Test Skiing with SCARPA and G3 — Part 1: New Maestrale Boots


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 17, 2017      

G3 and SCARPA invited me to try their new skis and boots during a day of snowcat skiing on natural snow near Park City, Utah. The area has been getting pounded by precip this year — we enjoyed marvelous conditions.

I tested SCARPA Maestrale RS boots and G3 SENDr skis. We used the same kit all day; I thus got a good feel for the skis and boots. That being said, it’s tough to thoroughly evaluate anything in only one day. So we’ll be doing a long term test of both skis and boots throughout this winter. For this post I’ll focus on the new boots from SCARPA. Tomorrow I’ll cover the G3 skis.

Kim Miller, CEO of SCARPA North America, drops into beautiful powder in the Uinta mountains.

Kim Miller, CEO of SCARPA North America, drops into beautiful powder in the Uinta mountains.

Sunny pow on our last run.

Sunny pow on our last run.

SCARPA’s venerable Maestrale boots are well tested here at Wildsnow; I’ve been skiing in them for years. I started using the original orange boot shortly after it was released, and the Maestrale RS has been my go-to all around touring boot for several years. Although the boots are already some of the best out there, there is always room for improvement. I love it when gear companies upgrade good products rather than resting on their laurels, or going back to the drawing board in the name of being “new.”

New Maestrale RS boot. They put it on a diet and a workout plan, it got results.

New Maestrale RS boot. They put it on a diet and workout plan. The results are beautiful.

The new Gea (blue) and Maestrale (orange) boots.

The new Gea (blue, women’s) and Maestrale (orange, men’s) boots.

Light utah powder.

“Boot testing”, a hard day’s work.

The redesigned Maestrale boots have several welcome improvements. Upper and lower shells are entirely new; the plastic shaping shaves a bit of weight, and also increases stiffness.

The lean-lock mechanism is changed to be similar to the external type currently used on the SCARPA Alien and F1. This type of lean lock is lighter, and allows less friction in tour mode. It also increases the range of motion from 37 degrees to 60 degrees. (Here at WildSnow we’re not quite sure why so many boot companies have struggled for so long with internal lean lock machinery, it seems prone to failure both from icing as well as manufacturing problems.)

As far as I could tell, the rearward range of motion is now limited by the liner and how much your ankle can flex, rather than the shell (shouldn’t all ski touring boots be that way?). The forward motion feels similar to the old boot. It seems to be just as solid and stiff in ski mode as the old mechanism.

The new external lean lock only has one lock angle of 16° (fine adjustable on the workbench +/- 2°), as opposed to the old, which had two fixed angles of 16° and 20° with no fine adjustment.

The old side-hinge tongue is gone, in favor of a simpler attached version with bolts where the hinges were. The new tongue is also split in the middle, similar to tongues on SCARPA boots such as the Spirit. The warranty department at SCARPA is reportedly overjoyed that they will no longer have to repair tongue hinges. As for us consumers, we liked the ease of entry created by the hinged tongue (when used correctly), but we’ve struggled with broken hinges so we’re fine with this change.

The other major change is that the lowest buckle is eliminated, and the forefoot of the boot is tightened via one buckle connected to an equalized cable system. This is welcome. The front buckle on my old Maestrales didn’t do much except come loose and get caught on stuff.

(A certain skier sometimes known as “His Blogness” is known for removing what he calls the “vestigial buckle” from various 4-buckle boots, and thus receiving disdainful looks from boot designers who’ve spent literally years of their lives figuring out excuses for having 4 buckles. Perhaps those old boot designers retired or something?)

The top buckle is changed slightly, but is effectively the same.

The liner for the boots is redesigned. It is still an Intution thermo-moldable liner (the best, IMHO), but it’s slightly stiffer, with fewer seams in the toe area for increased warmth and comfort.

