On a wet bus ride back from the Calaghan Valley, British Columbia, I noticed this Italian footwear expert sitting there as if waiting for WildSnow to pounce (I could tell he was an expert by looking at his shoes, which had sharp points on the ends). After a moment I realized, YES, this is THE Fede, legend of the TLT5, culinary scientist and WildSnow.com contributor. Time for a quiz about ski touring boots (bonus menu addendum was added later).
What’s bigger for boots, skiing or alpine climbing?
“Alpine climbing boots are smaller part of industry, skiing is way way bigger. Climbers don’t like to spend as much, and skiers actually use their boots more than climbers, at an average of 30 days a season.”
Where do you use steel vs aluminum rivets in the Procline boots?
“Steel rivets in upper cuff. The pivots are aluminum, very strong.”
Who is the nice French guy you are here in Canada with?
“That’s Jerome Chaigne, Alpine Boots R&D Manager, Arcteryx and Salomon Ski Boots. Footwear Line Manager (myself) has the general idea and our team makes it happen. Jerome is more the hands on direct manager. Jerome figured out the Procline split cuff.”
It must have taken some effort to develop that split cuff. It’s an elegant solution to a problem as old as plastic ski boots. How many concept iterations?
“Many different ideas for rotating cuff. Actually three really working Including a single pivot in the rear. but we finally chose the actual one after some testing nearly two years ago”
Will Arcteryx develop more ski boots?
“Who knows, if we’re able to sell this one…”
I know you’ve got an opinion about the much exalted and often reviled ‘flex index.’ Please expound.
“Flex index, is B.S. actually. Regarding the ‘last width, ball girth, inside measurement of full inside boot shell circumference at ball of foot, is actually the way to measure the ‘last.’ The usual last width everyone is always asking about is B.S. because there are so many other factors, for example if the boot is narrow at the mid-foot, when you put weight on your foot it causes a different sort of spread at the forefoot than if your midfoot has room. If I’ll ever answer the question about “flex index” or write it in any catalog of ski mountaineering boots, please shoot me.”
What is the best and worst meal you have eaten in the last 6 weeks?
“Worst in 6 weeks easy, as it was this Monday … I took some friends in Lyon to visit the city, it was a bit late so the couple of places I knew already closed the lunch service and went in a typical lyonnaise bouchon… got the local fat terrible stuff… some sort of liver and fat cake with salad and some pure fat boiled sausage with some vegetables… not much fun. The best in 6 weeks probably was last Saturday. I had two friends coming to visit me and worked hard in the kitchen to welcome that 😉 … I had just flown in from Vancouver so I couldn’t do too much but the result was not that bad. The menu went something like this:
– Fried radicchio di treviso (radicchio is a super local Treviso vegetable which I love, they took it from Italy)
– Tomato bruschetta
– Raw fish plate: Salmon tartarre + prawns (with secret lemon sauce)
– Scallops with Radicchio sala and nuts (Fede’s original receipe)
– Oven baked Scallops (Special Fede’s receipe)
– Risotto with radicchio and salsiccia
– Angus Beef Fillet with Rucola and Baked potatoes
– The Italian’s version of Crème Brulée”