Salomon X-Alp Ski Touring Boot, Skis, MTN Binding — 2017-2018

Post by blogger | December 23, 2016      

For binding specifications and more details, please check our Salomon-Atomic binding FAQ.

Your friendly blogger testing Salomon X-Alp boot, binding and ski near Opus Hut, Colorado.

Your friendly blogger testing Salomon X-Alp boot, binding and ski near Opus Hut, Colorado.

Mouth breathing gear bloggers unite! Always funny to put all this energy into checking out new gear — kit that won’t be available for about a year. But hey, it’s a job, and I know some of you enjoy seeing what’s speeding (or crawling) down the road to retail.

Objects at hand: Salomon announces their new “X-Alp” ski touring lineup, comprising a skinny yet sweet skiing 80 mm plank, efficient boot, and impressive tech binding. Everything is high tech and low weight, with the X-Alp ski coming in as a true 1-kilo wonder, boot just over a kilo, and the MTN binding holding its own with any other lightweight tech offering (300 grams without available brake, one binding, note this is the same binding as Atomic Backland, different color and branding). The brake is probably the news, it operates independent of the heel unit, by manually flipping a lever that stows the brake arms for touring. Brake will be available in 80, 90, 100, 110 and 120 mm widths.

I love it when companies touting their backcountry skiing gear actually host their press events in the backcountry.

I love it when companies touting their backcountry skiing gear actually host their press events in the backcountry. In this case, our crew of Salomon associated folks and scribble hacks like me was hosted by the premium full-service Opus hut. Super. I won’t get into Opus details here — we need another blog post for that — but suffice it to say that European style hut touring is here in the Rocky Mountains, and we highly recommend.

The boot is of course quite similar to the Arcteryx Procline so you can refer to those reviews as deep background. Binding is similar to the Atomic Backland we extensively tested and reviewed last season, with a a nicely engineered optional brake and innovative heel unit.

As for the X-Alp 80 mm ski, I stepped up my game and skied it 2 of my 4 days on the Salomon gear as it’s the only ski officially in the X-Alp product category. I was mystified as to why the other two pair of X-Alp toothpicks remained leaning against the hut while other product testers laughed as they rode a variety of Salomon wide boards. Perhaps they knew something I did not? Perhaps they were laughing, at, me?

Taking  two for the gear testing team.

Taking two for the gear testing team.

Not sure the X-Alp needs a WildSnow “real” review yet since I didn’t use it on hard snow (and I doubt this is the retail version), but honestly, I had a lot of fun working these skinnys in the San Juan pow, as they’re supple enough to snake as many turns as you want. (Though trying to ski like it was 1979 wore me out, compared to slarving a wide body and relaxing). Verdict: I want a pair for my quiver, both for fitness uphilling and springtime peak descents.

X-Alp ski.

X-Alp ski. 164 cm, radius 17 m, 113-79-99. Could this be a throwback trend? Reminded me of the Black Diamond Mira, only lighter at 980 grams for this pair. Also noted, I’m told they also have a ski (now available) developed specifically for Kilian Jornet, S Lab Minim, 68.5 mm waist, 740 grams, super stiff for the crazy downhill racing they do in rando ski competitions.

Our very own samples of the Salomon X-Alp boot.

Our very own samples of the Salomon X-Alp boot. One of the only few size 28 was air shipped from eastern Europe specifically so yours truly could ski them. Humbling. Luckily they skied quite well. Otherwise the guilt would be devastating. Instead, I can say “tally ho!” we have a winner. Yes, Virginia, somewhat similar to Arcteryx Procline in that they used same or similar molds and the excellent lean lock system allowing “rolling” ankle travel in touring mode. But the cloning ends there. Read on.

Here is how X-Alp will appear in retail, nicely accented, with unassuming branding.

Here is how X-Alp will appear in retail, nicely accented, with unassuming branding. Way better than you being an unpaid banner ad. Click to enlarge.

