketing.

  28. Jürgen Hinz January 21st, 2014 3:20 am

    Great great great article Lou !!!
    Thanks !!

  29. Jennifer January 21st, 2014 3:42 am

    Exciting to see new designs. Can’t wait to try it. I appreciate anything that adds efficiency and still relatively light.

  30. Jernej January 21st, 2014 5:03 am

    This lean lock system is nothing revolutionary but an adaptation from alpine boots (at least my wife’s Salomons have it).

  31. Peter W January 21st, 2014 6:49 am

    I think this looks great! well….maybe not “great” yet, but as the whole tech binding scene gets redesigned in the coming years this seems like an obvious feature to make better with boot/binding integration of this type of system. Let the racers perfect it over the next 2-5 years, and then give it to us Rec powder tourers.
    One less thing for me to fiddle with on a frigid wind blown ledge before dropping in = winning.

  32. Massimo January 21st, 2014 8:13 am

    Love this solution.. like everything is going to simplify your movement and make it more natural. I suppose this is going to be the next “state of art” for ski boots manufaturing. And all this is done in an proud Italian maufacturing.
    I’m having some problem with ski-mode in my Maestrale: it takes some efforts to pass from walk mode to ski mode, after 4 years of average usage.
    So, I hope this system is going to work poprely because you have nothing to deal with in case of malfucnctioning.
    Then, any solution for low tech bindings?

  33. TC January 21st, 2014 9:12 am

    @toby. I think the f1 evo is (mostly) what you are asking for. It is scarpa’s boot to fill the gaping gap in their line between the maestrale and the alien race boots. In those two ends of the market their boots are highly competitive (perhaps the sales leaders?). But they have had nothing in the TLT and equivalent la sportiva range. These F1Evos are definitely not race boots; they are clearly TLT-category touring boots. Glad to see more choice, fit options, and new ideas in that sector!

    They look good to me albeit w questions about the durability of the new lock mechanism when hiking/climbing off the skis…

  34. Lou Dawson January 21st, 2014 9:36 am

    Regarding cuff articulation, according to Scarpa’s internal standard for cuff articulation measurement, Evo does 62 degrees and Alien 1.0 does 58 degrees. In my experience either number is fine. Main point is that the Evo is not “less” than the Alien. Lou

  35. UpSki Kevin January 21st, 2014 10:00 am

    still loving the original F1 boot – if anyone has a pair of 27.5 with the V2 forward lean bar they want to sell me – let me know. kevin at upski dot com
    … or the V1 forward lean bar from any older F1 for parts- one of mine is bent and won’t snap into downhill mode.

  36. Fernie Gord January 21st, 2014 2:37 pm

    The boot looks like a game change, but my question is about the left foot. Those shoes are a game changer, who makes em?

    Excited on both fronts!

  37. Tom Gos January 21st, 2014 9:30 pm

    This isn’t a boot for me, I’m more a free-touring guy, but I’m continually impressed with Scarpa’s features and pricing. In these areas they seem to be leading the market. Hopefully they can ramp up production to meet demand, there seems to be a shortage of Freedom SLs this season.

  38. Toby January 22nd, 2014 2:28 am

    My experience with Alien (non-CF version) was that the Boa closure was definitely adequate substitute for forefoot buckles, but the heel retention was rather poor. I’m excited to see how much better this design performs.

    What about the crampons compatibility – is that heel design suitable for semi auto crampons? One thing is sure; Camp race 290 crampons won’t work.

  39. Lou Dawson January 22nd, 2014 6:03 am

    Toby, you certainly have some insight, as the fit of various types of crampons will indeed be an issue. Anyone considering this boot, if you use crampons with your ski boots, figure out before you buy. Lou

  40. Florian Aßmann January 22nd, 2014 11:33 am

    Hey Lou, Can you tell me if the heel welt is crampon compatible? It looks like the frame for the metal plate is interfering at the heel welt? Otherwise I think I could really appreciate the system. With Dynafit boots I hate removing the powder cuff on my pants for short downhills.

