Garmont Masterlite Boot Review — Power of Four Rando Race

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Shop for Garmont ski boots here.

My view on ultralight touring boots is that they need to be fast on the uphill, and simply get me through the downhills. Garmont Masterlights behaved that way — they definitely pulled through for me. Indeed, what better way to test a race oriented lightweight shoe then, well, race it? So yeah, along with a few training sessions I tested these guys and myself in what many are calling the toughest ski mountaineering race yet held in North America: 12,000+ vert, 26 miles, gnarly downhill sections. Humbling, to say the least. More info here, race photos by Jeremy Swanson Photography.

Descending Congo Road, Power of Four ski mountaineering race.

Myself and Masterlites descending Congo Road, Power of Four ski mountaineering race. Beyond speeding down Highland Bowl or the final section of steep bump sking on Aspen Mountain, Congo was a downhill crux. Some called it desperate, still others were never seen again after this section and thus their opinion was never known.

Weighing in at only 2.4 pounds, the Masterlights (size 28, BSL 314, tech bindings only) feel like sneakers on my feet. This made me smile thinking of how I would be able to run up the course of the “4-skin” as the race has already become known. I had my doubts about the downhill though. I have a downhill racing background. This means that the stiffer the boot the better. While most certainly the boot for rando racing, Masterlights don’t exactly fall into the “stiffest” category (note, the PU version is a bit stiffer and could be something to look at). I would have to make it work.

When it came to the uphill, however, Masterlite was all that I had hoped for. The Double Action Cuff Buckle was new to me, but I figured it out quite easily. Basically what this does is open at both ends of the buckle (the lever and latching ends). This means that when you take a stride the cuff can move about
twice as much as a buckle you have to leave loosely hooked to keep it ready to re-latch. Nothing has to be undone or unstrapped to set the Masterlite buckle to tour mode. Simply undo both sides and you are able to make huge strides. I was beyond happy to have this during the race. Being able to make bigger strides while skinning over 12,000 vert as fast as you can makes a HUGE difference.

Garmont Masterlite backcountry skiing boots.

Garmont Masterlite backcountry skiing boot, shown with 'double action buckle' in open position. The plastic slider on the bail can move around and get in the way, but is easily secured with a bit of duct tape. What is a ski boot without some duct tape, but a ski boots that is not getting used?

The rockered sole coupled with the wide open cuff also helped during the small bootpacking section up Highlands Bowl. I was easily able to skip every other step on the bootpack and fly up the bowl. Or at least it felt like that at that stage of the race.

Topping out on Richmond Ridge behind Aspen Mountain.

Topping out on Richmond Ridge behind Aspen Mountain. Last transition (number 11) soon to come. The boot did most of the transition tasks well, but getting the walk/ski mode switched to downhill was tricky. There might be mod for this, and if you're not racing it is something you would hardly notice.

Changing the Masterlights from walk to ski ski mode was the only thing I had real trouble with. Cinching down the buckles to tighten the cuff around my calf was easy as could be. I would then flip the mechanism into ski mode and flex the boot forward, but nothing would happen. It would never catch for me. What I ended up having to do was open up the buckles and push the back of the cuff forward with my hand while flexing in order to get it totally into ski mode. This is certainly not the easiest nor the fastest thing to do during a transition. Needless to say, on my 11th transition of the day I became quite annoyed with this.

Garmont Masterlite backcountry skiing boot.

Masterlite walk/ski mode machinery in walk position. To engage ski mode, small steel bar (left arrow) has to engage a tiny slot (right arrow). If the boot cuff is flexed aggressively forward, boot plastic may end up blocking engagement of mechanism, as could ice. Our take is that this elegantly designed machinery is excellent for lightweight touring, but it might need a bit more user friendly action for racing.