Salomon did a no-brainer here. They took the Arcteryx Procline form factor (the two companies are entwined) and presumably the same mold tooling, and made a full-on ski touring boot. In case you don’t remember, what’s unique to Procline is a lean lock machine that when released for uphill mode allows rolling flexion of the ankle. Result, better ergonomics in your ski touring strides. Resembles wearing hiking boots or the like.

But Procline is a “hybrid” boot that’s designed for alpine climbers who need to ski. Beefy sole and rubber rand around the toe mark the difference. X-Alp gets rid of the extras for that magical ~1-kilo weight target. Again, X-Alp is a ski touring boot, pure, simple, effective.

More: they reinforced the X-Alp shell around the cuff pivot, for less bulge and stronger feel in downhill mode. Built-in gaiter is shorter and simplified. Sole is lower density to save weight (and said to be better on ice, Procline designed for peak scrambling on mixed ground). Instep buckle is cleaned from Procline cable weave to a single clasp (we like Procline system better).

X-Alp by Salomon

Party line, X-Alp by Salomon official screed. Click to enlarge.

Split cuff is worthy of Einstein mentality.

Split cuff is worthy of Einstein mentality, same action as Procline. A sort of “parallelogram” effect working off the power strap rivets gives you impressive rolling ankle flexion that’s (somewhat) capable of modern waterfall ice climbing.

X-Alp internal gaiter is shorter and doesn't have a front zipper such as Procline.

X-Alp internal gaiter is shorter and doesn’t have a front zipper such as Procline. Myself and others found that entering and exiting X-Alp was somewhat more difficult than conventional tongue boots or the zippered Procline. We’re not sure what the solution for that is, but in my opinion if they simply added a centimeter or two of extra slack in the gaiter, over instep, the boot would be easier to work. That said, the liner has a nice lacing system (see below), but loosening the laces sometimes doesn’t translate down to your instep and fools you into thinking something is going on with the shell when it’s actually the liner.

Sides near cuff pivot are stiffened  with additional plastic exoskeleton molded in.

Sides near cuff pivot are stiffened with additional plastic exoskeleton molded in. I’m disappointed with this instep buckle location. Nearly guaranteed it’ll open up during extreme maneuvers or post holing. Procline is better in this regard as it locates the buckle on top of your instep, out of the way. Word from on high is that buckles that close directly over your instep somehow produce more uncomfortable pressure than those that close to the side. In my view, that’s an engineering and boot fitting problem, not an inviolate principle of physics, and can thus be dealt with. Truth, I was surprised to see this buckle location. I guess the Salomon boot designers have never rappelled with a boot that opened in the middle of a 50 meter cliff.

Zee liner, is, zee liner.

Zee liner, is, zee liner. Mostly standard stuff. Same type of foam as Intuition (use same forming heat), nice lacing system that pulls tight and wraps around at cuff to hook-loop anchor. Best feature? Soft articulated patch behind your Achilles tendon, yielding less interference with cuff pivot during walking. Any ski shoe that claims to be a ‘touring boot’ needs this feature.

X-Alp interior gaiter.

X-Alp interior gaiter.

One other thing on the technical side. Salomon claims their formulation of Grilamid plastic is “best ever” for punching. It’s said to “shrink back” the least. My theory with heat punching Grilamid is that thoroughly heating it (by using heated mandrel as well as not blasting with heat gun) as well as leaving on press for at least ten minutes, along with cooling, takes care of noticeable shrinking of the punch. But better plastic, if that’s so, is welcome.

Okay, all that techie pro con yammering aside, how did they ski? Salomon hosted a nice press event to introduce their full X-Alp touring line. We spent a night in Silverton, Colorado listening to the party line and baking liners, then we headed up to what might is clearly the best full-service mountain hut in Colorado and perhaps in the United States. Opus Hutte. More later on that. Thoughts of the moment are yes folks this boot is downright excellent. In classic rando mode I buckled the X-Alp to my downhill settings, then released the cuff latch and toured. Downhill? I simply reached down, snapped the lean lock, and off I went making thousands of turns (if you were there, you understand). Using a boot that way is the end-goal of good design.

