The verdict is up to you dear readers. The new (limited availability this year, full retail 2014-15) Scarpa F1 Evo ski touring boot has so many innovative features it could be called a new species. Or is this only a stage in the Darwinian process by which all life forms eventually live or die according to how well engineered their plastic parts are? We are here in Asolo Italy checking it out. I’ll opine, you decide. Field testing will tell the ultimate tale but this thing has been tested by everything from World Cup skimo racers to a 100,000 cycle slam test machine. It thus appears to work.
We’ll save the best for first. In what Scarpa is calling their “Tronic No Hand” lean lock system, F1 Evo switches between downhill cuff-locked mode and cuff-free mode simply by clicking in and out of your tech binding. Complex? Don’t let your imagination run wild. The patented Tronic system has only 6 parts. It is genius in simplicity. Basically, a couple of small metal tabs protrude down into the area where your rear binding pins sink which you click into a tech binding. These spring-loaded tabs are pushed up by the binding pins, in turn actuating a lean lock. Pictures below, and I did a video as well that I’ll publish ASAP.
A short history of F1. Scarpa released a boot called “F1” in 1999. It was an ultra-light yellow ski touring boot with flex at the ball of the foot. Scarpa’s pioneering work in telemark boots gave them the edge for making such ‘living hinge’ systems. Versions of the yellow F1 dominated skimo racing until other manufacturers came on the scene with boots appropriate for racing. By they time Scarpa discontinued F1, they’d sold more than 100,000 copies. Their story is that the heritage of F1 leads directly through their Alien race and recreation models, straight to the F1 Evo. Hence the name.
— Estimated MSRP $699.00 USD
— Weight size 27, >< 1,130 grams -- Materials: Nylon plastic similar to Grilamid, laminated with carbon composite ankle yoke, what Lisa and I call "Davide's Secret Sauce." -- Full retail for 2014-15, demo sizes 25,27,28 produced for winter 2013/2014 -- Tech fittings at toe are mounted 6 mm back from standard; we love the more ergonomic stride this induces, though it does cause some confusion when mounting bindings. [caption id="attachment_12083" align="aligncenter" width="525" caption="We're excited to be guests of Scarpa and the Parisotto family. That's me with CEO Sandro in front of their main Asolo, Italy factory and offices. As always, certain things are true: Italian food is good, and Italians ski fast both uphill and down."][/caption]
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain. For more about Lou, please see his personal website at https://www.loudawson.com/ (Blogger stats: 5 foot 10 inches (178 cm) tall, 160 lbs (72574.8 grams).