Now came the real test: skiing the Masterlights. To my amazement they downhilled quite well. They were nowhere near the performance of a plug boot or my AT beef boots, but they got the job done. The main thing I noticed was that I had to stay forward. Once I got a little into the backseat I’d get thrown a little. I had anticipated this though considering that the cuff height is quite lower than any other boot I ski. But since when is having to stay forward while skiing a bad thing? This might even help me develop good habits!

All in all I was pleasantly surprised by the Garmont Masterlights. They got me up all 12,800 vert of the the Power of Four Race, and down the cruel joke of the Silver Queen bump run during the last decent towards the finish with my legs feeling like total mush. The only gripe I had was the patience I needed in order to get everything dialed perfectly during the transitions.

The fact that the appearance of the boot made me feel a little like a skiing Michael Jackson is another blog post altogether. But I’ll share that they did make me feel like dancing, so I tried my best.

Finished, or more like survived. Myself and teammate Jordan White at the finish.

Finished, or more like survived. Myself and teammate Jordan White at the finish.

Garmont Masterlite (left) and PU Literider

Garmont Masterlite (left) and PU Literider are viable options for lightweight touring or rando racing. Literider weighs slightly more but is stiffer so could actually be a better option for some skiers.

Wildsnow take: At a weight of 42 ounces (1196 grams) per boot (size 28), we feel the overlap cuff two-buckle Masterlite is a relatively affordable way to enter the world of lightweight ski touring or rando racing as this shoe virtually equals the weight of other sometimes more expensive options. Shop for Garmont ski boots here.

(Guest blogger Anton Sponar spends winters enjoying the skiing ambiance of the Aspen area, while summers are taken up with slave labor doing snowcat powder guiding at Ski Arpa in Chile.)

Comments

44 Responses to “Garmont Masterlite Boot Review — Power of Four Rando Race”

  1. tony March 23rd, 2011 10:23 am

    Can you compare the foward flex of the Garmont boots to other lightweight options?

  2. Lou March 23rd, 2011 6:15 pm

    Tony, I have F1, TLT5P and the Masterlite here at HQ. I just messed around with them to check forward flex. My take is Masterlite is stiffer than F1 and about the same as TLT5 depending on if TLT5 has the extra tongue installed or not. Masterlight is stiffer than you’d expect, but as with most lightweight but stiff boots it doesn’t have much progressive flex.

    From experience, I’d say that HOW the boot skis overall with these lightweights is much more important than forward flex stiffness, but personal preference will of course vary.

    If you’re looking for lightweights, main thing is you owe it to yourself to check out Masterlite, in either Pebax or PU versions.

  3. honeymoons March 24th, 2011 10:09 am

    great article and some really cool photos on the link you provided. those boots look awesome, im going on a skiing honeymoon (well actually a twin centre so I get the best of best options) and thinking of hitting Big Sky so sweeping the net for some new kit when i go.

  4. Gentle Sasquatch March 24th, 2011 11:30 am

    When in tour mode can you comfortably stretch the backward lean so that you could stand comfortably?

    Can I count on these boots to have the extra width that Garmont is known for with respect to Scarpa and Dynafit?

  5. stephen March 25th, 2011 1:57 am

    Not a question about the boots but about rando racing. I gather that adjustable poles are verboten, and it seems like there are classical and skating sections in many events as well as the downhill bits… For me that’d be 150, 160 or 125cm, but I notice Dynafit racing poles seem to stop at 145cm. So, is the length used somewhere between alpine and classical XC length, or does it vary for different events or skiers???

  6. Pablo March 25th, 2011 5:16 am

    I also have a pair of Masterlites.
    To me they have a good front stifnes for good downhill action but you have to take a very agressive position because rearway the are not so stiff and you can end really seated on your skis…

    I don´t think they have the tipical “extra with” compared to dyanfit or Scarpa as usual in other Garmont models. But I did’nt try the TLT5….

    The design problem for me in this boots is the lower buckle…it’s sooooo small that activate it to grip mi thin foot it’s quite dificult…I cant activate it to the maximun due to a very small lever, so I change it to a very heavyweigth buckle from one of may old salomon alpine boots.