Stiffness? No problema. Know that any boot that doesn’t use overlap cuff type construction can actually be made so stiff, it’s too stiff. Trick is tuning flex. Easy to do with overlap. Harder to do with a “tongue” boot such as X-Alp, that depends on spine stiffness and a certain amount of lower cuff bulge to provide more than the feeling of skiing in cement filled buckets.

Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised at the flex of these shoes. I’m a unique tester, in that my left fused ankle needs a boot with quite the strong forward-rear flex stiffness, while my right foot likes a boot with some cuff movement. Bottom line, I could tune X-Alp to either foot and they worked well respectively.

As always, some of you will gently (ever so gently) inquire as to last width. That’s defined in the industry as interior width in millimeters at the widest part of the shell forefoot area, shell size 27. Salomon told me these are a “98” last. Since I have a size 28 shell I can’t get you a “last” number here in the WildSnow studio. But I can say these are not particularly narrow boots, nor are they sloppy. For me, they’re nearly perfect and the size 28 requires only a moderate shell punch at my forefoot. Interestingly, in nearly all other ski boots I need a shell that’s one step below the size 28, to provide a snug shell-fit at my ankle. In the X-Alp a 27 shell was clearly too small, and the ankle area feels perfect with the 28. Thus, it could be said this boot “runs small.” Keep that in mind if you’re evaluating for purchase.

X-Alp Salomon boot weights:
My 28/28.5 shell is BSL 305mm and 1006 grams (no liner)
Liner is 274 grams with stock footbed.
Total weight, my 28/28.5 is thus 1280 grams (45 ounces)

MTN binding is quite similar to Atomic Backland we covered last year.

MTN binding is quite similar (or perhaps identical to new model) to Atomic Backland we covered last year. Word inside is they didn’t officially sell this binding in the U.S. last season because it didn’t have an available brake. I’m not sure if that’s the whole story, but at any rate the Salomon MTN version will be available in North America after it goes to retail next fall, while I’d imagine the Atomic Backland version might be available earlier, perhaps even this winter. Perusal of etailers will tell the tale. I’m fascinated by how tightly engineered the heel unit of this binding is. A U-shaped spring is swapped in to create different release tension levels, and the spring provides both rotation and upward (vertical) release rather than two separate springs as with most tech bindings. Even more unique, the spring housing rotates independent of the heel lifters. To be clear, the heel lifters do NOT rotate, they only flip.

Our group of North American gear testers found it quite funny that Salomon is calling their choices in brake spring tension options as “Man, Woman, Expert.” We’ll leave the 57 different gender riffs you can do on that verbiage up to your imagination. It had to be mentioned or I’m not a blogger.

MTN binding with heel unit rotated to heel-flat-on-ski position.

MTN binding with heel unit rotated to heel-flat-on-ski position. Brake is retracted and clipped to upward stowed position by flipping the obvious flange on top of the brake.

MTN binding with brake deployed for downhill. Clip flange is flipped forward. This "seperated" method of brake stowage, as opposed to efforts made by other brands to integrate brake retraction with heel unit, is what I'd like to see all tech binding makers use. Getting fancy with integrated brake retraction systems has been a huge distraction in the industry. Get over it. A vast number of people ski without brakes, anyhow. Indeed, how easily a binding brake can be removed is perhaps the number one brake "feature" on our list. Easy installation is number two.

MTN binding with brake deployed for downhill. Clip flange is flipped forward. This “separated” method of brake stowage, as opposed to efforts made by other brands to integrate brake retraction with heel unit, is what I’d like to see all tech binding makers use. Getting fancy with integrated brake retraction systems has been a huge distraction in the industry. Get over it. A vast number of people ski without brakes, anyhow. Indeed, how easily a binding brake can be removed is perhaps the number one brake “feature” on our list. Easy installation is number two. Both features present here.

