Scott — and RIP Garmont Ski Boots, More Info


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  
Myself (right) and Herve, talking ski boots and skis.

Myself (right) and Herve Maneint of Scott, talking ski boots and skis.

I’ve changed my tune a bit at Outdoor Retailer trade show. Rather than singing along with 300 other bloggers about the latest water bottle, I’m attempting to dig a little deeper. Success with that can be mixed. Like yesterday. I had one meeting that was so secret I’m not allowed to even think about it (except to say that the world of a certain avalanche safety device will soon change forever). But as compensation I got to spend quite some time with Herve Maneint, Scott Footwear Division Manager.

Subject at hand was of course the formerly Garmont boots and what they’re doing about the funky tech fittings. What is more, I got a good glimpse of Scott’s ski gear design culture.

The history of the Garmont boot tech inserts is odd. According to Herve (I thought this to be possibly apocryphal), the release resistant tech fittings that ended up in Garmont’s backcountry skiing boots were actually designed by intent, to have more resistance to release so they’d work better in tour mode; not popping out of the binding toe as easily. But the design tweak didn’t quite work, as the angle of the release resistance ended up compromising the ski-mode release as well. What’s more, the fittings ended up having the rattle and play we documented some time ago. In all, what we view as a colossal fail.

So, while the boys at Garmont basically did the ostrich thing when we brought up the fitting/insert issues, Scott is 100% acknowledging that the toe fittings don’t work in the way they or myself feel they should. Though yes, they’ll function for some retail customers who don’t mind the play and do enough release checks to chamfer off the edges of the insert for smoother release.

Solutions: What I gathered is that returned Garmont boots from retailers will be taken out of the pipeline. Some boots used as demos and samples will receive machining of the inserts so they’ll have proper release function, but there will not be a customer return and get your boots fixed type of situation. According to Herve, it’s simply too involved and expensive to run their specially built milling machine on hundreds of pairs of boots. Meanwhile, Scott seems to know how inserts should function, and Herve says they’re looking for a good manufacturer, either a factory in Taiwan or in Italy. All boots manufactured by Scott that go into retail next fall will have the new inserts. He said they might have samples of the new inserts by March or April this year, and we could possibly have some at WildSnow HQ to evaluate by then.

Main thing: Herve lives in Chamonix and his product testing involves both himself ski touring, as well as using a test team of some truly badass extreme skiers and guides. While some of those guys don’t give a rip how their bindings release (if ever), overall that culture knows how a tech binding and boot system should function, so I’m fairly confident we’ll see some exemplary product from Scott.

As for Cosmos and Celeste boots (and perhaps other formerly Garmont models), let me repeat again that other than the fubar fittings these boys and girls are state-of-art AT footwear. When you’re shopping for boots next fall, give them a look as their combination of weight savings and stiffness is impressive, and they of course have a different last than other brands so you might get a better fit. Indeed, with the resources of Scott behind doing improvements, Scott could quickly fly as a major performer in the AT boot circus (and a circus it will be, trust me, every ski boot company out there seems to suddenly be entering the ring).

Buy Garmont boots here.

Scott ski mountaineering and alpine skis, many perfect for backcountry skiing.

As a value added for this post, check out Scott's ski wall.

Herve was also kind enough to walk me through their ski line for a few minutes. With Chamonix as a test bed, his ski mountaineering designs trend to performance on steeper hard snow, while tweaked to be fun in powder as well. He’s adamant about too much rocker in a ski being “stupid, stupid” (said with a French accent). Why? Because they work against you when you’re dealing with dangerous steep hard conditions. I’d agree with that, and offer that the days of one ski that does everything perfectly are still far in the future. A bunch of rocker can be fun — but.