    Sorry for my bad english, hope you understand what I want to share with all of U.

  7. Lou March 25th, 2011 6:31 am

    Thanks Pablo, I like the idea of small minimalist buckles, but swapping on something else is a trivial boot mod so thanks for reminding everyone that can be done.

  8. aviator March 25th, 2011 7:05 am

    @stephen
    You see all kinds of pole lengths, I think it depends a lot on the skiers background, alpine skier = shorter poles, xc classic and skate = longer poles.
    Remember most top racers are extremely short and everybody wants to save every gram they can, you want to use the shortest pole length you can. Dynafit is not big on race gear, it’s the same with the skis, it’s one size fits all. Other brands have a much broader selection. Personally I think longer poles are always worth it if there is longer flat parts.

  9. stephen March 25th, 2011 7:55 am

    ^ Thanks aviator!

    We don’t have any rando racing here in Oz – closest is in NZ – so I’ve had no way to see any real-life action. Hadn’t realised it was an advantage to be short either. There must be something where it helps to be taller and thin, but haven’t found it yet.

  10. aviator March 25th, 2011 8:47 am

    @stephen
    Tall and thin is good for xc! look at Petter Northug and Marit Bjorgen!

    There’s tons of rando racing video on youtube, it’s never tagged as “rando racing” though.

    Search for the big competitions like:
    pierra menta (PM)
    PATROUILLE DES GLACIERS (PDG)
    Mezzalama

    And the big names like:
    Kilian Jornet

    Then pick up more good search words in the clip descriptions.
    When in doubt add “ski” to the search.

  11. stephen March 25th, 2011 10:08 am

    Thanks again – I’ll have a look at youtube.

    Unfortunately, I’m somewhat thinner, less muscular and older than Petter Northug, and lead weights and steroids sadly won’t fix all those problems.

  12. Greg Louie March 25th, 2011 12:08 pm

    stephen, you can probably save some time by just going to http://www.skimountaineering.org and scrolling through their blog – they usually have video of the major competitions linked from their site. You can avoid some of the bad video taken by spectators with their cell phones this way.

    Interesting that the winning teams at the Pierra Menta were both French/Spanish combinations this year (Jornet/Blanc for the men and Roux/Miro for the women); in the past the teams have always formed according to nationality . . .

  13. Jonathan Shefftz March 25th, 2011 12:57 pm

    “I gather that adjustable poles are verboten, and it seems like there are classical and skating sections in many events as well as the downhill bits… “
    - I went with xc classic length, which of course has the added advantage that I can just use my xc classic poles for rando racing. Some xc racers told me that a ski pole sized for all uphill should be a bit shorter, but then again with heel lifters I’m taller than on my xc gear, so I went with the typical xc classic sizing charts.
    - As for skating sections, I doubt any race has enough of that to merit going with a different pole length.
    - Skiing downhill with such long poles is weird at first, but, you’ll get used to it…

  14. aviator March 25th, 2011 12:58 pm

    @ greg l
    yeah, that is weird, they invest a lot of time and training together as a team but they can’t compete like that in all the competitions?

  15. aviator March 25th, 2011 1:03 pm

    @jonathan
    on the down, do you hold your xc poles at the top or further down?
    also are they xc racing 100% carbon poles?
    can you trust them doing jump turns?