The RS boots get carbon fiber reinforcements in the lower shell of the boot. The reinforcement made of “Grilamid LFT”, a form of LFT plastic that infuses “long strand” carbon fibers directly into the Grilamid plastic. In an AT boot much of the flex comes from the lower shell flexing, so this increases the stiffness significantly, and reduces weight. RS Maestrale and RS Gea is about 5.5 oz lighter (161 grams) per boot. Way to go SCARPA.

These changes have been implemented in all Maestrale models: Maestale, Maestrale RS, and women’s Gea, Gea RS.

Interestingly, one effect of these redesigns is to make the “normal” Maestrale and RS boot lines much more similar. They are almost identical in weight; only 10 grams difference per boot. They have the same number of buckles, and the same range of motion in tour mode. The only difference is the negligible weight and the flex.

This is good news. Customers can now choose based on downhill performance, much like they do with alpine boots. That’s how it should be! Imagine a world where all AT boots were super-light and toured like tennis shoes, and one could choose solely based on how they felt on the down; wouldn’t that be incredible?

I use a current SCARPA Maestrale for much of my skiing, and used my old boots the day before the test day, so it was fairly easy to compare the two. We spent the day skiing eight good runs. The snow conditions were mostly fast, boot-top powder, but also a bit of wind-board and chundery cat road. We didn’t do any hiking, so I only was able to test the downhill performance of the boot, not the walk mode. Hard work, but someone had to do it.

(FYI: I was skiing on G3’s new SENDr ski, in a 186 length. The SENDr is stiff, and was a good ski to test a stiff boot like the Maestrale RS.)

The first thing I noticed when putting on the boots was the new buckles. The forefoot buckle works really well, and is a big improvement over the old dual buckles.

The forefoot felt nice and snug, and the cable system tightens down evenly, with no pressure points.

The fixed tongue makes the boot slightly harder to get into than the old Maestrales. Increased rear range of motion partially makes up for this; I found it necessary to put the boots in tour mode to put them on. I envision them being somewhat difficult to enter in cold temperatures (those choosing boots for expedition use should note this), although not nearly as bad as an overlap boot. However, I broke several of the old tongue hinges throughout my years of Maestrale use, and the new, simpler attached design is clearly an improvement.

The boots skied well. They felt very similar to my old Maestrale RS boots. The increased stiffness wasn’t immediately apparent, mostly due to the good snow and mellow terrain we were skiing. However, I could feel the stiffness when we skied that chundery snowcat road. Further testing in various conditions, as well as side-by side with the old RS, will be more telling regarding the stiffness. I did release the walk mode a few times — it was fine. The increased range of motion is apparent, especially with the boots unbuckled a bit.

The new boots have improvements in several areas, with no compromises compared to the previous version of the Maestrale series. Well done. We’ll be, of course, evaluating them long term this winter. Here are detailed photos of the boots from the Outdoor Retailer show:

The new Maestrale has an impressive amount of range of motion in tour mode.

The new Maestrale has an impressive amount of range of motion in tour mode.

The reinforced LFT plastic (black) extends under the entire length of the boot. This photo is taken looking down at the inside of the boot shell, the toe of the boot is towards the top of the photo.

The reinforced LFT plastic (black) extends under the entire length of the boot. This photo is taken looking down at the inside of the boot shell. The toe of the boot is towards the top of the photo.

Lean lock mechanism is essentially the same as the one used on the lighter boots in SCARPA's line. Trickle down bootnomics works.

Lean lock mechanism is essentially the same as the one used on the lighter boots in SCARPA’s line. Trickle down bootnomics works.

New forefoot buckle. I'm glad SCARPA got over the "it  needs four buckles" nonsense.

New forefoot buckle. I’m glad SCARPA got over the “it needs four buckles” nonsense.

Another new boot from Scarpa for next season: the Alien RS. An updated Alien with LFT reinforced grillamid throughout.  I tried them on quickly; more stiff than the curent alien, but a bit soft for my taste.