In terms of specific Scott ski models, I’ll not drone on with a complete overview. Rather, the planks towards the middle of the photo with the little triangular graphics are the attention grabbers. They’re full carbon with a light wood core. Not as lightweight as some of the other carbon offerings out there, but presumably offering an awesome performance/weight ratio. They’re specific ski mountaineering skis, with a small amount of rocker, but again designed so you can get down some hairball pitch in Cham without taking your last ride. I particularly liked the “Powd’Air” model, with a 98 waist it’s in that realm where a true touring ski should be, with a bit of rocker but not too much. Scott’s skis are made in Austria, by Fisher. That’s a good thing as well. Austrians tend to make decent planks, at least when they get done skiing and eating St Johannes wurstel.

Comments

43 Responses to “Scott — and RIP Garmont Ski Boots, More Info”

  1. Martin January 24th, 2013 8:51 am

    … you mean the secret that airbags will be replaced with fans in jackets really soon? That’s what people tell here in Europe…

  2. stewspooner January 24th, 2013 8:51 am

    Lou, I do appreciate your in-depth reporting, but can’t find a credible overview of backcountry specific gear at the OR show. What with the demise of Teton AT, and the change in focus of Straightchuter, who’s going to provide this if not you? What about a guest blogger for this sort of thing?

  3. Kilroy January 24th, 2013 8:59 am

    Lou,

    Just to clarify, the boots are still going to be manufactured in Italy, but they’re just looking for a good manufacturer for the tech fittings in either Taiwan or Italy?

    Also, Garmont is still going to make the boots, but they’re just going to be labeled Scott in the North American markets?

    Thanks

  4. Lou Dawson January 24th, 2013 9:05 am

    Kilroy. Yes and no. Emphatically YES AND NO. Scott boots will be made in Montebelluna by the Italian boot mafia, desgined by Scott emplolyees and made in a facotry of their choosing. Garmont will totally NOT be making the boots, though I’m sure some of the same people will be involved, after all, it’s Montebelluna.

    Know that Garmont will still exist as a separate footwear brand, but only making and selling shoes, no ski boots.

    Scott will get the fittings made by whoever can do the best job for them, as Herve said, in either Taiwan or Italy. Let’s hope Italy, they need the work more than Taiwan.

    Lou

  5. Lou Dawson January 24th, 2013 9:10 am

    Stew, thanks for asking about that. I’m not sure exactly what you mean but I think you’re talking about a sort of “what’s new” blog post for a specific category? I suppose we could do that, but I think our approach is to find the good and interesting stuff, and do a series of blog posts that happen both during the show and after. Since most of the new stuff isn’t for sale till months later, a few days delay on reporting shouldn’t be a big deal.

    Mainly, I’ve got a lot of insider access. It’s obvious I should be focusing on that as much as possible and bringing you guys what I can. Lisa and Joe can perhaps do more of the “what’s new” blogging, but frankly I don’t have much extra time in a day to do it.

    We’ll do our best.

    Meanwhile, there are a bunch of bloggers and website content creators out there who run around like maniacs at the OR show, reporting on the same stuff as every other guy. That’s kind of weird, but it should make information fairly easy to find if you just mess around with Google a bit, or even go to the OR show website and look at the PR material there.

    Lou

  6. Kilroy January 24th, 2013 9:16 am

    Thanks so much for clearing things up. Talk on the web has left me somewhat confused as to the whole Garmont-Scott thing, so its nice to finally have the facts set straight. I’m excited to try the Scott Cosmos, as I was like so many others, loved the boots, but put off by the tech fitting issues.

    Any official word on their Telemark boot line? I absolutely love my Voodoos and would more than likely freak out if they decided to stop making tele boots altogether.

  7. Tuck January 24th, 2013 9:32 am

    Thanks, Lou. Great post. Fingers crossed for Scott’s new boots!

  8. scott January 24th, 2013 10:23 am

    Does this mean my first generation Radiums have this same tech fitting as the Cosmos and such?

    Thanks

  9. Rob January 24th, 2013 10:46 am

    As I’m sure most of your readers are wondering . . . what will become of the Garmont telemark boot lines? Is Scott going to continue to manufacture those?

