Alien 2.0 — Carbon Ski Boot Builds on Scarpa Alien 0 and 1.0


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  
Alien 2.0 is under development this winter, in race testing, will retail for 2014-15.

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 and we can do it, we got Scarpa to dig an early 1960s state-of-art ski touring boot out of their archives. The beautifully leather

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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 too stiff for me and would need to be detuned or at least have some added padding around the ankle.

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.

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.

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.

Comments

39 Responses to “Alien 2.0 — Carbon Ski Boot Builds on Scarpa Alien 0 and 1.0”

  1. Greg Louie January 22nd, 2014 9:20 am

    Lou, how many models get the Tronic “no hands” lean lock next year?

  2. Tyler January 22nd, 2014 9:32 am

    Great photos and coverage Lou! Beautiful!

    Did Scarpa mention the MSRP?

  3. Peter W January 22nd, 2014 9:32 am

    “rockered _both_ front-back as well as fore-aft” huh?
    fore-aft means front-back…..did you mean to throw a side-side or a starboard-port in there?

  4. Lou Dawson January 22nd, 2014 9:59 am

    Greg, I’m pretty sure it’s just the Evo and Alien 2

    Peter, thanks! The sole IS rockered both fore-aft and side-to-side. I’ll fix.

    Lou

  5. TimZ January 22nd, 2014 10:02 am

    Are they doing an update to the plain alien 0.0? Will they sell Alien 0.0, 1.0 and 2.0 side by side next year? Or just Alien 0.0 and 2.0?

  6. Charlie Hagedorn January 22nd, 2014 10:11 am

    It’d be sad to see the Mondo sizing standard go. It’s the most sensible method of sizing shoes I’ve ever seen — the length of the foot in centimeters. Everything else can be quite subjective.

    This is doubly the case for ski boots, where the size and the boot-sole length are generally closely related.

    Will the sizes get double-billing, both Euro and Mondo-point?

  7. Pablo January 22nd, 2014 10:16 am

    WOW!

  8. Lou Dawson January 22nd, 2014 10:43 am

    Charlie, I think there is some technical reason they want to change to Euro sizing, possibly because Mondo is actually the length in centimeters of the boot interior, and these new anatomical “shoe boots” don’t have interiors anything like your father’s ski boot. I’ll ask for clarification.

  9. OMR January 22nd, 2014 10:53 am

    Lou, have you seen any statistics on knee/leg injuries in relation to boot flexibility and stiffness? Just wondering if there is a greater/lower/unchanged risk of injury due to the ‘converse all stars’ that are all the rage today. I’m still in relatively stiff/heavy boots (G. Radium) and at 52 years old (45 on skis) both my ACL’s are solid and untouched. Any thoughts?

  10. Lou Dawson January 22nd, 2014 12:09 pm

    Omr we just were checking out a pair of boots in the Montbelluna Boot Museum that had a safety release cuff to protect knees! And yes my opinion is that a taller stiffer boot is more dangerous to your knees but probably not so much to be a concern.

  11. etto January 22nd, 2014 1:38 pm

    Looking at this fantastic boot it’s even more impressive that Pierre Gignoux has made a boot hat is a full 100g lighter ( http://www.pierregignoux.fr/English/Morpho400.php ). I have no idea how the two compare walking or skiing wise, and I probably never will experience that in person. Anybody know how they compare?

  12. Dillon January 22nd, 2014 1:55 pm

    what’s the difference between Lou Dawson and louis dawson?

  13. Sam L. January 22nd, 2014 2:18 pm

    Dillon – Lou is the papa bear, Louie is the baby bear. ;)

  14. Fede January 22nd, 2014 2:30 pm

    Amazing boot!!! wow!!!

  15. Dell Todd January 22nd, 2014 2:36 pm

    Louie is Lou’s son.

  16. Mark January 22nd, 2014 2:50 pm

    I think the word for footwear with a cuff that extends above the ankle is “boot”.

  17. LC January 22nd, 2014 3:23 pm

    Looks amazing… I think I’ll save up and try a pair.

    A couple years ago I thought Scarpa was losing their market when Dynafit came out with the TLT5 and scarpa’s best offering was still the F1 (albeit carbon F1)… I’ve changed my mind now.