Another new boot from Scarpa for next season: the Alien RS. An updated Alien with LFT reinforced grillamid throughout. I tried them on quickly; more stiff than the current alien, but a bit soft for my taste.

Specs from SCARPA, for further nerding out:

Maestrale:
Size: 24.5 – 32 (half sizes)
Weight: 1400g (one boot, size 27) (old version: 1510g)
Last: 101mm
Flex: 110
Forward lean: 16° +/- 2°
Range of motion: 60°
MSRP: $695

Maestrale RS:
Size: 24.5 – 32 (half sizes)
Weight: 1410g (one boot, size 27) (old version 1571g)
Last: 101mm
Flex: 125
Forward lean: 16° +/- 2°
Range of motion: 60°
MSRP: $795

Gea:
Size: 22.5 – 27 (half sizes)
Weight: 1250g (one boot, size 25)
Last: 101mm
Flex: 110
Forward lean: 14° +/- 2°
Range of motion: 60°
MSRP: $695

Gea RS:
Size: 22.5 – 27 (half sizes)
Weight: 1260g (one boot, size 25)
Last: 101mm
Flex: 125
Forward lean: 16° +/- 2°
Range of motion: 60°
MSRP: $795

Alien RS:
Weight: 850g (one boot, size 27)
Forward lean: 9° and 13°
Range of motion: 60°
MSRP: $870

Available fall 2017.



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Comments

106 Responses to “Test Skiing with SCARPA and G3 — Part 1: New Maestrale Boots”

  1. XXX_er January 17th, 2017 9:31 am

    does it fit exactly the same as the old Maestrale RS ?

  2. Louie III January 17th, 2017 11:09 am

    According to Scarpa, the shell has the same fit. The liner is slightly different, however (different thicknesses of foam in some areas). Once the liner is molded it should fit the same. I was using a new liner that we thermo molded the night before. It felt basically the same as my current Maestrales. We’ll confirm this once we get a pair for longer term testing.

  3. Lisa Dawson January 17th, 2017 11:33 am

    Hi XXXer,
    As Louie mentioned, the fit in real life is the same.

    I asked SCARPA insiders and they said, “The fit of the new Maestrale/Gea is very similar to the previous Maestrale/Gea. But, not “exactly the same” because the upper cuff and lower of the new Maestrale and Gea are injected in new molds that were created for the new boot platform. That said, like the old version, they both have a 101 forefoot last, and a medium volume fit.”

  4. MIke January 17th, 2017 12:22 pm

    L3, I think I read once your inbounds boots are full tilts? if so do you think the maestrale rs could replace them and be a one boot quiver?

  5. MIke January 17th, 2017 12:26 pm

    Also, did you get to check out the new alien rs? heard there were some changes to that boot

  6. Paddy January 17th, 2017 12:28 pm

    Kind of hoping that a future part of this is a test of the new Alien RS. Lighter than an F1 evo, race-level walk mode, and just as stiff (stiffer?) than the F1.

  7. Scott January 17th, 2017 12:31 pm

    Mike –

    Definitely! I have been skiing the RS as my inbounds boot, 50+ days a year, for three years now. It is perfect! So can easily be a one boot quiver.

  8. MIke January 17th, 2017 12:39 pm

    Thanks Scott, how’s the wear on the tread after 3 seasons?

    L3, any chance the sole is replaceable on the new maestrales? Kinda a bummer to have to replace your boot if you blow out your sole. Cool of Scott to have solved this on the new S1.

  9. Gary January 17th, 2017 1:38 pm

    Will the boot sole length be the same? Hoping I wont have to remount bindings.

    FYI-I have 200+days on the Mastrale RS for resort and backcountry. About 50% each. Excellent performance and durability. Rubber on the toe is wearing but not worn out. Replaced some buckles and bolts but overall in great condition.

  10. Aaron January 17th, 2017 2:18 pm

    I’m part way through my F1 lean lock mod to lower it from 20 deg….why 16 on these and not lower on F1?