  10. David January 24th, 2013 11:23 am

    “So, while the boys at Garmont basically did the ostrich thing when we brought up… ”

    That is a bit harsh on Paul Parker et al, dont you think Lou? Garmont most likely had their hands tied with the acquisition legal issues and couldn’t speak publicly. If fact you quoted Paul as to that effect in an earlier post.

  11. Tom Gos January 24th, 2013 12:15 pm

    I’m curious as to why the other boot manufacturers don’t just go the route Scarpa has taken and purchase tech fitings directly from Dynafit? I imagine its a cost issue. Lou, do you have any sense of what it costs to buy a set of fittings from Dynafit vs. inventing your own and finding a manufacturer? After Garmont’s experience it would seem that there is even more incentive to just buy the real thing.

    As for the story that Garmont was trying to improve on the Dynafit fitting, I ain’t buying it.

  12. Ryan January 24th, 2013 12:41 pm

    Lou:

    If you manage to stop by the Scott shop again, please do inquire about a Voodoo… Please oh please make a Voodoo that fits a human sized foot, with the same stiffness and weight. Please, please, please.

    PS: Yes, that was 3 pleases.

  13. gringo January 24th, 2013 2:58 pm

    _Scott,
    your first gen Radiums were designed 3-4 years or more ago. no reason to believe they would have the questionable fittings considering there is also a second gen Radium in the market….which is also a few years older than the Cosmos.

  14. Brian January 24th, 2013 3:00 pm

    Seconded on the Voodoo thing, and mine are about ready for a replacement. How about a Voodoo remade with the stiff, light feel of the Cosmos? And the same walk mechanism? Sign me up!

  15. gringo January 24th, 2013 3:05 pm

    _Tom Gos.

    are you just being salty or do you not think that the design team that Lou describes would want to slightly improve toe retention in tour mode? Having locked toes 100% of the time on the uptrack is certainly bad style as far as avalanche safety is concerned….but we all do it because we don’t like the fact that our bindings release / skis fall off when you look at ‘em wrong.

    I would venture to say Scott, Garmont, BD, Atomic…whoever….these companies are not evil. They do actually want to make good products and for customers to be happy.
    try and remember that.

    One point I will give you though is I bet there are some folks in the design team who wish they just raised the retail price of the boot 10 bucks and went for the real fittings instead of ending up where they are now.

  16. Dan January 24th, 2013 3:54 pm

    For what it is worth (Scott, are y’all listening?), The Cosmos fit was right on for me, but just the look of the toe fittings scared me off. I would have been happy to pay $10 or $20 extra for the Dynafit units (is that really all they would have cost?). As it is, I ended up with the “One” and am happy with them. However, the Cosmos still fit a little better right out of the box and I had to mess with my footbeds a bit to get the “One” to where I was OK to spend an entire day in them. That said, it would be nice if I did not have to lock my toes for skinning, which is a more substantive issue than replacing volcanoes with flippers.

  17. Tom Gos January 24th, 2013 4:55 pm

    @Gringo – no salt. I have had Dynafits release with the toe locked while in tour mode with what seemed to be relatively little force during a minor fall over, and although I’ve never been caught in an avy, I suspect that there would usually be enough force in that situation to rip the skis off. I know, I know, I’ve read accounts of skis not coming off in slides but for me its just not a huge concern while in tour mode with Dynafits. And for me, the fittings on my Dynafit branded boots seem to work pretty flawlessly (or at least as expected). So I think that Garmont took a pretty big risk trying to create their own rather than just source them from Dynafit. I imagine that now they are getting a ton of boots back from retailers that will basically go to the scrap bin (or hopefully the recycle bin), so it was a huge business risk that was realized and it just dosen’t seem worth it for the business or the consummer. Perhaps this is part of the reason why Garmont is getting out of the ski boot biz. As others have said, I would easily pay $10/pair more in order to have genuine Dynafit fittings. But maybe Dynafit sells their fittings for $50/set and this is why other manufacturers try to create their own, and this is why I asked Lou if he had any sense of what the fittings cost.