  18. steveo January 22nd, 2014 3:34 pm

    I’m pretty sure my cold weather ski socks weigh about 600g. Amazing boot, and should be a good test for the new cuff lock mechanism.

  19. Dillon January 22nd, 2014 4:47 pm

    Sam and Dell. I know Louie is Lou’s son, but doesn’t he post under the name Louie? It seems like Lou posts under the name Lou sometimes and Louis other times. Doesn’t matter, just curious.

  20. Louie III January 22nd, 2014 7:42 pm

    Louie Jr here. I usually post under “Louie”, and dad is usually “Lou”, but seems like dad’s switching it up a bit, haha. I haven’t posted on this thread yet. (Although the new alien 2.0 looks awesome). Maybe I need to come up with a flashy pseudonym :)

  21. Crazy Horse January 22nd, 2014 8:16 pm

    How much does the major surgery from the knee down in order to fit a normal human to the boot add to the purchase price? Or do full size alien body clones come with it as standard equipment?

  22. Andy January 22nd, 2014 10:21 pm

    Mmmm… carbon. The one thing about this design that I like less than the Alien 1.0 is the durability standpoint. The plastic external shell of the 1.0s seems a lot better for scrambling than carbon… this is very much a race only boot. I feel like the designers of theses lovely carbon “shoes” should at least consider some sort of light-weight, replaceable, sacrificial outer layer when the intent is to head into the alpine rather than onto the rando race course… For 100g or so, one ought to be able to create a snap on outer shell, perhaps with some neoprene between the shell and toe to absorb impact when kicking steps, and would also shield at least the lower from rock/edge scuffs. Replaceable sacrificial outer layers could significantly extend the life of the boot. Heck, could do this as is with a set of 40Below outer boots to the tune of 335 grams per boot with the added advantage of toasty feet, but I think it could easily be done for half the weight…

    Andy

  23. Erik Erikson January 22nd, 2014 10:49 pm

    @ Andy: Did you actually experience carbon to be less durable / to wear off faster than pebax? It does not seem so regarding the carbon part of my tlt 5 performance, though I do a lot of scrambling and easy rock climbing in theese boots.

  24. Andy January 22nd, 2014 11:00 pm

    Erik,

    The cuffs are not such a big deal (typically shielded by pants, anyhow), though the cuff rivet on the TLT-5P is a different issue. I’ve just seen pics of a pair of sportiva stratos that got destroyed on an exit bushwhack from somewhere in the Cascades that made me really squeamish about the idea of scrambling over talus in $2k carbon footwear. The grilamid shells on my 5Ps held up quite admirably to all sorts of abuse. The failure mode of carbon composite is just not that forgiving of significant abrasion or sharp point loads.

  25. Lou Dawson January 22nd, 2014 11:24 pm

    Sorry guys for the confusion, yes, the older Lou should be posting as “Lou Dawson” and the younger as “Louie” or “Louis.” Don’t know why I wrote it out… too much traveling, probably.

  26. Erik Erikson January 22nd, 2014 11:27 pm

    Andy, thanks for the information and quick answer. Good to know that one has to be somewhat carefull with carbon parts. I for my self have only a one-year TLT 5 P experience concerning carbon parts.

  27. Lou Dawson January 22nd, 2014 11:35 pm

    I recall one of the Gignoux models had a rubber rand around the upper sides to enable use for rock scrambling, as indeed the durability of carbon against rock is a question. As for weight, including the Tronic No Hand lean lock in the Alien 2.0 most certainly adds weight over other methods of holding the cuff closed, which is probably why it perhaps has a few grams more than Gignoux. The racers and their coaches will probably decide what saves more time and we’ll see a trend, just as we did with the bellows boots going out of favor. Lou

  28. Erik Erikson January 23rd, 2014 1:54 am

    The carbon cuff of the TLT 5 P also has some thin plastic (?)- layer on the outside of the cuff (inside the surface is the carbon without any coating). The scratches and the wear of my tlt 5 p are clearly not deeper or more severe on the carbon cuff than the ones on the grillamid lower part (rather minor) . Maybe the layer really helps though it seems to be quite thin as said before.

