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Women’s Ski Touring Boots — Outdoor Retailer 2017

By Julia Dubinina | January 24, 2017  

2017 was my first year at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. I was super stoked to attend the show and learn about upcoming technologies. I felt like a kid in a candy store…only the candy wasn’t edible, instead it was shiny, new and exciting! Trade shows can be overwhelming in many ways so I kept my focus narrow: backcountry ski touring boots for women. My quest: stick my foot into as many as I could find.

I wanted to figure out two things: new innovations and fit. Keep in mind that since I didn’t get to ski in any of these boots, this post is an overview of my initial take.

Two notes before I start:

My foot, with usual pressure points circled in red.

My foot, with usual pressure points circled in red.

  • I have complicated feet. They are the worst. No out-of-the-box ski boot has ever felt good. My ski touring boot size is 25 — 25.5; my street shoe size is US women’s 8.5 — 9. My feet have a wide forefoot (4 inches or 10.2 cm across), a small bunion on the side, a sixth toe bump on the other and a semi-high arch. THE worst.
  • Things usually addressed when designing a “women’s specific” ski boot: (1) On average, women are lighter than men, (2) have smaller, thinner feet with more taper from forefoot to heel (3) calves are more pronounced and lower (due to a shorter tibia). If you find that a women’s specific boot is not a fit for you – try “unisex” (same boot designed in a broader range of sizes).
  • Read more backcountry ski touring

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    Salomon Mtn & Atomic Backland Binding Brake — Retrofit Mod

    By Lou Dawson | January 23, 2017  

    An effective ski brake you can fit to different touring bindings has for years been a gear head’s dream. A few exist to one degree or another; years ago we tried making one out of a G3 Onyx binding.

    Salomon splashes this year with their Mountain model binding brake (is also the Atomic Backland and one of the better minimalist tech binding available, in our opinion). Straight away, we noticed the Mountain/Backland brake operates independently of the heel unit. You flip a lever to lock the brake arms up, flip it forward to release for the downhill. We also noticed this brake is robust (ATK for example sells a “Universal Ski-Brake” that’ll work with any binding but is too minimalist in our opinion, as well as requiring the use of a leash). Time for the mod shop.

    Salomon (Atomic) Mountain Brake, new this year, is the best we've seen. We have zero appreciation of brakes that require rotating the heel unit and playing around with systems of catches that (attempt) to keep them folded up out of the way, why not simply divorce the brake from the binding? What is so hard to mentate about that? So, some Einstein at Salomon finally got it. Their Mountain binding brake is operated by simply flipping a catch that locks the arms up. Yeah, you pretty much have to take your ski off to operate. So what. It works. All the time. And...perhaps it's easy to fit for other binidngs? Read on.

    Salomon (Atomic) Mountain Brake, new this year, is the best we’ve seen. We have zero appreciation of brakes that require rotating the heel unit and playing around with systems of catches that hold it, why not simply divorce the brake from the binding? What is so hard to mentate about that? So, some Einstein at Salomon finally got it. Their Mountain binding brake is operated by simply flipping a catch that locks the arms up. Yeah, you pretty much have to take your ski off to operate. So what. It works. All the time. And…perhaps it’s easy to fit for other bindings? Read on.

    Read more backcountry ski touring

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    WildSnow Weekend — Snow, Snow, Snow!

    By Lisa Dawson | January 22, 2017  
    Snow!

    Lou testing Mammut Light 30 airbag backpack.

    WildSnow HQ is turning into a winter Valhalla with deep snow and more on the way. At Outdoor Retailer Winter Market we saw lots of new, innovative gear for backcountry ski touring. Now we have the perfect testing ground in our home mountains. Psyched!

    Read more backcountry ski touring

    OLDER POSTS »

      Your Comments

    • Mary Donovan: If you have hard to fit feet, you should look into Strolz Ski Boots. They ...
    • jbo: @Matti - A little dust wouldn't be surprising, it happened sometimes with p...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Thanks Trollan, yeah, ION is quite a complex piece of machinery. I'd prefer...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Hey all, we're using some Google advertising in the sidebar. If you see any...
    • trollanski: Wanted to give a heads up on curing some issues I've been having with ION b...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Chet, the longer your foot the lesser your effective climbing angle produce...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Rob, I learned that from the guys at Cripple Creek Backcountry. They're not...
    • Rob: Lou, spent tubes wrapped around a brick? Looks like a great ski bench mod....
    • Chet Roe: Different topic Lou....I cracked one of the climbing posts on a pair of Dyn...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Depends. This ski is very strong with metal layer, I ski them, but I've bee...
    • Chris: Lou, do you ski on skis with that number of holes and drilled that close? T...
    • Lou2: Hi Patrik, very nice widths, 80, 90, 100, 110 and 120 sizes, we are very e...
    • Patrik: Will the brakes come in different widths?...
    • Wintersmith: Vipec White update is much appreciated, thank you :)...
    • Matti: @jbo, yes I'm touring with yellow buckle closed. There is already very deep...
    • See: Re. the 108’s: even if there is some foam in there, these boards are still ...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Hello Amir, you are correct, Jetforce has automatic deflation, Voltair rema...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Hi Eric, the brake can be installed without mods, but you have to unscrew a...
    • Allan: My knowledge of the skis and their construction comes from my bud that is a...
    • See: That’s what I suspect, Lou… like the Huascaran (also made by Blizzard?). If...
    • Eric steig: Clarification needed! If I mount Backland binding this year without brake,...
    • Amir Nowtash: Thanks for the fantastic review. Despite the Voltair being the newest pack...
    • See: Bon voyage....
    • Aaron: Ski tested the F1 modification yesterday and it worked just fine. My old sk...
    • Lou Dawson 2: See, the Salomon-Atomic toe jaw closure pressure is fine, quite stiff in ma...
    • See: Assuming the U springs provide reasonable lateral and vertical release valu...
    • Rudi: Just to weigh in here as I stopped by to see where others had mounted these...
    • Lou Dawson 2: See, there is a core type that's been around for a while, strips of wood wi...
    • jbo: Hey Lou, yes same problem with the White version....
    • Harry: I thought the center post binding screw had gone the way of the last of the...

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    Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring 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 ski touring news and information here.

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