A Few Days of Garmont – Part One – New Boots Overview


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 30, 2008      

Shop for Garmont ski boots here.
Update: I was under the impression that Garmont’s new overlap cuff Radium and Argon were in their Freeride category and had pretty much the beef of the Axon, but Garmont’s boot man Paul Parker informs me that all three Garmont overlap cuff boots are in their “Ski Mountaineering” category, while the Axon is somewhat stiffer and is indeed in their “Freeride” category. Mostly semantics and somewhat confusing, but indeed important to know that the Axon is their stiffest non-overlap Dynafit compatible boot, while Radium/Argon are the stiffest of their new overlap boots, more downhill oriented than the popular Mega Ride, and actually fairly close in downhill performance to boots in Freeride category. This morning I edited following to clarify this.
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Ski boots, boots and more boots. I felt like a manic cobbler’s apprentice at the OR show, trying to keep track of all the new offerings. Today, Garmont. Remember this is a first-look, reviews will come later.

Garmont backcountry skiing.
The lineup. From left: Axon, Radium, Argon, Helium

Basically, what Garmont did for next season is round out their “Ski Mountaineering” boot category with three new overlap cuff boots, and added the beefy Axon (not an overlap but rather a tongue boot) to their Freeride category. The idea appears to be that overlap boots offer some advantages. They still serve as real touring shoes and may even have better ankle articulation than tongue style shells, but also may ski better. Downside? Some folks get more shin bite with overlap boots, they can be tougher to put on, and they may be slightly heavier for equivalent downhill performance.

The new Garmont boots comprise four models, three of which offer overlap cuff construction:

Axon is the beefiest of the new Garmonts. It does NOT have an overlap cuff but rather the common tongue style cuff that allows a tour boot to be built lighter (albeit without the fluid ankle movement that an overlap cuff may provide in tour mode.)

In overlap design, the most tour biased shoe is the Helium, a 3 buckle Dynafit compatible model that still has a high cuff but is softer in overall flex. This could be a truly nice boot for those who like a tall overlap cuff but don’t need the weight and stiffness of a testosterone inspired “foot cast.”

Offering more downhill performance than Helium would be Radium and Argon. These boots are nearly twins; main difference is that Radium has Dynafit fittings. They’re about the same weight as the venerable Mega Ride, but are said to “use the new overlap design is to get better walking, with improved downhill performance; to improve performance at the two opposing extremes of the spectrum. The Radium tours better than a Mega Ride, yet has even better downhill performance, close to that of the Freeride category.”

Garmont backcountry skiing.
Something interesting that Garmont boot guru Parker pointed out: With a tongue style liner (right), you can’t get the fourth buckle as far down toward the toes as you can with an overlap cuff boot (left). Aha, now I know why I always end up removing that 4th buckle on boots such as Zzero; it’s so close to the third buckle that they’re frequently doing the same thing.

First off, I was impressed with the overall build quality and careful use of dual density plastic in the Garmont shells. The buckles have a little doodad called an “Easy Lock Catch.” This consists of tiny grabbers that lock your boot buckle hoop in your chosen slot. It can’t come out till you press a button on the buckle. This is a 100% solution to annoying “buckle flop” and will be appreciated by many skiers. Another buckle plus: All are user removable so broken ones can easily be replaced (sigh, why don’t all boots have that feature?)

Garmont backcountry skiing.
Check out how Garmont shaped the overlap cuff. The high part not only provides more progressive forward support, but as demonstrated above it’s a good handle for opening the boots. The intermediate layer of plastic is a gasket that seals everything up nice and watertight; perhaps we won’t have to duct tape the overlap to keep water out? If so, then indeed this is a revolution (though I’ll kinda miss having that bit of duct tape on my boots).

In terms of fit, these boots appear to have a bit more volume than the Megaride last, but time will tell where they fall in the scheme of things. More importantly, the new Garmont boots have “pre punched” shells that are more anatomical than most ski boots. Provided your foot is close to the average shape used to design the “pre punch,” (most are close enough), you’ll get an outstanding fit once you mold the liner. Speaking of which, Garmont’s liners for these shoes matched the shells in quality and workmanship. They’re tongue style liners rather than overlap, a matter of personal preference and easily swapped for a Scarpa aftermarket overlap if desired.