  11. Travis January 17th, 2017 2:45 pm

    WANT! These boots are just what I am looking for. Very excited about the lock mechanism, from the looks of it looks bomber. Boot innovation is on a roll right now! I am amped!

  12. Louie Dawson 3 January 17th, 2017 4:41 pm

    I did get a look at the Alien RS, and tried them on quickly. They are stiffer than the Alien, but still fairly soft. A bit too soft for me, but we’ll have some other WildSnow folks testing them this winter. I’ll update the post with a photo of the Alien RS.

    No replaceable sole on the Maestrale. Those increase the weight of boots significantly (although the new Scotts might be an exception), so I’m fine with them leaving them off.

    I think it’s possible to use the new Maestrales as a one boot quiver, however they still don’t have as nice of a flex as a full-on alpine boot. Also, they are only slightly stiffer than the old Maestrales (120 vs 125 nominally). I still prefer my Full Tilts for their flex and stiffness.

    I believe the BSL is the same for the new boots, or at least within a few mm.

  13. MIke January 17th, 2017 4:53 pm

    Thanks L3!
    Any way you can call up Dalbello and get a pair of the new 17/18 Lupo factory to test? 1460 g w.o. tongue/ 1650 with, 60 degrees rom. That could be the boot for us 3 piecer’s!

  14. MIke January 17th, 2017 4:57 pm

    Better yet y’all seem to have some pull in the industry. Could you call up K2 and have them make a Full Tilt that tours!

  15. Louie Dawson 3 January 17th, 2017 5:38 pm

    Mike – I agree! those Dalbello boots look sweet. We have a pair on the way for testing this winter. I think they could be a good burly boot.

  16. Ted January 17th, 2017 9:23 pm

    Does the middle buckle fold up out of the way when released or hang out to the side?
    Big issue for me in hiking and not wanting vulnerable parts in the way!

  17. Scott Mellin January 17th, 2017 9:25 pm

    I think that for those of us that have skied the Alien 1.0 for years now, the Alien RS is the answer we all looked for. An 800g boot with race-boot like ROM and fully-sealed. I could spend the rest of life in the Alien 1.0 as it skis and skins like no other. But the thought of no snow/ice inside the shell after a 7-10 hour day is enough to move me to the Alien RS. Cheers Scarpa!

  18. Brad January 17th, 2017 9:32 pm

    In one picture I saw of the new Maestrale and the RS, it looked like the RS had a noticably taller cuff. Would you say that was the case? Or possibly I was just looking at two different sizes?

  19. Scott Mellin January 17th, 2017 9:38 pm

    I tried on the new Alien RS at the OR Demo after stepping directly out of my Alien 1.0’s. The cuff is taller by about 2cm. You mostly feel it in the back versus the front. But the new liner is so thin it’s less obvious than it would seem. It felt solid and secure.

  20. etto January 18th, 2017 3:25 am

    New RS looks sweet! Never wrong to shave off weight and have the same performance 🙂 But commending Scarpa for not making a new boot but improving the old? There’s a lot of changes, and if Lisa’s comment about new molds is true.. It is basically a new boot, just with the same name (and colours).

    Will be very interesting to get to know how it tours, the old RS has way too much friction in my opinion, and the stiff tongue of the liner is not very comfortable.

  21. Matt January 18th, 2017 7:39 am

    Hi Louie,

    Do the maestrale and maestrale rs keep the cuff alignment bolt at the ankle or have thet done away with it?

    thks!

    M

  22. AndyDangerous January 18th, 2017 8:08 am

    Coming from a skimo fast and light background, I’ve wondered for years how the old Maestrale was so popular given the lack of ankle articulation. I imagine they were starting to lose out to offerings from Dynafit and La Sportiva. That said, this new version of the boot looks like a great option for all-around ski touring!

