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!”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.
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.)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?)