Interestingly (at least to gear geeks), the liners have a Palu brand label but Garmont says that’s only there because of a patent, and the liners are designed and made by Garmont in a Romanian factory. Of more importance to actual skiing, I like the Pebax plastic reinforcement on the Radium liner tongue — music to the legs of one who for decades battled shin bang in overlap cuff boots.

Garmont backcountry skiing.
And check this out. A totally user serviceable lean lock presented in “industro design” style on the outside of the boot. Love it. But how did they ever convince Italian boot designers to do such a thing? Lean lock on all boots but Axon has just one forward lean locked position (24 degrees), thus eliminating the guesswork and possible quad blowing of the dual position type (which we’ve always disliked intensely).

Garmont backcountry skiing.
Another view of Radium. This is one fine hunk of shoe. We’re acquiring a test pair ASAP, so stay tuned.

For the total take, here are some official details from Garmont, lightly edited:

Garmont’s new a.d.d. Wrap Overlap ski mountaineering boots… Their unique overlap closely follows the anatomy of the foot and lower leg for crisp, precise downhill performance, while cradling it comfortably and securely for touring comfort. The unique overlap design eliminates the restrictive tongue to allow more independent movement between the cuff and lower shell. That means better walking, climbing, and skinning, with a progressive downhill flex.

– Better downhill performance with a more progressive flex: the overlap design follows the contours of the foot and ankle more closely than other tongue-type designs for the best downhill performance with a smooth, progressive, responsive flex.

– Flex Insert: The extra-high overlap supports the lower leg for bomber ski control, while its flex insert makes it easy-walking. The multi-injected flex insert is tuned specifically for different models’ use and performance. (Editor’s note: This is simply an area of plastic in the shell that’s of different density.)

– With no tongue that must be flexed backwards with each step, the overlap lower shell and multi-injected cuff can operate more independently for more walking freedom and comfort.

– The High Overlap Panel spreads contact evenly for a progressive forward flex and the most responsive ski control. 4-buckle models have superb shin comfort and downhill performance, while the 3-buckle Helium skis like a 4-buckle boot, a big step in 3-buckle performance.

– Easy entry with the High Overlap Panel: The Panel provides a “handle” that can be spread for very easy entry.

– Soft, silicone-like Water Seal Gasket between the shell’s overlaps seals out snow and moisture.

– Men’s models have a height-adjustable spoiler to accommodate different leg shapes for maximum rearward support and contact.

– Multi-injected Shell Bumpers protect the buckles and lower shell.

– Multi-injected cuff has a very stiff frame for leverage and support, with a softer overlap that contours closely around the leg for quick response and comfort.

– New Rapid outsole is designed for maximum grip, with the proper contact area as determined by the new ISO norm for the best step-in binding function. The Rapid sole has self-cleaning lugs. Its unique rubber compound is grippy yet highly durable, with the maximum toe thickness allowed within the ISO Norm for longevity. It extends under the instep for protection and grip when rock scrambling.

– Wide-Open Buckles and Easy-Lock Catches for easier, unrestricted touring. The Wide-Open’s levers are designed with an off-center pivot that opens as wide as is possible while they are held securely by the Easy-Lock buckle catches.

– Cuff buckle catches are movable to custom-fit different sizes of lower legs.

– Buckles are all field-replaceable. (Editor’s note: Nice!)

– Bomber walk mechanism is clean, simple, and solid.

– The G-fit Rapid and G-Fit Flash are the only thermoformable liners on the market with a plastic T-Bar Reinforced Tongue for leverage and shin protection. This unique T-shaped Pebax tongue reinforcement provides the leverage and protection of a traditional liner, with full thermoformability.

– Silver Fibers in the liners’ wicking lining material serve two high-tech purposes: They are both anti-bacterial and retain body heat much better than normal wick-able synthetic fibers.

– Double Pull Loops facilitate easy entry, exit, and carrying the boots.

– Lycra “Slide Zone” on the rear of the liner further facilitates easy entry and exit. (Editor’s note: This is a Lycra patch at the upper rear that your heel slides against on entry. Nice touch.)

