Scarpa Gea RS Review – WildSnow Girl Dance Ticket


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Julie Kennedy

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Julie Kennedy having fun with her two new knees and a pair of Scarpa Gea RS.

I was born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. Our family adventures to the slopes of Northern Michigan are where the real magic began. My enthusiastic parents introduced me to alpine skiing at the age of four and that was it. Little did I know how that first moment I felt my skis floating down the massive 300 foot slopes at the Otsego Ski Resort would shape my life.

School –- I got through it and boogied directly to Aspen, Colorado at the ripe age of 19. I lived the life of a committed ski bum, teaching for the Aspen Ski Company (that was the name at the time) and working evening restaurant shifts so I could master my passion for skiing and a life adventuring in the Elk Mountains.

What makes me the most happy is skiing blower powder day after day and that is what I was so fortunate to experience on this winter’s trip to interior British Columbia, Canada. My first ski turns of the year were turns I will never ever forget –- there I was about to drop into the deepest turns of my life with two brand new knee replacements and a new pair of demo boots that I had fitted but not skied before.

I said to myself “Just go girl go, you have worked hard for this moment”. With a bit of trepidation I jumped in right behind my 22-year-old son, Hayden. I hit an unexpected pillow that created significant impact on my knees, which would have taken me totally out of my game with the old hinges. Once I quickly made the connection, impact – no pain, I opened it up full throttle only to catch Hayden’s white smoke. Tears of joy overcame me. My dance was finally back!

In addition to how incredibly grateful I felt to have all of my body parts working, about those test boots: Skiing on the Scarpa Gea RS was quite something. Having skied in the backcountry for over 35 years I have never felt an AT boot ski with such high performance, much like an alpine boot. My first words we’re “Wow, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way these boots ski!”

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After three weeks of uphilling in Canada, Julie's feet were comfy and ready for more. The Scarpa Gea RS comes with a moldable Intuition liner.

Never before have I ever been able to start my day ski touring without the endless taping of my heels. For the three weeks of skiing, with only a few rest days, my feet felt and looked like they had been in flip flops. The Scarpa Gea RS is a very comfortable AT boot. With deep, deep snow and very cold temperatures, my toes were never cold. The ease of going from touring mode to ski mode was super fast and simple, while the lightness and ankle articulation made the long hikes enjoyable. For my style the flex was perfect; a feeling of precise edge control while driving my skis, and in this case with more speed than I’d usually carry in the backcountry.

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Nice fitting indent which formed when the Intuition liner, standard for the Scarpa Gea RS, was molded in a boot oven. Most people will do fine with a blower stack molding, but in our opinion the oven does better when used by a professional.

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To ensure that Julie's slender heels would stay snug and blister free, bootfitter Bob Egeland of Boulder Orthodics, added thin L-pads. This mod is problematic as additional foam on a boot liner sometimes gets peeled off during hiking or can even cause pressure spots that exacerbate blister problems. But in this case it was the right call and a coverage of duct tape prevented the peeling problem.

seam

As a final touch, Bob pounds some of the seams with a hammer, something he does on most new liners to ensure smooth contact with the foot.

The only feature of the Gea that doesn’t thrill me is the design of the tongue. While the closure system and rigid plastic and side hinges provides the stiffness and support I like for the downhill, I find it cumbersome to get in and out of. To open the tongue completely, you have to untangle it from the stiff upper cuff buckle and ankle strap. I’ve pinched my fingers more than once opening and closing it. I’m not sure what the solution is, probably just memorizing a specific sequence to open and close. In all, I’d say to any potential shoppers that’s a small price for the performance vs weight ratio you’ll get with these boots. Highly recommended.

(Editor’s note: We have these Scarpa Gea RS in the WildSnow HQ test fleet and they’ve been skied probably 60 days now. While problems with the tongue hinge durability have been reported, we’ve had no issues of that sort with our demos. They’re definitely one of our small quiver of go-to boots.)

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Scarpa Gea RS

The boots have been selling fast. You may be able to find a pair here. Good luck!

(Guest WildSnow Girl Julie Kennedy is founder of the 5Point Film Festival in our home base town of Carbondale Colarado, and proud mother of alpinist Hayden Kennedy. Her husband is kind of cool as well, but he’s not a WildSnow Girl. Julie’s main question: Do they allow uphilling at Otsego?)