MTN binding configured without brake.

MTN binding configured without brake. As with Atomic version, the screw holes pattern at toe is wide. Heel shown here utilizes the “Expert” heel spring, which is neither male nor female, or so I was told (smile). Boot length adjustment range is 3 centimeters.

This brake design is clever, in that acquiring a ski touring binding TUV certification to DIN/ISO norm requires a brake system that can’t be retracted (stowed) while you are in alpine mode — ostensibly to prevent mistakes or deliberate skiing without a functional brake. I’m told this is the main reason we have the sordid history of tech binding brakes that have gone through multiple problematic iterations. The clever part is this. Salomon simply shaped the holding latch on their brake, when in the uphill (stowed) position, to prevent your being able to click into the heel and use the binding for the downhill. While the Atomic-Salomon Backland-MTN binding is not TUV certified, we suspect the plan might be to use this brake on other projects that might be going for a certification. An insider in Chamonix got me thinking about this, as he’d seen something interesting getting tested.

Official PR, edited for brevity and clarity:

Salomon Unveils New Adventure Touring Product Line

ANNECY, FRANCE — When the products in Salomon’s new adventure ski touring range reach retailers in the fall of 2017, they will already have been tested and validated in some of the planet’s more challenging mountain locations: Le Nant Blanc/La Verte above Chamonix, the Matterhorn, and Mount Everest to name just a few.

The 2017-2018 S/LAB X Alp (WildSnow note, we’re spelling it X-Alp) range of adventure touring products (available fall of 2017) features a new ski boot, ski, and apparel range created specifically for the body movements of touring. Goal is to build future technologies that are lightweight, deliver safety and performance going uphill and down…

In the case of the S/LAB X Alp touring ski boot ($1,000), Salomon athletes took their testing mission to the extreme. Freeride skiers/mountaineers Tony Lamiche and Alex Pittin used their prototype boots to ski La Nan Blanc/La Verte in Chamonix, a face that had been skied just three times in history. On the women’s side, Liv Sansoz climbed and skied the Matterhorn in the S/LAB X Alp boots. And Kilian Jornet took the X Alp boots to Everest and spent his “play” days climbing and skiing on the world’s highest mountain (WildSnow note: anything Kilian uses for playing around on Mount Everest perks our curiosity, even his socks).

X Alp boot features a unique 3D rotating cuff that provides lateral range of motion (WildSnow: what we’d call “ankle roll”), making both skin climbing and working without skis much more ergonomic and downright comfortable. To deliver downhill performance, Salomon engineers used a construction that has been proven in the MTN and QST Pro boot concepts. A carbon cuff-spine for rearward support and adequately stiff Grilamid shell do the job. The S/ LAB X Alp boot is also lightweight. At 1,150kg on each foot (size 27), you won’t be waste energy hauling extra mass.

The S/Lab X Alp Ski (Wild-note: sold with or without Pomoca sourced skins) is designed for adventure touring aficionados who seek a ski with reliability, stability and strength. At 80mm at the waist, it weighs just 980 grams and was developed in close partnership with Kilian Jornet. Layers of carbon, fiberglass and the all-natural flax fiber are positioned in just the right areas to provide superior strength-to-weight ratio and a supple yet supportive flex (WildSnow note: we agree, for this small a plank these ski surprisingly well). The reinforced binding zone has a Titanium insert and a fiber layer on top to deliver reliable mount strength.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


46 Responses to “Salomon X-Alp Ski Touring Boot, Skis, MTN Binding — 2017-2018”

  1. Rod Georgiu December 23rd, 2016 10:04 am

    Thread hijack.

    I have palau liners in my bd boots and they come with laces. What’s the advantage of using the laces?.

    I tried them with laces and without, and I’m not sure I can tell the difference.

  2. Eric Steig December 23rd, 2016 10:38 am

    Two questions for you, Lou.

    1) Is it your impression that that new brake would work with existing (already on skis) Atomic Backland / Salomon MTN bindings?