Shop for Garmont ski boots here.



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Comments

43 Responses to “A Few Days of Garmont – Part One – New Boots Overview”

  1. ANDREW January 30th, 2008 11:05 am

    are these boots unavailable until next fall?

  2. Mark January 30th, 2008 11:31 am

    Nice slippers, eh? I like the 3 buckle Helium. Perhaps it is a step up from my Mega Lites.

  3. Lou January 30th, 2008 11:41 am

    Yep, next fall is when they’ll be distributed. Just helping you guys plan ahead (grin). There might be some Axons in the pipeline at some point before then, but I’m not clear on their exact sched.

  4. Tom G January 30th, 2008 12:21 pm

    Any weights?

    Also, it looks like to would be super easy to modify the cuff lock mechanism to provide for a different forward lean than the standard 24 degrees. What’s your take on this possibility Lou?

  5. gonzoskijohnny January 30th, 2008 2:51 pm

    I was up at SME in late December when Paul P. was field testing a pre-production brown 4 buckle overlap. They sure looked to tour and turn nice in the powder. Skiing in the old 3-buckle silver dynafits made me pretty jealous- now it is so hard to decide WHICH boot to get for long tours- old megaride 4 buckle; new helium 3 buckle; new radium……..almost too many possibilities! PS -if you get a chance, ask Paul if he still wears his beret backwards like a young park rat.

  6. scott January 30th, 2008 4:21 pm

    zzzzzzz… Too many gear reports. With all this snow please go skiing, take pictures and right about how fun it was. I’m sitting at work somewhere down your valley watching all this snow fall and it’s driving me nuts. Please try to save the bill paying gear stories for the weekend when the salaryman plays.

  7. Lou January 30th, 2008 6:27 pm

    Scott, good point. We’ve been thinking exactly the same thing! Gotta do the Axon review tomorrow, but take my word for it, more trip reports and opinion writing coming up soon! Avy danger has been pretty high, so we’ve been out to the resorts but not much backcountry. I’ve still got a couple of interesting Europe trip reports so I might put those up as well over coming days.

  8. Justin January 30th, 2008 7:31 pm

    I’m confused. You say the Axon is the most touring oriented of their new boots.. Isn’t it the stiffest? Isn’t the Radium more along the lines of the Megaride (which is certainly more touring oriented than the Axon)?

  9. Jed January 30th, 2008 8:46 pm

    Hey Lou,
    First time posting, though I’ve read your stuff for a long time. I’m glad for the reassuring comment on lighter weight boot reviews. Keep ’em coming. On another note, I have a pair of old Ramer bindings. The back end of ’em look like other Ramers, they’ve got the spinning lock down/heel lifter and a crampon-like bail. But the fronts are different. Instead of a crampon-style toe bail, they have big aluminum wings sticking straight up with straps across the top… Well, maybe I’m not describing them very well. I can send you pictures if you’d be interested. I definitely do not use them at all. Let me know.
    Jed

  10. Charlie January 30th, 2008 9:21 pm

    Please consider adding some actual climbing to your reviews of boots – Much of my summer touring involves crampons (both flatfoot and frontpointing comfort are critical) and rambling travel up rock and talus in addition to skinning. Some of the boots you’ve been looking at lately look to be extremely susceptible to buckle-shredding rocks.

    Thanks!

  11. Stewart January 31st, 2008 12:03 am

    I’m bummed Garmont have gone with a higher volume. Although we’ve a great new selection of high end Dynafit compatible touring boots for next season, the Clincher for me in deciding between the Skookum, Zzues, Radium, and Method models (which I’m sure will all work well enough for my needs) is how they FIT. I’d really appreciate some comparative information, and I’m hoping that not every model of every brand caters only to the same medium-wide average foot/leg. With so many models available now, is it too much to expect that those of us with lower (like myself) or higher than average volume anatomy can finally expect something fits us? I’m currently using Mega-rides with Krypton tongues and Intuition liners, and even with thick socks I’m making do with a sloppy fit. Any suggestions Lou?

  12. Arne January 31st, 2008 3:49 am

    Are the liners for the new Radium boots laced?