  18. Charlie January 24th, 2013 7:16 pm

    @ Tom Gos: The release value when locked varies from binding to binding. On some ~’06 Comforts and ’07 Speeds, I’ve released from partial and full lock. On a pair of ’09 Speeds, partially locked, my fibula provided the release. These experiences all with the same boots.

  19. Tom Gos January 24th, 2013 8:06 pm

    Thanks Charlie, I have a pair of ’05? Comforts, and I just bought a pair of Verticals, so I will expect the Verticals to behave differently than the Comforts.

  20. Bar Barrique January 24th, 2013 8:11 pm

    A lot of folks have mentioned the fact that Dynafit bindings have the toes “locked” when skinning up. They think that this makes them “less safe” than “frame” bindings if you are caught in an avalanche. My reply is; “frame” binding release values are only valid when the binding is locked in “ski” position, and, that I am pretty sure that the force required to release the binding in “tour” position would likely be much higher due to the lack of leverage normally provided by the ski.

  21. See January 24th, 2013 9:38 pm

    Is there a significant “release with the toe locked” problem? Seems to me the click system works OK.

  22. gringo January 25th, 2013 5:26 am

    I have had the misfortue of being caught and buried while having my toes locked, and no my Tri-steps did not release…they were locked. It about killed me since my big powder boards each turned into an anchor with a different destination.

    Judging by the past handful of comments here I’d say that Garmont did good by trying to improve release….only they got burned by it.
    oh well, better luck next time!

    @Bar. no one is talking about frame bindings….who skis those things anyway!? :-)

  23. Verbier61 January 25th, 2013 5:37 am

    AFAIK Scarpa uses dynafit tch fittings only in some boots and not in others… because they’re expensive as hell because of the quick step-in patent

  24. Lou Dawson January 25th, 2013 6:44 am

    See, it’s not a significant problem, but definitly a consideration. For example, I belive that many of the instances of bindings pulling out of skis are caused by people falling while in touring mode, not releasing, partially pulling binding out of ski, then while in downhill mode it comes out the rest of the way. If the binding had release in touring mode, that would prevent such damage. BUT, the tech binding design is incredibly elegant in terms of combining function, not having much release in touring mode is a compromoise that’s part of that function. Any mechanical engineer will tell you that when you start to fiddle with a machine like this, all sorts of unintended consequences shall arise. So the jury is totally totally out on all these new tech bindings. The coolaid is flowing, everyone in the industry is high on them because they might open up a big segment of customers, Hoji gets to take jumps and do tricks on a tech binding, Fritschi might see their sales increase instead of fade to the sunset — all good. But we need to get these things out in use by thousands of every day consumers, then we’ll know… Lou

  25. Lou Dawson January 25th, 2013 6:52 am

    It’s not necessary to buy fittings from Dynafit. It is necesary to 1.) know how tech fittings are supposed to work, 2.)have enough fittings in copy inventory to figure out a norm for your own in-house specifications 3.)find someone who can make them correctly 4.)test.

    For example, Black Diamond does pretty well with copying the fittings and getting them made themselves. I just evaluated some since I hadn’t done so in a while, and they were spot on.

    One thing to remember, however, is anything can be defective. I’ve seen defective tech fittings from nearly every boot maker who uses them, I’ve even seen a few from Dynafit, though they do seem to nail it pretty well most of the time (grin).