    2) It’s neat the heel lifters rotate separately from the binding itself, but does this not risk autoroation of the heel-lifters while on side hills?

  3. Lou Dawson 2 December 23rd, 2016 10:54 am

    Eric, the beauty of is is the heel lifter part does NOT rotate! It’s the part below the lifters that rotates. A video would be good, let’s see if Salomon publishes something…

    I don’t have an opportunity for direct comparison of the bindings to figure out if brake can be fitted to last season Backland/MTN, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was so. I’ll ask. It really is a wonderful way of doing a brake. Much simpler than the extraordinary effort folks such as G3 and Dynafit have gone through to make their brakes work in concert with the heel unit. I’ve many times mentioned the concept of divorcing the brake from the rest of the binding, but just got blank stares. Plum did do it, theirs always looked pretty good as well.

    What’s also cool about these divorced brake systems is sooner or later one will perhaps be appropriate for retrofitting to any binding.


  4. Eric Steig December 23rd, 2016 11:04 am

    >>> the beauty of is is the heel lifter part does NOT rotate!

    That is very cool. True also on the current-generation Backland/MTN I guess?

  5. Lou Dawson 2 December 23rd, 2016 12:26 pm

    Yes, Backland is same in terms of heel unit rotation, spring swapping, etc.

    ALSO, yes, brake is backward compatible with last season Backland!

    This is overall an excellent situation.


  6. ratatouille December 23rd, 2016 1:02 pm

    According to the 3D drawing, they still have this silly notch at the top of the crampon attachment. This makes installing/removing crampons with skis on impossible. The crampons can also get jammed if they just move slightly to the side while in the upmost position — just outright dangerous.

    I tried contacting Salomon’s design department about it but wasn’t allowed to talk to them. Everyone else at Salomon I was able to talk to told me that crampons “worked just fine” with this binding.

    Other than the color change (blue instead of yellow/gold) and the break I can see now other changes to last year’s version, judging by the pictures.

  7. Ted December 23rd, 2016 3:39 pm

    The X Alp Ski 80 mm looks similar to Atomic Ultimate 78. Same ski?

  8. atfred December 23rd, 2016 6:01 pm

    Yeah Lou, 80 mm – back to the future.

    Every spring in prep for my euro ski tour, I ponder whether to bring my 97 chams (great in deep snow, more work traversing slick skin tracks) vs my 87 chams ( ok in deep snow, easier in the track). Then, I remember skiing my first haute route twelve years ago on volkl snow wolfs – 76 under foot.

    Ski conditions have not changed; we have!!

  9. Pablo December 23rd, 2016 6:27 pm

    Eric, Bindings are the same as current ones, and yes, brakes can be instaled in current bindings. brakes are already on sale in europe:
    Last week I mounted a pair of them on an already mounted MTN binding.

  10. Lou Dawson 2 December 23rd, 2016 6:41 pm

    Hi Ted, agree it could be the same ski. We need to wait till the retail ones come out then compare. Happy to relay the information here once we know for sure. Wouldn’t be the first time skis are different only in the graphics… Lou

  11. dirk December 24th, 2016 4:29 am

    Could you mount the brakes under Dynafit speedlite (first generation)

  12. manfred December 24th, 2016 11:09 am

    wow Lou…..I am so stoked!
    an old boot, an old binding, and an old ski….and all of them next year will come with the salomon S-Lab logo!
    that’s so rad!!!!!!!!!!!!
    thank you….now I know what to ask Santa for next xmas

  13. Brent MacGregor December 25th, 2016 3:29 am

    See this new gear in action used by Kilian Jornet in this video. Certainly the new boots and what look like the skis but with different branding on the top sheet.

    If I buy the stuff will it make me as fast as him? ?

  14. Jürgen December 25th, 2016 5:24 am

    Is it right that the stopper unit could be married with any low tech heel unit as long as I got the mounting pattern dialed in ?