    BTW, the Axons are already available here:
    http://www.telemark-pyrenees.com/shop/product_info.php?products_id=3768

    Arne

  13. Lou January 31st, 2008 9:12 am

    You guys, most of the boots we’re reviewing just went public, and many are only available in one sample size. BD’s new boots were still secret just over a month ago. I’ll do comparos, but they’ll have to come gradually, as we DO NOT compare or do in-depth reviews of boots that we can’t have here at WildSnow HQ for extended periods.

    As for Garmont’s volume, if it’s any change it is slight, and this was just a first impression.

  14. Lou January 31st, 2008 9:23 am

    Justin, sorry I got things confused. Axon is indeed stiffest of the lot and I should have clarified that. Edited this morning.

  15. Kevin January 31st, 2008 10:20 am

    Any chance of a weight comparison on all these new boots. I agree you are overdue on a good ski report, but I am definitely psyched about all these new boot options coming out next year.

  16. Lou January 31st, 2008 10:47 am

    Kevin, the only weight comparo we do is when the boots are in our hot little hands. We’ve found that doing comparo with catalog weights is always off. Not from deliberate dishonesty, but typos and weighing of samples instead of production boots throws things off. Not to mention the problem of normalizing for sizes.

    We’ll work hard at getting some comparos done, but know that with some of the heavier freeride boots, worrying about weight is like being concerned with gas mileage for a Hummer. Thus, in that sense it’s just not something we’re going after with both guns blazing.

  17. Nick Thomas January 31st, 2008 11:07 am

    So many new boots I’m confused. Wonder how many of the existing models are going to be discontinued? I suspect it is going to be a nighmare finding retailers stocking more than a tiny selection of what is available unless you are in Chamonix (it can already be hard finding a shop with the model you want to try in stock).

    Second the comment that I hope that not all the manufacturers have ended up with a lowest common denominator last.

  18. SilverJ January 31st, 2008 2:58 pm

    Another difference between the Radium versus the Argon, aside from the lack of Dynafit in the Argon, is that the Argon shell is comprised of mixed polymers. The Radium shell is Pebax. More than likely, the Radium looks to replace the Mega Ride in terms of new technology and performance, but the Mega Ride hasn’t been dropped from the line-up just yet. Gone are the G-Ride and the Dynamite, however. I look forward to your review of the new Rapid Liner for these overlap boots, once you are able to ski in them. They are nothing like the G-fits of the past. Thanks for your reviews from the show.

  19. Arne February 1st, 2008 4:07 am

    Does anyone know the beefiness of the new Radium versus Adrenaline and Endorphine?

  20. Lou February 1st, 2008 8:39 am

    Arne, Parker says Radium is slightly less but not by much, if I hear him correctly.

  21. Chris February 14th, 2008 11:00 am

    I sure don’t like the look of that lean-lock mechanism. Looks suspiciously similar (neck down in section AND a bend on the lower end where it attaches to the boot) to the same thing on the Dynafit Freeride Aero that has now failed on me TWICE. I would like to think they tested this pretty well for durability, but it’s a bad design from the start.

  22. Lou February 14th, 2008 11:06 am

    I don’t know Chris, it looked pretty good in person. But you’re right, always something to watch…

  23. Chris February 14th, 2008 2:18 pm

    Perhaps your right Lou. Perhaps the fact that it connects with a free pivot, instead of a rigid bolted connection like on the FR Aero, will make the difference. The interesting thing is that if they would have hidden all of this stuff inside boot plastic like usual I would have been none the wiser and wouldn’t be scrutinizing it so much. Anyway, these do look like very nice boots and will get a hard look next year because I have just about had enough with my current setup.

  24. Dave Johnson March 10th, 2008 2:06 pm

    Lou,
    I’m eager to hear your on-hands (and snow) review of the Radium. I was thinking about buying a pair of Zero 4 CF’s, but may wait until the fall to see how the Radium’s feel…by the way, what is your impression of the 4 CF’s?
    Dave

  25. Lou March 10th, 2008 8:56 pm

    The 4 CF’s are working great, some of the best boots I’ve ever owned in terms of weight/performance ratio. Not as progressive in for/aft flex as some boots, but I’m willing to take that hit for their lack of mass.