  16. Jonathan Shefftz March 25th, 2011 1:18 pm

    I hold them at the top — for grasping them lower down somewhere on the shaft, too worried I might drop one, plus the shaft above my grip pivoting back & forth seems like it would be a problem.
    I’ve never worried about jump turns. Last year’s rando race at Magic had all three descent laps on a trail that probably is in the true high 30s, with all sorts of weird little cliffs and ice bulges that are way more than that. If you google “thunderbolt ski run 2011 race” you can see a picture of me this year at another race with the left pole held very high because of the sidehill! (Be sure to scrolll down the bottom for the “Capture the King” link – last year’s “King” clearly didn’t know about rando race gear threatending to usurp his throne.)
    Model is Leki Pro Carbon (and HM Carbon for skate). I bought them just b/c I needed new poles for xc one season and the pro price was cheap! But I then realized the Trigger system was really good for rando racing, since you just click in & out, without having to undo the all-encompassing nordic strap. Since then I’ve noticed (via the color scheme) that lots of WC rando racers use Leki, I suspect for this reason. (Although I think some other xc cf poles might have similar strap/grip systems now?)

  17. aviator March 25th, 2011 2:22 pm

    @jonathan
    Very interesting stuff.
    How long are your poles and how tall are you?
    I’m 6’1(185cm) so I would use 165 classic and 175 skate.

    I use 155 now, that’s the longest I feel I can handle when it’s steep, but maybe that’s all in my head? I’ve been trying a lower grip on 165 poles but it feels weird having that extra length “in yo face”. I should probably push myself holding them at the top some more and see if I can get used to it?

    I definitely miss that extra length going fast on the flats and even more than that when skating.

    So when you don’t worry about the jump turns? That means you’re confident in your poles? Or does it mean you don’t want to think about it? :mrgreen:

    Been looking at that LEKI trigger system, how much weight does it add? Have you “din tested” them? What’s the RV? :D
    Been thinking about thin “fuse” strings instead.
    Soo many questions, sorry…

  18. Jonathan Shefftz March 25th, 2011 2:34 pm

    I’m 5’8″ – the various charts and formulas show 152-159cm for skate and 142-147cm for classic, with a consensus around 145 & 155 (respectively), which is what I aimed for (poles were kits, so cut to preferred length), although I think I ended up a bit on the high side for skate and the low side for classic.
    Jump turns are so much easier on rando race gear that I don’t notice any ski pole length disadvantage. The only noticeable disadvantage is sometimes in moguls when your skis are in the trough but the pole tip ends up on the crest of a mogul (i.e., when your shoulder is much closer to the “ground” than it usually is).
    The Leki xc trigger system definitely adds no weight, but it’s also definitely *not* a fuse – like all xc race strap/grip systems designed for a super-secure connection, the RV if anything is probably much higher than your rotator cuff and various upper-body parts! (That Thunderbolt race started off with a very narrow section, and I did start worrying about the consequences if a pole basket got caught on the assorted shrubbery…)

  19. aviator March 25th, 2011 3:04 pm

    Oh I think some charts (and even actual people like me!) go 5-10cm higher than that. Chin for classic, nose for skate. Especially for classic nowadays, but obviously it has to stop somewhere, we can’t just go longer and longer forever!

    So it’s the 145 you are using for rando? Not that far away from my 155 for me then. Have you ever experimented with your skate 155 for rando? Too extreme?

    The jump turn question was about risk of breaking thin xc carbon poles, not the length since you plant it below you.
    It’s my impression rando race poles are beefier because of this?
    Carbon XC poles really break at nothing.

    I must be confused. LEKI definitely has spring loaded fuse straps on alpine poles. Maybe they weren’t called trigger though?

  20. Jonathan Shefftz March 25th, 2011 3:20 pm

    Where are you getting 165/175 classic/skate for 6’1″? The range I get for you is 152-158 classic & 165-171 skate. I think any longer skate lengths are outdated. (“For skating, poles should come up to your chin or lower lip. This is much shorter than skating poles used to be, but the technique has evolved to a faster tempo, and shorter poles are lighter as well as quicker to move.”)
    And yes, the ~145cm is what I use for rando, so that’s the equivalent of 155cm for your height. I see no need to go any longer than my classic length, since skinning is very similar to xc classic in terms of pole use.
    I’m not familiar with the Leki alpine trigger system. Might be entirely different than xc race.
    The force exerted on the pole by a jump turn is nothing compared to sustained V-1 skating up a steep hill. But nordic cf poles were definitely not intended for interaction with metal ski edges! (And for any readers who aren’t familiar with xc ski racing, snapped poles from “interaction” with other racers is such a problem that racers are allowed to grab a substitute pole mid-race, with coaches standing by the side of the course with loaners.) But even after years of racing and training with the same poles, so far so good. (I hope that doesn’t jinx me for tomorrow’s season finale!)