  15. Jamie December 25th, 2016 8:46 am

    European style hut touring, that’s a stretch.

  16. Lou Dawson 2 December 25th, 2016 9:39 am

    Hey all, Merry Christmas!

    As for this Salomon post, I may be a mouth breathing gear blogger, as admitted in the first sentence, but I think I was clear enough about the boot being quite similar to Procline, the binding being similar or same as Atomic Backland, and the ski being an unknown since it was probably not a retail version and I don’t have a pair to compare, anyhow. After all, I’m perfectly aware that both companies are intertwined under same ownership. Until I have the binding here in my studio I won’t know if it’s an exact clone or not, so in my opinion it’s fair in this blog post to treat it as I did. But apologies for any confusion, like I said before, wouldn’t be the first time I get taken in by industry hype, this time while drugged on powder at Opus hut (smile).

    All that said, I’ll go back through the post and in the interest of clarity do a few small edits so we don’t mislead anyone as the weeks and months progress up to launch date for this stuff, which is fall 2017. Meanwhile, the binding is definitely similar or identical to Atomic Backland, which we have liked from the start. The new brake is cool, but with so many people preferring to tour without brakes it could be more a matter of conversation than anything important.

    As for fitting the new brake to other bindings, we’re going to make it work for that when we get our hands on some. I don’t see why doing so would be very difficult, though it might require making a mount plate.

    As for Opus, be as cynical as you want, but it’s cool and it’s indeed “European style” without the crowds. One has to admire what owner Bob Kingsley has accomplished up there. In our region’s harsh anti-development atmosphere, reflected in ever more restrictive land use codes that favor energy hog mansions but put the nix on backcountry projects, it could not have been easy.


  17. Pablo December 25th, 2016 4:06 pm

    Hi, I’ve mounted some Salomon brakes this week, so I can tell you that pairing with a tlt binding heel is, if not impossible, very very difficult.

    The brake’s base is made of soft plastic and needs of the binding’s metal heel piece to work. So, pairing with another binding’s heel piece may be not just a matter of pattern.

  18. Jürgen December 26th, 2016 6:47 am

    thanks Pablo to destroy my hope ;-))

  19. Lou 2 December 26th, 2016 7:34 am

    Pablo, as mentioned before, I think using the Backland-MTN brake without binding will require a mounting plate. I know just the guy for the job. I’ll get on it over the next few days. Should be fun. Lou

  20. Pablo December 26th, 2016 1:06 pm

    Yeah Lou,
    A metal plate with the exact dimensions of the MTN/Backland heel’s base (simulating that binding base)with a compatible patern holes for other binding should work,

    It may be not so dificult fot race type heels but for others MTN/Backland has a narrower base son it could be imposible to make that plate.

    As I say it will be very difficult.
    Hope your guy (B&D?)can find the right measures!!

  21. Mark January 4th, 2017 2:24 pm

    Hi Lou, in your Salomon X-Alp post you mentioned your fused left ankle; I have osteoarthritis in my ankle and the consensus recommendation is a fusion, which I have resisted because I assumed that lack of flex would end my backcountry skiing. Do you have any comments you could share, privately if you want, so I can get on the same page as my doctor? Thanks

  22. Lou Dawson 2 January 4th, 2017 2:47 pm

    Complete fusion or partial? Mine is partial, nearly complete, just a tiny bit of movement. I know a few other people with various stages of fusion. The word is that it’s not a big deal going downhill, but once you have complete fusion the uphill is more difficult until you play around with boot and binding mods that help with adjusting to slope angle in a more fine grained fashion.

    I’d recommend doing what the doctor suggests. Your ankle will fuse anyway, due to the arthritis, but the process will be way more painful and long lasting than the surgery recovery period (which isn’t short, but it’s not insurmountable.)

    Elective amputation and use of a high-tech prosthesis is also actually a totally reasonable option to explore. My doc told me it’s not unusual for fused ankles to be such a hassle, and sometimes have continued pain, that people opt just to chop the thing off (smile). He wasn’t sure about using prosthesis for downhill skiing, but he was very familiar with the running “feet” that are amazing.