  41. Lou Dawson January 22nd, 2014 12:48 pm

    Florian, there is some question about which crampons will work. I think we’ll get that more addressed when we have production retail boots. It’s a little early to get that detailed. Lou

  42. Florian Aßmann January 23rd, 2014 4:15 am

    Thanks for the quick answer. I understood the boot to be a potential rival to the TLT 6. And If the F1 does not take semi automatic crampons it would be a definite rule out for me and I thin also for quite a few others!

  43. Mike January 24th, 2014 7:11 am

    I would prefer to see that top buckle with the ability to completely open. Maybe K2 will sell the top buckle from their Pinnacle boot for a retrofit.

  44. Daniel January 24th, 2014 9:03 am

    Have Scarpa finally gotten rid of the stupid arch bump?

  45. Lou Dawson January 24th, 2014 9:14 am

    Daniel, I couldn’t feel any bump in F1 Evo, and with the other model boots it’s minimal now. Try some on and see what you think. I’d agree, it used to be terrible for some okf us who’s feet were not Montebelluna standards, it was like standing on the end of a baseball bat. Lou

  46. Jim January 28th, 2014 8:41 pm

    It seems a small jump to add this system to their 4 buckle boots.

  47. Florian January 29th, 2014 9:59 am

    Hey Lou,

    is the carbon reinforcement only in the back of the boot around the ankles?
    What about boot shell punches?

    Florian

  48. vanessa January 29th, 2014 1:41 pm

    So now you have an awesome lightweight ski mountaineering boots that you can’t put a baled crampon on and that you can’t switch to walk mode while locked into your binding. I’m really not sure what the market is for this boot except for a very small group of rando racers who aren’t going to use the boot for actual ski mountaineering (which in spring anyway usually involves crampons). I really like Scarpa’s boots but don’t see any advantage to this system at all. I actually like to ski out from a lot of tours with my heel locked (for free-heeling it wouldn’t matter), buckles loose, and the boot in walk mode. I would love to see more lightweight boots from Scarpa but think they missed the mark with this one. Everything else about the boot looks great though.

  49. Joe Risi January 29th, 2014 2:00 pm

    The mods will come and I’m sure this is the first thing many will address. I hear you on all fronts.

    I didn’t get a chance to ski it but on carpet the boot felt awesome.

    Mods we will!

  50. Pablo March 21st, 2014 5:42 am

    Hi Lou and all people here.
    Last week-end I toured and skied the F1 Evo here in Spain….

    Well, I can´t imagine what’s the target of this boots…I found more cons tan pros:

    Pros:
    - nice fit, not so snug as TLT5/6 not too wide.

    - nice ROM, very good walkability.

    - nice sole

    - nice liner.

    - nice color! (yeah, they looks great!)

    - it,s nice to just take of your ski and walk, very nice sensation. (perfect to go to the bar or to find your car in a parking lot)

    Cons:
    - Heel retention is bad, simply bad.

    - You can`t lock the cuff when not in your bindings. ther is no way to make it posible.
    - Too soft, I think softer than TLT6 M (but priced as a TLT6 P)

    - You can´t use them with Camp Race 290 crampons.

    - Partially non compatible with Diamir Vipec 12. Yes you can use them whit Vipecs but you can’t get in the bindings by sliding the pins instead of steppin on
    One thing I like a lot on Vipecs is that you can changeg mode to ski mode by sliding the back unit as the pins enter in the boot slots. This is wonderful specially on powder. With Scarpas F1 Evo, this is impossible.

    - DIfficult to recovery if the ski flexes negatively and the pins slide out just the space to make the “Tronic System Bar” fall and change to walk mode…rare but very dangerous scenario.

    - Ok, I don’t need to bend my back to change mode (great!)
    but I have to do it because I need to engange/disengange the Bukle/Strap. So the benefit is minimus

    In conclusion: nice design exercise. Its a nice demonstration of technology and design. Unfotunately not applied to what a skier need or want to skimountaineering. It seems that they just design the boot without thinking about skiers needs.

    Pablo

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