  26. Hojo January 25th, 2013 9:16 am

    ooooo, do we get to guess the new avalanche device changes? Like have they finally figured out how to encode GPS coordinates on the beacon signal? Or maybe the inflatables are now the size of rafts, inspired by the Temple of Doom! ;)

    I have a pair of Garmonts and I actually had the opposite problem where I would frequently release in ski mode while skiing on the TLT Vertical ST. I never really paid much attention to them as I ended up replacing the bindings the next year with the TLT Speed Radicals. Same skis/boots yet these ones don’t release in ski mode. I can’t say I’ve had any release incidents so I’ll have to inspect and take a look at your mods.

  27. Hojo January 25th, 2013 9:21 am

    I should clarify: “where I would frequently release” was in reference to frequently releasing while turning, not strictly while crashing.

  28. Fred99 January 25th, 2013 11:45 am

    I think that the Scott Fly’air might be the most underappretiated AT ski on the market. I live in Sweden and ski tour mainly in Scandinavia, but also in the Alps. I have tried many AT skis from different brands but these Scott skis stand out in my opinion. They’re light (just a little over 1000 grams if I remember right) but great downhill. Very stable and with a short radius that makes them good fun to ski, even when the snow isn’t that great. They don’t behave “nervous” like most other light skis. I also own a pair of the more fancy looking Xplor’airs, but they are heavier uphill and not as good downhill. I always find myself choosing the Fly’airs, even when resort skiing. And I know, the waist is only 80 mm, but I like that. I have never felt “underwaisted” even when skiing deep powder in the Alps. I have, on the other hand felt “overwaisted” when skiing (both ascending and descending) wider skis on Scandinavian hardpack with my TLT 5′s.
    So Lou; if you get the chance, try them!

  29. See January 25th, 2013 1:58 pm

    As usual, I should have been more explicit.

    I understand how release function in climbing mode would be useful both for avalanche safety, and to reduce the risk of binding damage/pull out (e.g. if one falls forward with the toes locked and levers the toe piece off the deck), but “the release resistant tech fittings that ended up in Garmont’s backcountry skiing boots were actually designed by intent, to have more resistance to release.” This is what doesn’t make sense to me. I am not aware of unwanted release in climbing mode being a problem with tech bindings. Unwanted retention is another matter.

  30. Lou Dawson January 25th, 2013 2:59 pm

    See, the mystery you point out will probably remain so. I was just repeating what Herve said, and yes it seemed strange. Lou

  31. Bar Barrique January 25th, 2013 9:34 pm

    Gringo; I agree that having a binding that released reliably while touring would be a very good idea. After all, I’m sure that people who fall while touring are frequently injured due to the lack of a reliable release mechanism in both tech, and, “frame” bindings. The ATK/Le Sportiva binding seems to have this capability.
    On your second point; yes it is amazing how many people have changed over to tech bindings in the last couple of years.

  32. nos January 26th, 2013 9:58 am

    Hi guys, my english is not so good (french…) could someone confirm that #Scott will call back Cosmos to costumers and exchange them??? Thanks

  33. Gian Luca January 26th, 2013 10:17 am

    In my opinion, in Europe, its better keep selling boots with “Garmont” brand for some years at least.
    Its an historical brand for ski touring enthusiastic and I don’t think its reasonable erase it from the market so quickly…

  34. James B January 26th, 2013 11:55 am

    I’ve had Powd’Airs in my quiver for two seasons. I give them a resounding “meh”, as I think they’re neither fish nor fowl. Although they look extremely cool and get lots of “oohs” and “aaahs”, they are too heavy to be a pure touring ski but not stable enough at speed to be an inbounds ski. Part of the problem is Scott doesn’t make them long enough. I’m 6’2″ and 215 lbs, for inbounds I ski Coombacks in 188 and for touring I ski Stokes in 191. The longest Powd’Air is 183 and certainly doesn’t ski any longer than that.

    I ultimately wound up relegating my Powd’Airs to serve as work skis. I’ll go do a quick lap on them if I don’t have time to change skis, but for real touring I’ll use my Stokes.

  35. Jeff February 10th, 2013 11:45 pm

    Any word on what will happen with delirium/asylum at/tech soles? The toes and heels are replaceable; an easier fix.

