Salomon X-Alp Boot Fitting and Mods

Post by blogger | January 6, 2017      
In the ring press, room for the mets.

In the ring press, making room for the mets. Immediately obvious I didn’t need the normal Grilamid heating procedure. Not sure exactly what temperature was best, but it didn’t seem critical so long as I was conservative.

I’m liking the Salomon X-Alp ski touring boot. It’s noticeably light in weight, tours well, and is remarkably stiff. Salomon told me the shell plastic is easy to heat mold. I needed room for my metatarsals, so into the press they went. Yep, incredibly easy to punch out. You could almost do it with a gloved finger pressing on the inside of the shell. Suspicion: this is likely the same plastic as the Atomic Backland and other boots with Memoryfit, as the plastic heat formed at a much lower temperature than I’m used to with normal Grilamid or PU boots.

Just for grins, I added a quick release pull to the power strap buckle.

Just for grins, I added a quick release pull to the power strap buckle.

Release string installed. Red makes it easier to keep untangled, not sure why OEM on other brands and models is black.

Release string installed. Red makes it easier to keep untangled, not sure why OEM on other brands and models is black.

I sometimes entirely remove the power strap from my touring boots. Depends on the unique feel and performance of a given ski boot combined with a given leg shape and skier style. With X-Alp I’m finding I prefer having the power strap. Perhaps because of how it integrates with the “rolling” spoiler (the parts that allow rolling ankle movement in touring mode).

Upper buckle ladder was easy to move for my skinny leg bones.

Upper buckle ladder was easy to move for my skinny leg bones.

The cuff flaps eat your hands like weasel teeth, I jigged them out with a perfectly sized roll of tape.

The cuff flaps eat your hands like wolverine teeth, I jigged them out with a perfectly sized roll of tape, heat gunned, and thus opened up the weasel jaws to a more ‘comfortable’ configuration while entering and exiting the boot.

Notes: X-Alp is of course nearly the same boot as Arcteryx Procline. It’s stiffer, and easier to press mold due to having no rubber laminated to it. It won’t be in retail until fall of 2017, but I figured we might as well get our work with the X-Alp boot into the public sphere, for reference as the year progresses. I’ve been in the boot quite a few days, beginning with a press trip in Colorado this past December.

In terms of quickie review, I can easily say X-Alp skis stiff, with the rigid feel we expect from a non-overlap shell. The black color creates noticeable solar heating — nice in winter, could be uncomfortable in spring. The “ankle roll” spoiler system does feel good in touring mode and makes planting your climbing skins on the track a more intuitive act, but I don’t feel the rolling action offers any advantage in sidehilling with skins. As with other boots made with easily molded shell plastic such as Atomic and Fischer, ability to heavily customize the fit might be the best feature of X-Alp. Indeed, one wonders if all ski touring boots will boast these “lower softening temperature” plastics within a year or two. They’re sure fun to play with.

If I do more work on the X-Alp boots I’ll add a photos and comments here.


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15 Responses to “Salomon X-Alp Boot Fitting and Mods”

  1. GeorgeT January 7th, 2017 7:09 am

    Lou: Can the Dynafit TLT6 performance cuff flaps be opened up like the X-Alps? I lose knuckle flesh removing and inserting my liners.

  2. Lou2 January 7th, 2017 8:15 am

    George, yes, bring them by sometime and I’ll fix them with you, just takes ten minutes. It’s a nice mod. We don’t open them much, the photo exaggerates the amount. Lou

  3. Dave Johnson January 7th, 2017 10:09 am

    How are they on the downhill? Compare to the old Green Machine’s, for instance.
    Wondering how they’d drive a DPS Wailer 112 through heavier Sierra snow.

  4. Paul January 9th, 2017 7:24 am

    Completely off topic, but does anyone know where I can order the upgraded ski//walk mechanism for the Maestrale RS? I’m in Canada and the Scarpa website only has options for $100(!!) FedEx shipping. Yeah, $100, for an envelope.

  5. Lou Dawson 2 January 9th, 2017 8:26 am

    Paul, what I’d advise is to work through a dealer, a good one will be happy to get contact from someone they can possibly add to their customer base. Lou

  6. Scott January 9th, 2017 10:30 am

    Paul –

    I would call Scarpa and talk to customer service. They were vey helpful with me in getting two sets of the updated mechanisms.

  7. cam January 9th, 2017 1:54 pm

    on really firm side hills, do you think the ankle mobility would hinder someone trying to hold an edge?

  8. Lou Dawson 2 January 9th, 2017 3:53 pm

    Cam, it’s not much movement, somewhat subtle, and it can be reduced by tightening the power strap. Similar to how you can tune the side flex of a regular boot in touring mode simply by how tight it’s buckled.

    I like it, mostly because it makes flat skinning feel slightly more ergonomic.


  9. Paul January 11th, 2017 9:39 am

    Phoned Scarpa direct. They were great. Thanks gents.

  10. Wookie1974 January 17th, 2017 7:46 am

    These look like contenders. I’m a huge fan of the Dynafit fit – but I guess when I check out some new boots, I’ll at least try these as well. (scarpas are too wide) I barely even punch TLTs.

  11. Lou Dawson 2 January 17th, 2017 10:55 am

    Hi Wookie, definitely give the X-Alp a carpet try at your local shop, I’d like to know how the factory fit is for your narrow feet. If necessary, don’t hesitate to try a downsize so you get narrow width, a toe punch for a bit of extra length would be easy, the plastic is crazy easy to mold. Lou

  12. joel January 26th, 2017 1:52 am

    Hey, what is the boot length inside the shell for your size 28?

  13. justin October 1st, 2017 12:11 pm

    How do these compare to the Scarpa F1 in terms of fit and flex?

  14. CB October 12th, 2018 3:21 pm

    Hi Lou, thanks for the write up! Given the easily moldable shell on the x-alp, do you think there is any possibility of adding just a tiny bit of height on the instep? I know this can be a difficult adjustment, but It’d be nice if I had just a tiny more instep height in these for my average-ish instep feet. Thanks!

  15. JD December 19th, 2018 7:01 am

    Am I the only one that thinks the X-alp is not that stiff? I love it on the up and think its very nice on the down as well, with a nice and even flex. But I can sure enought flex through it.

    I feel loike my old TLT5P with a Booster was much stiffer, althoguth at bit more hars-flexing. The X-alp of course is lightyears ahead on the ascent.

    Any ideas on how to mod the X-Alp for stiffer flex?

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