  21. stephen March 25th, 2011 5:42 pm

    ^ Just make sure you don’t fall on the pole with a ski edge – that’s guaranteed instant failure! The two poles I’ve broken in 30+ years died during XC races on difficult downhills where I caught them with the not-very-sharp Ptex edges.

    Aviator, I was thinking you were using really long poles for your height too, but I know one person my height (180cm) who used to use 175 skating poles. At the time I was on 165, which was then supposed to be the right length. I ended up switching to 160 after seeing that chin height poles were supposed to be better for loppets, and this was much better for me, being a high-cadence ectomorph. This is what the charts now recommend too.

    The present Australian XC team coach is getting our world cup skiers on even shorter poles, with more forward lean and a higher cadence. This really seems to work if you are fit enough(!). For me that would mean 155-158cm poles. Haven’t tried cutting them down yet, but am inclined to think a pair of 157-158cm might be good for hillier and shorter events.

    Re rando gear it looks like I should try the classical poles with the light skis this winter. Now I just have to figure out how to make lightweight tech bindings from wire, duct tape and zip ties!

  22. aviator March 25th, 2011 6:06 pm

    Wait, lemme go actually measure my poles, I must be way off here, I’m estimating relative to my adjustable touring poles that are marked.
    And I haven’t looked at charts or my skate poles for years.

  23. Pierpaolo March 28th, 2011 8:18 am

    Is there any problem about the front flex in walk mode?
    Here, in the north est of Italy, nobody is buying these boots, because they say that they are too stiff, while in walk mode. Nothing to do with the 60^ angle permitted by TLT5.
    What do you think about this?
    Thank you in advance
    Pierpaolo

  24. Lou March 28th, 2011 8:25 am

    Pier, they have a more “average” cuff movement in walk mode. Once you’re spoiled by boots such as TLT5, Masterlite can feel like the walk mode is a bit stiff, but nonetheless it still works fine. To Garmont’s credit here, I think what they are offering is a VERY lightweight boot that is quite affordable. It’s not carbon fiber, it doesn’t have the cuff movement of the TLT5, but it works.

  25. tOM April 18th, 2011 5:02 am

    I’ve logged somewhere around thirty miles in my now broken in masterlites. I find the cuff articulation to be noticeably better than the F3′s. They articulate rearward very freely and forward as well up to the point of contacting the fixed forward panel, then the resistance increases quickly. This seems to work fine for hiking to me since what I need is rear cuff movement for flat & downhill, while the amont of forward movement combined with the rocker is about ideal for booting, skinning & hiking upward. The stock liners are wonders for hiking freedom. Too bad I couldn’t get them to fit. They did not puff up at all like Intuition liners and so while I could use footbeds to get my foot to fit there remained way too much volume around my chicken ankles to be skiable. I ended up remolding the liners from my F3′s and then an older pair of Intuition “Luxury” liners to fit me in these boots. Using the luxury liners improves the ski performance of the masterilte considerably with barely noticeable tradeoff while skinning. They still hike well, but not sneakerlike,(as when using the stock liner-if you fit). In anticipation of a long spring season, I bit the bullet and bought a pair of Intuition “Pro Tour” liners. I’ve skied the boots twice with the Pro Tours and they do improve skinning slightly, hiking is near “sneakerlike” and they ski pretty good. However, these amazingly light boots feel more secure, have a better flex and to me do not feel like I’m compromising the downhill, (much, if at all), with the stiffer beefier Luxury liners. I’ll enjoy the Tour Pro’s when there are long hikes though.

