Alien 2.0 is under development this winter in race testing, will retail for 2014-15.
This morning I was a mystic pilgrim crawling over the perfectly crushed white gravel of Italian urban landscaping, making my slow way to Scarpa on hands and knees, begging them at each contorted supplication for insider photos and a carpet test of 2.0 Alien boot. It worked.
Oh, whoops, I mean Alien 2.0 shoe–not boot. That’s right, we’re supposed to call this type of skiing footwear “shoes” now. Come to think of it, didn’t we start that here at WildSnow a long time ago, but got scolded for playing cute with the language? At any rate, the Alien 2.0 “shoe” is a nearly full-carbon technological extravaganza — coming in at about 600 grams for a size 42 — yep, we will now use shoe sizes instead of mondo, as instructed by those priests of plastic where my pilgrimage completed.
Since we're here in Italy and we can do it, we got Scarpa to dig an early 1960s state-of-art model 487 ski touring boot out of their archives. The beautifully crafted leather boot with buckle closure and built-in gaiter masses a svelte 1,860 grams. Calculated out, that means the highest-end ski touring shoe has dropped about 1,200 grams in a half century, or about 25 grams a year. Hmmm, thus you can calculate how many years to delay shopping if you want a boot of a certain weight. Or, Moore's law of ski touring boots says the weight will be cut in half about every 37 years. Thus, we'll have a 300 gram shoe in the year 2051, built with ??
Alien 2.0 articulation is pretty much the same as if you're wearing a low-top running shoe. Similar to the other Alien models.
Ditto. Scarpa told me that the design philosophy behind this sort of boot is it needs to be optimized to the point of working for what they call "sprint" races, which consist essentially of running uphill like a maniac both on skis and off. To work correctly, the boot essentially has to become a running shoe. Much of that goal is accomplished by weight reduction and ankle articulation. But more, the last of Alien is rockered _both_ front-back as well as left-right to yield a feel more like a shoe. On your foot, it feels like you've already got an orthotic footbed installed (albeit needing a bit of custom shaping I assume will be possible with the liner footbed. If used without skis, the boot sole ostensibly is more ergonomic as well.)
The sole has what I'd call 'side rocker' so it feels a bit more like a shoe when used for walking or running without skis.
Alien includes 'Tronic No Hand" lean lock system (see previous post covering F1 Evo for details.) Apparently a Scarpa sponsored racer has already won while using this system, so it's no joke.
Cuff pivot area is super-beef and contributes to an incredibly rigid feel when in downhill mode. In fact, the boot is probably too stiff for me and would need to be detuned or at least have some added padding around the ankle and lower leg. Skimo racers have to blast downhill on these things like they're rocket launching, so it's all about the boot totally locking them in for the descent.
And about that yellow plastic? It's a half-tongue to hold the Boa lacing system and absorb some of the harsh vibration that full-carbon boots can produce.
Another view of 'Tronic No Hand' cuff lock at the rear of Alien 2.0. Beautiful lines.
Somewhere around a dozen European skimo racers will be on the Alien 2.0 this winter. In terms of performance, I’m told they like the Tronic lean lock, and are able to leave the boot totally buckled for the shorter uphill sections, while they flip the upper velcro/buckle system open for longer ascents. Scarpa says the idea is to never change the buckles, thus being truly ‘no hand.’ I tried leaving the boot buckled tightly while carpet testing between uphill and downhill modes, and found it indeed makes ‘no hand’ use a possibility, so it’ll be interesting to watch as retail of both this boot and F1 Evo get the ‘No Hand’ into broader use.
In all, my brutal pilgrimage was bandaged by a course of three machiatos as well as carpet testing a 600 gram ski ‘shoe.’ Lovely.
(For those of you new to the Scarpa boot lineup, please know that they’ve been selling a ‘ski touring’ version of Alien that’s all plastic, as well as the carbon cuff version 1.0 that at $1,700 is pretty much a high-end 700 gram race boot and is quite visible in most European skimo races. Main differences with Alien 2.0 is it goes to nearly all carbon, has the Tronic No Hand lean lock which eliminates the old-school lever and string arrangement on the 1.0 model, and saves about 100 grams.)
Check out our previous Alien ski boot coverage.
Shop for Aliens.