    My wife has a pair of the asylum with the 2012/13 at/tech sole. If the 13/14 sole fixes the problem AND is compatible with the 12/13 garmont edition, it’s a simple fix for us.

    If not, there could be significant issues. . .

  36. Peter March 19th, 2013 4:28 pm

    This winter I was in the market for new AT boots. I tried everything on and found only the Garmont Cosoms fit my foot (big instep). At the same time I was informed by a retailer here in Jackson, WY that they had pulled them off the shelf for the insert issue. I ski Fritschi Free ride binding, so the tech binding insert issue was not an issue for me. I purchased the boot from friend who is an Exum mountain guide. I have roughly 60 days of skiing them at Jackson Hole, primarily hiking the high peaks and have not toured in them “yet”. The other day as I was skiing out of Granite Canyon after a 3000′ untracked run i heard a clicking noise i the rear of the boot as I slid and side stepped out. I didnt think anything of it until I got back to civilization and took my boots off and noticed the lower screw on the walk/ski mechanism was missing. I could no longer lock the boot into ski mode. I called all around and no one has Gamont parts, so all I was left to do was improvise. On top of this, Garmonts phone number is no good anymore and Scott has nothing on their web site about boots. I am not one you puts parts on something that are not made for the product. So, I went into Hoback Sports and we tore the boot apart. We were blown away to find the screw holding the cuff on loose too. We found the same thing on the other boot as we used it as a sample of how the tour/ski mechanism functions, loose screws. I read some where in a blog people comparing screws vs. rivets. Any how, I am attaching pictures of the damage caused from this. We were amazed at the softness of the metal used in this mechanism. Its like play-do soft. The metal is bent/deformed and destryed. We spent three hours trying to rebuild and repair this with and end result of screwing the boot into ski mode.

    I got in touch with Scitt USA and they were very receptive and have shipped a full set, both boots, of the complete mechanisms. Has anyone else encountered this issue? I’m concerned the new mechanisms won’t hold up another season. I hear from Scott they are redeveloping the ski/walk mechanism.

    Thank you,
    Peter

  37. trevorj April 23rd, 2013 7:16 am

    Any chance Scott will make an updated version of the one- buckle super light or super hot? I still ski them and I still believe they’re the best boot out there. Bought my first pair in 76, and while I had fit issues that led to heel spurs, I didn’t give up on them.
    Still love the boots, one-buckle,light weight, low swing weight, snug fit, warmth on the coldest days and the phenomenal skiing experience.

  38. Lou Dawson April 23rd, 2013 7:36 am

    Trevor, you must be joking. They were one of the worst boots I ever skied. No progressive flex, skied like rigid steel casks, difficult to fit…. I really doubt they’ll be trying to make those again, 30 years later!

    I’m wondering if we should make a new rule here at WildSnow (grin), no one gets to talk about gear they are using that’s older than 30 years (grin). Instead, it should be sent here for inclusion in our museum.

    Lou

  39. Tim K April 24th, 2013 12:50 pm

    picked up a set of radiums a few weeks ago… clicking the toe in, is a lot more fiddly than the mercurys they are replacing/sharing garage space with… is that common

  40. trevorj April 24th, 2013 10:42 pm

    Lou,

    My response to your Scott boot reaction to my post is a “work in progress.” It’s coming.

    Trevorj

  41. Lou Dawson April 25th, 2013 5:53 am

    Tim, sure, the Quick Step toe fitting used by Dynafit and Scarpa is a bit easier to use. Is that what you’re asking about?

  42. Bob B August 23rd, 2013 10:16 pm

    Lou,
    Have you seen the new Tech fittings for the Scott Cosmos? Are they making new ones or just “beveling/drilling out” the old ones?

  43. lou August 24th, 2013 7:45 am

    Bob, I will have full eval soon but suspect they will be fine

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