    Oh, and BTW, a very rigid ski boot in downhill mode helps with the pain, X-Alp is quite rigid but still light. I’ve used mine quite a bit, though I have not completed a final fitting so I drop back to my other boots as well. Eventually I might be using the X-Alp as my daily driver, unless something else comes along (which happens, as you can imagine).


  23. Lou Dawson 2 January 5th, 2017 11:58 am

    Regarding the S-Lab X-Alp ski I blogged about above ( 164 cm, radius 17 m, 113-79-99), PR folks assure us that it is NOT a re-badge of an Atomic Backland UL 78 in similar sidecut.

    While the claimed weight of both skis is the same, 980 grams, Salomon tells me the X-Alp uses flax fibers and other construction ingredients that differentiate, as well as indeed differing in shape.

    Sounds reasonable, we’ll get some here and evaluate further.


  24. Some Boot Guy January 5th, 2017 12:03 pm

    Hey Lou,

    Long time reader, first time commenter. Glad you were able to bring us a heads up on this boot, it’s looking like a great replacement for my current touring boots and basically like exactly what I’ve been hoping for from the somewhat recent entry into the touring world made by major ski/boot manufacturers. Frankly, I’m hoping to see Atomic bring some heat with a more alpine/inbounds oriented version of this boot (WTR sole w/ tech inserts, etc) but that’s besides the point.

    Your thoughts on heating and punching Grilamid plastics are what made me comment. Having worked with everything from World Cup level race boots to kids boots, your thoughts on thoroughly and carefully heating Grilamid and slowly punching it with a heated mandrel are pretty much bang-on. Hot water baths worked well for me in the past but since getting my hands on Nordica’s infrared boot heating system I’ve used nothing but. The ability to gently and quickly thoroughly heat any plastic has made it a priceless tool for me and others. And yes, any comparable infrared lamp will work, just set a timer and be sure to keep an eye on it. Check it out, Nordica’s website has a section on it.

  25. Lou Dawson 2 January 5th, 2017 12:06 pm

    Thanks for the comment Boot Guy! I’ll check out the heater… Lou

  26. Some Boot Guy January 5th, 2017 2:03 pm

    Should have mentioned that the suction pump for punching is a mostly hit/miss, only works consistently with Nordica boots, and seems to exist solely for shops that don’t really fit boots to use for spot punchesb. It’s really the infrared heat that matters here.

  27. chrisL January 24th, 2017 8:24 pm

    Lou, you mention these being more of a pure ski touring boot vs. the Procline. Any estimate of how much better they ski or how much stiffer they are?

  28. GMD January 28th, 2017 9:29 am

    Would anyone have the weight on the brake? Also does the AFD interface on the brake allow for better heel/edge transmission??

  29. Lou Dawson 2 January 28th, 2017 9:53 am

    Chris, exactly 12.56934 percent stiffer (smile). Seriously, noticeable but not incredibly stiffer.

    GMD, my 80 mm Salomon Mountain brakes appear to add 97 grams to the weight per binding, it’s difficult to give an exact weight for the brake because it includes a base plate that’s partially compensated for in weight by removing the non-brake base plate. I’d say as a rule of thumb, just figure the brakes in various widths add “100 grams” to the weight of the binding system, per ski. Good for a brake this robust with such a nice retraction-lock system.

    As for the brake AFD acting as a stomp block type thing, nope, the boot heel still rests on the binding heel pins, as with any other classic tech binding. Perhaps the spring loading of the brake actuator pad under your boot heel would support/transmit a bit more “force” but it would be imperceptible to anyone but an Austrian World Cup Team racer in their prime.


