Mental problems can take many forms for backcountry and slackcountry skiers. Powder madness. Peak fever. Going postal at work from looking at powder trip reports while cubified. Insanity from 36 hour drives or 12:00 am starts. Thus, I wasn’t surprised when Garmont named their flagship beef boot “Delirium.” Check out our firstlook unboxing of the delirious Red Bombshell.
With a manufacturer claimed flex rating of 130, tall cuff, interchangeable sole blocks and more, this shoe is indeed crazy. One has to guess that Garmont took note of the beef boot craze and decided to simply make the proverbial alpine boot with a touring sole. Not faux, really. So they did.
While the market might be oversaturated at this point with big boots such as Delirium, that can only be a good thing for you hard chargers out there. No doubt you’ll find plenty of beef boot choices on the sale circuit. More, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a massive shoe that fits your feet and skis the way you want it to with minimal or no modifications. And if you want the latest, and one of the biggest, I mean, BIG, be sure to explore Delirium.
As we do with most new model boots, I torture tested the toe block tech fittings before proceeding with our first-look review. I’m happy to say that the Garmont toe fittings are quite strong. I levered up on the toe with my ANSI approved crow bar, and eventually popped the boot up out of the locked Dynafit toe unit I had screwed to a test ski. The force required to do this was immense.
Another important test for tech compatible boots is that toe fittings allow a smooth side release in tech bindings. Some tech fittings may look correct, but actually stick and can even block lateral release to the point of being dangerous. The Garmont toe fittings were sticky when first tested, but after a few releases to the side they broke in and loosened up enough to pass our scrutiny. That said, I’d rather see tech fittings come from the factory without the need for break-in, as some users may simply not remember to bench test and thus break in their release, but rather just grab their mounted skis and head out the door in a fog of powder delirium.
The lasting of the Delirium is interesting. Shell toe is wide enough to appear almost oddly blunt in comparison to typical Italian influenced ski boot lasting. Perhaps an American boot designer was involved who, while succumbing to espresso snobbery, stuck to his guns about how difficult pointy toed ski boots make for boot fitting and keeping your feet warm? Yeah, that’s probably what happened… Whatever the case, nice. Shell finish is lovely, a matt surface that speaks of serious freeride business, set off by clear PU windows that look, in a word, cool. A rubbery rim on the edge of the overlap seals things up and appears very high-tech. Plastics used are said by Garmont to be “selected technical polymers,” which we interpret from the babble to mean a mixture of PU and Pebax. The buckles appear to be average strength and delightfully easy to replace as they’re 100% fastened by screws and T-nuts. Upper buckles have the Garmont catch that holds the bail in no matter how loose, an important thing on this sort of boot as making it walk even half way efficiently requires loose cuff buckles, and without a retention system your buckles are going to end up flopping around or coming undone when you want them to keep the cuff gently closed.
Be clear that only super hardcores would want a boot this heavy for extensive backcountry skiing — Delirium weighs 5.4 lbs per boot (2449 grams), size 28.5 BSL 325 mm. What is more, you’re not going to experience anything approaching the lovely for/aft cuff motion that most modern dedicated touring boots now provide. Delirium rearward articulation goes to about 90 degrees (as pictured above). Forward movement, while it can be acceptable with loosened buckles, is also noticeably limited due to the shell tongue and beefy liner. In other words, an aggressive skier would need to look no farther than the Delirium for their resort or slackcountry boot, but for most folks this would not be a go-to for ski touring. More, this boot could also be quite popular with individuals such as ski patrollers or race coaches who need a boot that walks ok or tours on occasion, yet isn’t a backcountry skiing shoe but rather something that will hold up to a big day of resort laps.
Or perhaps this ski boot could even support the delirium of a freeride comp?
In other words, no need to wonder how the Delirium is purposed. It is simply an alpine boot with a cuff latch and swappable touring sole. Nicely done.
Available fall of 2011, Garmont website data.