  26. Arne April 30th, 2008 12:34 am

    I contacted Garmont to get some info on stiffness and weights. This is the info I got from them:

    Flex ratings:
    Mega-Ride: 110AT
    Adrenalin: 120AT
    Radium: 120AT
    Endorphin: 130AT
    Axon: 130AT

    Weights (size 27.5, per boot):
    Mega-Ride: 1665 grams (3.7 lbs)
    Radium: 1695 grams (3 lbs & 11.5 oz)
    Adrenalin: 1900 grams (4.2 lbs)
    Axon: 2075 grams (4 lbs & 9 oz)

    These weights are given by Garmont and thus may not be identical to real world weights.

  27. Steve Drossel August 3rd, 2008 12:42 pm

    Lou,
    Comparing the shells of Garmont’s Endorphin and Axon…did the connection points of the shell floors to their Vibram soles appear to be similar in structure/shape? I’d like to apply a mod to the Axon…(ie screw an Endorphin’s alpine sole into the Axon’s shell for alpine binding compatability). Would provide true versatility…don’t know why they(Garmont) opted not to do it..

    Thanks….
    Steve

  28. Lou August 4th, 2008 6:28 am

    Steve, sorry, I can’t answer that specifically. Bob Perlmutter still has the Axon in long term test. I’ll give him a heads up on this question.

  29. Magnus August 5th, 2008 9:40 pm

    Does anyone know if the Axon will be available in size 30.5 for the upcoming season? Now they only come in sizes up to 29.
    Cheers!

  30. Lou August 6th, 2008 7:10 am

    I just heard from Paul Parker:

    Axon sizes:

    Women’s 23.0-27.5

    Men’s 25.0-30.5.

    Thanks Paul and Garmont for the quick info!

  31. Justin August 12th, 2008 12:45 pm

    I am trying to decide between the Garmont Radium and the Scarpa Spirit 4. Does anyone have any opinions, or even better knowledge/experience, with the Spirit 4?

  32. Lou August 12th, 2008 1:00 pm

    Justin, I checked out the final production Radium at OR and I’ll talk about it more soon, but it’s truly a nice boot. Spirit 4 is good as well. THE MAIN DIFFERENCE is that the Spirit is a tongue boot and the Radium is overlap. Thus, I don’t think a direct comparison is that useful.

    What’s your intended use, body size, ski size width? What kind of boots have you been in touring and on the resort?

  33. Justin August 12th, 2008 1:21 pm

    I am an extremely aggressive skier, although extremely light for my height (6’2”, 160 lbs.). Skiing in-bounds, I have been riding on a pair of Volkl Katana 190 cm skis w/ Salomon S16 binders, and the new Raichle Flexon boots (Full Tilt Camo Pro), and I am completely in love with them. I have been touring on a pair of K2 Coomba 188 cm skis w/ Marker Duke bindings and Scarpa Tornado Pro boots. It’s been a wonderful setup to ski on, but very heavy on the uphill, due mostly to the bindings. I have been doing a lot longer, more physically demanding tours, with a lot more vertical ascending, and I feel that I need to start cutting some weight. I am planning on getting a pair of Dynafit TLT bindings and might just mount them on my K2s, or perhaps buy a pair of Karhu BC 100s. I’m not quite sure about that part yet. Also, the ski crampon for the TLT binding is only 92 mm wide. Do you think I could maybe bend it or something to make it fit the 102 mm waist of my Coombas, or the 100 mm waist of the Karhus, without losing much grip? Thanks a lot, Lou. You’re the man.

  34. Lou August 12th, 2008 3:21 pm

    Justin!

    First, B&D makes your cramps. As they’re are newest sponsor please order a few dozen pair to keep Bill busy (grin).

    As for boots, I’d say if you’re used to the feel of the Flexon you could consider sticking with a tongue boot, so Spirit 4.

    That said, what’s cool about Scarpa vs Garmont is that their boots fit very differently. If you’ve got a high arch you’ll find the Scarpas to work well, if your arch is low the Garmonts might feel better. In my experience, the Garmont is a bit lower volume in the toe area, but that depends on fit and final choice in size so it’s not as huge a factor as people say.