    The only problems I’ve had are the lower buckle and the tour/ski lever. The lower buckle needs to be a micro-adjustable with a solid pin to engage the ladder. There is just too much difference in tension between the notches in the ladder. Further, if you use a lower tension on the lower buckle while locked down for skiing, the cable pops out of the ladder too easily. This is in part due to the radius on the corners of the reinforced cable not allowing it to seat all the way into the ladder notch. The ski/tour lever works fine but has a few drawbacks. It is counter intuitive, in that it is flipped up to go down and down to go up, the opposite of every other boot I’ve owned. I’ve got used to that and it’s not a deal breaker. The lever is vulnerable to being damaged while in tour mode. I often lock my heel with cuff loose and in tour to bushwhack or scoot through rolling terrain. I managed to flop during one such session and the lever got forced downward past it’s stops. It still works, but has to be manually lifted outward from ski mode since the damage. Last, pant cuffs can catch on the lever while in tour mode and flip it into ski mode. This does not happen often, but it is annoying. I’ve taken to snapping my snow cuffs around the ankle above the lever & this seems to negate the offending tendancy. I wish there were some rubber under the instep. The thin shells are taking a fair amount of abuse from skree hiking already. I may look into some way of bonding something through the vulnerable areas;(open for suggestions on this one). One last potential negative is the wonderfully small footprint of this boot. My crampons love the svelt forefoot, the heel, not so much. The heel is so narrow it doesn’t nest firmly, though it’s not been a problem yet.

    I spoke with Garmont USA about my damaged lever and they have mailed me out a relacement and a spare. They are great with customer support by the way. I’m told they are already planning to change the lower buckle and the ski/tour lever, even better, they should be retro-fittable to boots already produced.

    All the best, tOM

  26. Lou April 18th, 2011 6:59 am

    Tom, thanks, excellent testing and feedback.

    I’m with you on the liners. I too have chicken legs and feet, and rarely find a stock liner that puffs up enough for me. I said a long time ago that in the ideal fantasy ski world, they’d sell boots just as shells and you’d buy the liner as a separate purchase. That way a good shop could have a selection of liners to choose from at first fitting…

    I can hear the retailers screaming already…

    The tough thing for boot makers is they are forced into providing boots for a “phantom foot” that’s a sort of weird ideal average, assumption being that most people who try the boot on in the shop will be close enough to that “average” to have the boot feel “good” without any sort of fitting or molding.

    I’ve always felt this phantom last deal was ridiculous and that there must be a better way. The WildSnow crystal ball says the situation will change eventually, perhaps by having liners that can be molded nearly instantly and can be molded as many times as needed without compromise. In this case, a shop could have all liners separated from their boots. When a customer came in, they’d first fit the shell, then fit a liner, and before that customer could even blink they’d be molding the liner. Only after that process would the customer finally walk the boot around for the “carpet evaluation.”

    I’m thinking super fast liner molding. Perhaps a microwave heater that puffed the liners in 30 seconds, while they’re inside the boot shell?

  27. stephen April 23rd, 2011 1:09 pm

    ^ Of course, the other option would be for all the boot shell manufacturers to offer Intuition liners…

    Seems like everyone who didn’t like their stock liners has managed to get some sort of Intuition liners to do the job. Very few (if any) people seem to say anything negative about them.

    Another alternative would be to just include a voucher for “$x” worth of liners with the boot, redeemable at the point of sale.