  29. JCoates January 23rd, 2014 6:49 am

    Incredibly beautiful boots. I bet you they are as fast as they look. Did Scarpa steal some design engineers from Maserati or Ferrari? However, I once had a German mechanic tell me: “(those) cars are for looking at, not driving.” I agree, a light-weight plastic shell with a carbon cuff would give me more confidence before I went on a multi-day outing.

  30. Lou Dawson January 23rd, 2014 7:38 am

    JCoats, good insight, word is the carbon parts are made with some sort of association with Fejrrari or at least Formula 1 engineering. I’d agree they’re amazing looking boots, though I’m not sure my pace would do them justice. Lou

  31. Giordano January 23rd, 2014 7:45 am

    A race boot, it will be difficult to find other potential use for this, there a lot of touring boots with excelent characteristics out there.
    If you are able (as a producer) to manage carbon fiber you can do a resistant boot also for mountaineering and there are a number of example in this field :-) (la sportiva stratos-evo and cube, gignoux that is the first, carbon street, mereli m3d).

  32. TimZ January 23rd, 2014 8:17 am

    The stratos cube with kevlar incorporated into the carbon interests me.

    I also think it would not be hard to glue on a rubber rand on the carbon lower like the PG Mountain http://www.pierregignoux.fr/English/XpMountain.php

    But I don’t think it would be so simple to have it be removable for race day and have it be durable and stay put when scrambling.

    I’d like to see the design ideas from the 2.0 put back into a 0.2 or 1.2 version that would be a bit less expensive and more durable.

  33. aviator January 23rd, 2014 10:03 am

    not scrambling that much I admit but I’ve been using my full carbon gignoux 500 WITHOUT rubber for everything for a good while now.

    no cracks no wear.
    they are a lot tougher than people think they are.

    the only people I know of breaking them are racers in races.
    unless you have seen a skimo racer actually charge downhill that means nothing as a reference to most people touring the backcountry.

    the scarpa looks incredibly beefy in the cuff pivot compared to gignoux.

  34. LC January 23rd, 2014 10:45 am

    @Andy, I’ve seen broken carbon race boots AND broken plastic race boots. The beautiful thing about carbon is they’re repairable… I’ve seen a few carbon boots break only to be fixed with a little cf, some know how and sanding they are back to good as new. I think I’d actually be more inclined to buy a carbon race boot now than a plastic one because of repairability. If the plastic breaks they are done, not so with carbon.

    And those broken stratos boots? Yeah, they got fixed and are as good as new after some repair work.

  35. Andy January 23rd, 2014 12:52 pm

    @LC

    Interesting info. I’ve actually done a fair bit of composite fabrication and repair, so while intellectually I know the boots should be repairable, most of the fixes I’ve ever done are on thicker plies/sandwich structures where it’s a little easier to tie things back together. Are there any photos around of repairs in progress or repaired CF boots? Would love to see how the patch job was done and the appearance of the completed repairs. Thanks!

  36. TimZ January 23rd, 2014 12:56 pm

    @LC I’d also be very interesting in those photos as well.

  37. aviator January 23rd, 2014 1:39 pm

    the repairs done by gignoux are pretty much invisible, its very hard to spot the repairs tbh. but it doesnt really matter if its a boat or a boot, the basic principles in working with fiber and resin are the same.

  38. LC January 23rd, 2014 1:48 pm

    @Andy & TimZ, I don’t have any photos to share (not my boots) but I’ve seen the work and it’s solid. You can tell where the repair work was, so it looks different cosmetically but they are solid.

  39. Jason January 23rd, 2014 3:29 pm

    Seems like any sort of boot work will be either very time consuming or impossible for a normal shop to perform. I know even getting work done on my Alien 1.0 was tough because of the thin plastic and carbon stringers. Any idea on the last of these? Does it match the Alien?

Got something to say? Please do so.





Anti-Spam Quiz:


If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.
:D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
  
Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after we approve it. Once you've had one comment published, your comments will be pre-approved and appear immediately if you're using the same computer and not blocking browser cookies. NOTE however that ALL comments with one or more links in the text will be held for moderation no matter what, again for spam prevention.
Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

All material on this website online magazine is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked.. Permission required for reproduction, electronic or otherwise. This includes publication and display on other websites by whatever means. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

Backcountry skiing is a dangerous sport. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions or templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow its owners and contributors of any liability for use of said items for backcountry skiing or any other use.

Switch to our mobile site