Comments

8 Responses to “Scarpa Gea RS Review – WildSnow Girl Dance Ticket”

  1. Tim K February 27th, 2013 2:56 pm

    My G-friend is as happy with hers as you sound like you are with yours…. It’s probably the first ski boot in over 25 years of dating her… that she hasn’t bitched about…. for weeks(mostly alpine boots) …. she has pretty much gone to using them for lift serv skiing as well, thats how much she likes them

  2. Ellen February 27th, 2013 5:32 pm

    My friend loves her Geas for how light they are and how well they ski and tour. She has last year’s green model though and has broken that middle buckle twice now which is a bit of a bummer. I tried this boot on and could tell it was stiff enough despite how light it was, BUT it was way too narrow and also rubbed the top of my foot, an issue i know other women have also experienced. Of course everyone has different feet and for some women this boot fits fine. I have flat feet though and so I was really surprised of the pain on the top of my foot. I am lucky to have the option of mens boots since I have big feet, 26, so looking forward to demoing the Maestrales which seemed to have more volume. Thanks for this review. Always good to see women on this site!

  3. Lou Dawson February 27th, 2013 5:51 pm

    Ellen, we try to mention fit as little as possible due to the fact that yes, all feet are different. But it’s worth mentioning in the feedback as you did, so thanks. And of course Julie mentioned in review, though we toned that down a bit. The issues you bring up can be easily fixed by a boot fitter for all but a minority of folks. So don’t get scared off from the Gea. Also, everyone should remember that a boot that feels to be perfect width in an unmodified shop shelf fit is usually too big. As the boot fitters say, the dreaded “boot wall” has resulted in more poorly fitted and miss-sized boots than any other single factor in the history of skiing.

    Thanks for the comment, lots of girls around here (grin).

    Lou

  4. Lisa Dawson February 27th, 2013 6:27 pm

    Hi Ellen, thanks for your comment!

    When Bob was working with Julie to fit the boots, he asked about pressure points and added thin rubber padding to those areas when he molded the liners. After molding, he pounded down areas when thread bunches up, such as where the seams intersect which really helped to eliminate any hot spots. Julie also said the liners packed down a bit after she wore them, which usually happens with new liners.

    From personal experience with my own boots, I can tell you that it’s worth the investment to work with a boot fitter. Good luck to you and happy turns!

  5. Shawn February 27th, 2013 8:14 pm

    Make sure the boots are in walk mode when opening the tongue. Helps to be able to get the boot upper back to open the lower. That said my Maestrale’s in size 28.5 are much easier to open than my better half’s 23.5 Gea RS. Well worth the fit and the way they ski though. First boots that haven’t torn her feet to part with blisters. Disclaimer…she still did tape her heels on our hut trip as prevention for 8 straight days. If you tape I can’t say enough for the tape she just discovered…Leukeotape P. Stayed on 3+ days at a time through touring, sauna and shower.

  6. Amy February 28th, 2013 1:49 pm

    The Gea treated me right last season and the Gea RS continues to keep my feet happy. While I found the Gea to be stiff enough for occasional resort skiing the added stiffness of the RS is right at home on wide skis and choppy snow. Same walk mode, high-end liner, Vibram soles, and awesome walk mode but with beefier buckles and plastic.

    I actually found Gea models wide enough (once heat molded) for my ‘square’ D width feet. Be sure and talk with a boot fitter about just how much you can expand the Intuition liners. Last season when I skied the Gea unmolded to figure out where the hot spots where I cried all the way up the glacier. It was unbearable. However, once molded I can stand in the the Gea (and now the Gea RS) all day and into the night (snow camping) with happy feet. If I hadn’t been confident in the molding process I absolutely would have bought the boot a shell size too big simply because the width felt tight.

    I modified mine slightly by taking the front buckle (and rivet) off. In a size 23.5, the fourth toe buckle seemed useless (it was less than an inch away from the second buckle and just got in the way and made weird clicking noises) Zero performance issues, for me the RS is plenty stiff.

  7. Lisa February 28th, 2013 2:37 pm

    Shawn, I skied in the Scarpa Gea RS today and followed your advice about having the boot in walk mode when opening the tongue. It was noticeably easier. Thanks for the helpful tip.

  8. Lou Dawson February 28th, 2013 2:42 pm

    Amy, removal of vestigial buckle is highly recommended. Good on you for doing it.

    All, fitting of Gea to wider foot is something a good boot fitter can do in their sleep. If necessary, the shell is easy to punch, and length of shell can be varied to end up with wider or narrower width at ball of foot and at heel pocket. But as Amy says, frequently it’s just a matter of getting a proper mold done.

    Lou

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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.

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