  28. tOM June 26th, 2011 11:12 am

    A few more notes on the Garmont Masterlites. I’ve been getting out a fair amount this spring including Shasta twice so far and have never had happier feet. FWIW, I’m wearing 26.0 Masterlites with the spoiler, stock powerstrap a 26.0 Intuition tour-pro with insoles and my low volume size 9b feet fit well. A lot of folks out on the trail have asked me about the forward flex on these boots while in hike mode since they’ve heard that they are lacking in that aspect. With the top buckle flipped open and the power strap as loose as it can get, I can easily flex my knees four+ inches forward of my toes. That’s as far as I can flex without boots on. Obviously they hike well in this configuration. If I’m hiking/climbing a long way I’ve taken to putting a small piece of duct tape across the recess that the heel lock drops into then flip the lever to ski mode so it’s less vulnerable and the boot can’t accidentally go into ski mode. REMEMBER TO TAKE THE TAPE OFF BOTH BOOTS BEFORE YOU DROP! I’ve also duct taped over the lock mechanism on the inside of the boot to prevent further abrasion to the heel of my liners.

    If you can find these boots on the cheap and you can get a fit, snatch them up, your feet will thank you.

    All the best, tOM

  29. Lou June 27th, 2011 8:11 am

    In my own testing, the overlap cuff configuration allowed plenty of forward movement if unbuckled. Could be tuned by trimming some plastic according to taste. Best thing about this boot in my opinion is its simplicity. Very elegant, I hope they keep it in production and tweak it. Would really be cool if they made the lower out of Grillamid (the stiffer plastic the industry is using for some of the other lightweight boots).

  30. Willis Richardson July 11th, 2011 8:47 pm

    The design of the boot is terrific but the boot has major problems, the poor buckles desaign, the liner that is cheap for which Garmont is know for

    and the boot leaks from the cuff like a sieve. I used the boot straight out of the box with no heating of the liner. One use and the liner was useless. It collapsed became misshaped as if I had over heated them. The buckles don’t stay closed in the tour mode and the lower buckle won’t stay closed on the downhill. The boot is very responsive and great to ski but the problems overshadow its pluses. I hope Garmont fixes the problems because the design and comfort of the boot is great but if it is the same in 2012, I will be looking to another brand. I see no reason to pay the price and then have to purchase another liner. I have already talked to the shop and they are sending mine as well as several other pairs back to Garmont. The quality at this point is really garbage.

  31. tOM October 30th, 2011 10:46 am

    Willis is pretty much right on with respect to the liners, next to useless for most as they really don’t puff up like an Intuition liner does. Since my feet almost always need extra care, I end up with Intuition liners in all my boots and fit them myself for best results.

    I didn’t track days last year, but had well over 40, maybe 60, with most of them in these boots; including half a dozen trips up Shasta with plenty of postholing to white ice conditions and had little to no problems with leaking. I do wish the rubber sole covered more of the bottom since the already thin shells have taken a bit of a beating from scree that could have been prevented with a true mountaineering sole.

    IMO, doing the cuff alighnment mod was a waste of time, it gained me little if any canting. Fortunately the liners afforded plenty of canting to compensate for my bow legged stance.

    The buckles and cuff lock need a retrofit/desighn change, but these aren’t deal breakers for me. The duct tape for the cuff as mentioned in my earlier post is getting me by without too much hassle and for the lower buckles: Take some 3mm bungee cord, tie a loop, push a bite under the buckle ladder through the slot from underneath the catch you’ll use for latching, with the knot below, latch the buckle, and pull a “locking lark’sfoot over the latch to hold it in, then stretch the left over loop over the lever. If tied the right length it will stay snug and you can use it to attatch your ski leash to. It’s a “fix” of a sort, though it really shouldn’t need to be done if the buckles were working as they should.

    I got these boots pretty well discounted and love them for their simple design and good performance with light wieght so am willing to put up with the rest for now. With addressing the shortcomings Garmont could have a great ski-mountaineering boot; cuff lock, bottom buckle/latch, a light full sole with a rand and while they’re at it, seal the opening in the heel better to make everyone happy.

    Just some thoughts, tOM

  32. Gentle Sasquatch October 30th, 2011 5:06 pm

    Does anyone know where can I order Intuition Liners on line?

  33. Lou October 31st, 2011 8:52 am

    Thanks Tom! Good info.