  30. chrisL January 28th, 2017 11:51 am

    Guess I asked for that one! Thanks Lou

  31. Lou Dawson 2 January 28th, 2017 12:08 pm

    Chris, they also ski 14.4449980 percent better (smile). Lou

  32. joel January 28th, 2017 3:41 pm

    Hey, whats the length inside the shell of your size 28 in cm

  33. GMD January 28th, 2017 7:20 pm

    Thanks Lou. That is what I thought on the AFD. Until next year.

  34. Lou Dawson 2 January 29th, 2017 8:58 am

    GMD and all, if you want full-on heel contact power that’ll be the Tecton, TR2, Kingpin. Forget trying to imagine you can get that from classic tech bindings. Of course, most people including myself do just fine on classic tech bindings… though I’d imagine at least one set of Tecton will be in my quiver and all my alpine bindings will be divested (smile). Lou

  35. GMD February 3rd, 2017 12:32 pm

    Thanks one more quick question then I am all set. Not to worry ALL Alpine bindings have been raftered quite some time ago 🙂 Anyone have ramp angle on the MTN? Also has anyone spent some time in the ATK Freeraider 12 or 14? Looks like a solid comparison to the MTN??

  36. David February 18th, 2017 9:45 am

    Any thoughts on X-Alp boots versus the current MTN Lab boots. Is the X-Alp a replacement or do these two boots fit into different uses?

  37. Lou Dawson 2 February 18th, 2017 11:06 am
  38. Mike March 14th, 2017 5:30 am

    Hey guys where i can Buy a pair of the Salomon MTN Brakes?
    And did somebody know when the new MTN in Blue (like on the the Pictures) is available??

  39. Lou 2 March 14th, 2017 7:06 am

    Mike, this coming fall of 2017 they’ll be fully in the retail pipeline. Reps might have a few if you can get an inside line. I’m a big fan of these things. Having a brake that doesn’t depend on funky little mechanical catches and gizmos for retraction in touring mode is like drinking cabernet out of a water glass, it’s not fancy, it just works.

  40. stephen June 13th, 2017 1:27 am

    Thanks for this Lou. I’d been hoping Salomon might make a lighter/less stiff AT boot, and your comments on fit make me think these will be the answer. I’m wearing Salomon for everyday use, hiking and XC skiing now, so these are welcome. Now if they’d just make telemark boots (sorry) and cycling shoes I could stick with them for everything and know things should fit!

  41. Scott September 22nd, 2017 11:31 am

    Any idea if the Marker Kingpin heel adaptor will get the X-Alp into the Kingpins?

  42. Mike October 28th, 2017 1:43 pm

    Hello, love your website! Does this new version with brakes still have the same ramp angle as the non brake version from last year?

  43. Lou Dawson 2 October 28th, 2017 8:43 pm

    Same ramp in downhill mode, I recall a bit higher heel when flat on ski touring. Lou

  44. Roli November 23rd, 2017 3:09 am

    Hi Lou, I had actual a Atomic Backland Light 27/27,5 .
    It fits good,
    What Salomon S/LAB X Alp would fit?
    Also a 27,5 ?

  45. Eric Steig February 1st, 2018 1:53 pm

    Hey Lou, you really ought to update your Atomic Backland / Salomon MTN binding FAQs pages. You don’t mention anywhere that they are designed for the Plum crampons. At least the Salomon version is.* It also fits Dyanfit/ATK, etc., but Plum is better!

    Salomon doesn’t advertise this very well but they are made in the same part of France as Plum is. This is a great feature, that I was delighted to discover only after I bought them.

    **I assume this is true for Backland. I have not checked.

  46. Eric R April 30th, 2018 1:12 am

    Hi Lou,

    I’m planning to upgrade to the X-Alp S/lab boot from my original (orange) Scarpa Maestrale’s. Do you or anyone here dare to offer me an approximate flex rating for the X-Alp s/lab boot? Or a flex comparison to the Maestrale? Either would be greatly appreciated. I have tried the Procline on and loved the narrow fit, especially the ankle hold. I am assuming (and hoping) sizing will be similar to the Procline.

    Thank you for your excellent reviews.

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