    Please try them both before you buy, or do the mail order swaparoo if necessary.

    Along with buying the two dozen pair of crampons, you are also required to report back here when you get farther along with the shopping (grin).

    Anyone else have two cents?

  35. Justin August 12th, 2008 3:31 pm

    Thanks for the ideas on the boots. I think I may end up just getting the Spirit 4s. I already know they fit me well, and I have access to a Scarpa Pro Deal. Thank you for the tip on the ski crampons as well. I’ll keep you posted. Chao.

  36. Magnus August 12th, 2008 9:25 pm

    Thanks for the info regarding axon sizes, Lou. I’m almost in the same boat as Justin here (although maybe not as aggressive and without access to pro deals), needing a relatively lightweight AT boot that will work with my ANT’s and Dukes, and a future dynafit rig. My 6″5′ and 195 lbs makes me concerned with how dynafits will hold up while skiing. Any thoughts? Also, will the Radium be a beefy enough boot for charging a bit?

    When BC skiing during full winter my trips are usually 3-5 hours skinning (basically from the car – hardly any approaches) and I prefer to ski quite hard. but during springtime they can get a lot longer, and include off snow approaches. Basically I’m considering the Axon since they’re beefy (the Endorphin fit real good in store but I’ve never skied them) and the Radium since they seem like such a great lightweight boot with some nice details. I’ve got a fairly high arch btw, which is a problem with my XWave 10’s (pressure under 2nd buckle). Cheers!

  37. Justin October 28th, 2008 3:16 pm

    Lou, I think I have found the final piece to the puzzle… the Scarpa Skookum! So here’s what I’m gonna go for: Karhu BC 100 Ski (186cm) with a Dynafit TLT Speed Binding and the Scarpa Skookum Boot. That should be exactly what I need. The Skookum looks like it might be a little burlier than the Tornado Pro? Then I could just replace them completely and maybe sell them to help finance my new setup. What do you think?

  38. Lou October 28th, 2008 3:23 pm

    Scarpa would be happy to hear me say that the overlap boot interest is over shadowing all the terrific tongue boots out there, a time proven technology that provides serious performance with incredibly low weights. Overlaps and tongue boots have been around for decades, they both work, more power to the person how shops with care and doesn’t get taken in by the hype.

  39. CB November 9th, 2008 3:22 pm

    Thanks for all the great information. I am getting new boots for work and I went to the shop and saw the Radium’s yesterday. I have skied the Xena’s for the last 2 years and was convinced I would just replace them. I was thinking about getting a lighter, *slightly* softer boot… as I will only be touring with them but skiing on big skis (helidaddy’s). So does can anyone compare the Xena stiffness to the Radium? And is the ‘womens’ Radium the same shell with a womens liner? Thanks

  40. George December 17th, 2008 12:07 pm

    I’m looking for some feedback on the Garmont Helium. Anyone using this boot this season?

    tks

  41. Jeff November 25th, 2010 11:56 am

    so this thread is 2yrs old now…but…I’m interested in mostly resort skiing, but with occasional sidecountry trips. Prob 80/20 resort/sidecountry. Want to drive some kinda wide (< 105 or so) boards with alpine (Marker Baron) bindings. Would I be better off with the stiffer Axon, or should I consider the Radium? I've heard of some people saying the Axon, in the more fwd lean position, can sometimes have the 3rd and 4th buckles hitting each other under pressure in middle of a turn. Any feedback? thanks.

  42. Lou November 25th, 2010 1:29 pm

    Nothing wrong with CPR on an old thread. Axon is a tongue boot, Radium is overlap, buy depending on which kind of flex you want. As for the buckles hitting, easy to evaluate in shop.

  43. Jeff November 25th, 2010 4:51 pm

    thanks Lou. Garmont website a bit hard to decipher, for me. So, do both Radium and Axon have alpine sole blocks? do they come with, or do you have to buy them separate? I’ve read about potential probs if you try to use AT soles in Marker Baron bindings. yes I’ve read all of your awesome Garmont Axon-Radium reviews. Keep up the good work!!

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