  34. Lou October 31st, 2011 8:55 am

    Sasquatch, Scarpa does sell their own branded Intuition liner. Not sure where you’d get that online, nor regular Intuitions. Try contacting Intuition directly and asking them where the heck you can get their stuff! Also, their website has a list of retailers, perhaps some sell online.

    http://www.intuitionliners.com/

    Lou

  35. Patrick Jackman October 31st, 2011 10:27 am

    And they’re sometimes available used.

    Several pairs can be found here: http://www.mec.ca/AST/ContentPrimary/Community/GearSwap/Snowsports/Boots.jsp

  36. tOM November 2nd, 2011 6:25 pm

    Oops; edit to my last post. The first line in second paragraph should have read I had well over 40 days, maybe 60,(last season), with “most” of them in these boots.

    Sorry for the misinformation, tOM

  37. Lou November 2nd, 2011 6:57 pm

    Got it for you tOM! Lou

  38. Xranz December 10th, 2011 5:59 am

    there was an update of the boot, also available for older (at least in Italy). Here’s how I modified the old with the new buckles. However it is worth only for the lower buckle that has a micrometer adjustment. The new upper buckle with string is less cumbersome to open but not close the boot, or unusable for skinny legs.
    http://forum.thetop.it/viewtopic.php?t=7505

  39. tOM December 11th, 2011 7:34 pm

    Lou, I took a few photos of the mods that are working well for me with my Masterlites. A picture being worth a thousand words coupled with my “challenged” writing makes me want to send you some pics first after which I’ll be happy to explain some of the details if you’d like.

    FWIW, tOM

  40. dmr November 17th, 2012 7:59 am

    Bumping an oldie but a goodie.

    First of all, informative posts from a year ago.

    A few quick questions:
    *In terms of longevity/durability, how are the Masterlites holding up for those who have put a lot of mileage on their boots?

    *Any long term issues regarding crampons or scrambling with these boots?

    *Given the recent news regarding the Cosmos tech fittings, any issues with the tech fittings on these boots? (I have a potential opportunity to pick up an almost unused pair from the 2011-12 season for a good price.)

    I currently ski on Skookums, so would continue to use those depending on conditions. I’m looking into a pair of Masterlites for days when the snow is crappy and I’m looking to ski a lot of vert up regardless of the quality of the descent, and for multi-day trips in the spring.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.

    Cheers.

  41. Lou Dawson November 18th, 2012 4:31 pm

    DMR, the Masterlights we had here didn’t have any tech fitting issues that I recall, but I could have missed it… we don’t have them around anymore. Lou

  42. dmr November 18th, 2012 11:57 pm

    Thanks, Lou!

    Cheers.

  43. Sedgesprite March 21st, 2013 10:12 am

    Masterlite notes- They continue to be head-turners because of their color and web-like structure. And jaws still drop when they are hefted. The stock liners were modified by Bob Egeland of Boulder Orthotics and while thin, are still providing comfortable fit and warmth, 50+ days into the season. A good boot for powder or firm surfaces, the design weakness shows in heavy wet snow, crud and breakthrough crust. There is no back seat. During panicky leanbacks and speed diffusing arcs across the slope the upper cuff can slide over the lower shell and locks into a hyper extended position. Rookie error, leaning that far back, sadly, not what you want. Unbuckling and reset required to continue skiing. I still love the boots and wont trade them, but they are not perfect. Installation of power strap did not reduce the problem.

  44. Willis Richardson March 21st, 2013 6:26 pm

    Well, Garmont discontinued the boot anyway. Too bad really because the boot had real potential. It is now a non-started since discontinued. I really liked the boot. Had Garmont fixed the buckles and liner they would have had a winner for a long time. I think it’s typical of manufacturers today which is probably an issue of cost, dump the product, warranty the disasters and move on. The world is now a flux center, nothing is no longer than a season, long or short.

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