  23. WestonD January 18th, 2017 8:30 am

    Rad skiing with you Louie, hopefully we get to do it again sometime!

  24. Eric Steig January 18th, 2017 8:31 am

    Any updates to the F1?

  25. Lou Dawson 2 January 18th, 2017 8:41 am

    Andy, I think the deal with Maestrale was it peaked during a time when there were fewer boots that had huge articulation, also, it was kind of a “perfect storm” of a boot. Scarpa relaxed fit in the forefoot, good feel while skiing down, Intuition liner, Scarpa brand and support, more. Style and expectations in ski touring are going through a period of rapid change, fun to be part of, but a little crazy at the moment! Lou

  26. benwls January 18th, 2017 9:26 am

    If you completely undo the top buckle on Maestrales the articulation is more than enough for skinning flats. In my opinion, Scarpa boots tend to be less flashy/elegant than Dynafit and now La Sportiva. They may not feel as stiff in the store. They don’t sacrifice function for a few grams or a sleek look. But they just work. They fit more people. They ski better. The liners are far superior. And they’re cheaper.

    It’s great to have more options and competition than ever. But I trust Scarpa more than others to create simple, practical ski touring boots. F1 Evo was a disappointing departure from this model. Luckily the new F1 is back on track.

  27. benwls January 18th, 2017 9:28 am

    Aaron, I’d love to see your F1 mod. I’d also like a slightly more upright stance.

  28. Pete H January 18th, 2017 9:39 am

    I just learned last summer Scarpa means “boot” in Italian. So if youre skiing with Scarpa boots, you ski on boot boots.

  29. Slim January 18th, 2017 10:11 am

    I know almost nothing about ski mechanics/technique.
    Do most people prefer the more upright ~16degree angle vs the more forward 20degree angle the old Maestrale RS offered?

    What’s are the pros/cons of more or less forward lean?

    I ask because I have the old RS and ski them in the forward position, but not for any real good reason.

  30. Brandon January 18th, 2017 10:12 am

    Is that a ski leash attachment on the left hand-side in the image of the Maestrale RS forefoot buckle? Looks to be replaceable as well in the event it gets ripped off?

  31. Lisa Dawson January 18th, 2017 11:29 am

    Gary,
    The boot sole length is the same as the previous Maestrales.

  32. Brad Fowler January 18th, 2017 11:37 am

    Bit of a nagging detail question L3, but does the velcro of the power strap have the hooks on the outside of strap (i.e. the part you pull back over to lock it down) or on the inside? The reason I ask is my one niggle with the Maestrale RS’s I currently ski is that when touring, having loosened the power strap, it exposes the velcro hooks on the inside strap (the velcro loops are on the outside strap) which then annoyingly grab the backside fuzz of my windbreaker ski pants.

  33. Lisa Dawson January 18th, 2017 11:38 am

    Pete H,

    Funny that scarpa means boot!

    I heard it’s an acronym and that’s why the company capitalizes it.

    Back in the 1930’s, Lord Rupert Edward Cecil Guinness, of beer and world record book fame, owned land near Asolo, Italy. To help the poor shoemakers of the area (and to ensure nice footware for himself), he put together SCARPA as a consortium of cobblers: Società Calzaturiera Asolana Riunita Pedemontana Anonima (translates as Associated Shoe Manufacturing Company of the Asolo Mountain Area).

    At age 11, Luigi Parisotto started working as a shoemaker trainee. In 1956 he and his two brothers bought SCARPA. When Lou and I visited the SCARPA factory a few years ago, Luigi, then in his eighties, still worked at the factory every day, with a watchful eye for quality control. He died recently and the company continues to be owned by the Parisotto family.

  34. Aaron January 18th, 2017 11:48 am

    benwls, linked is a Google Photo album with photos and comments of the process. Turned out to be very easy. Have not skied them yet but boot testing seems perfect. Scarpa could easily modify the fitting to make this easier, or include more holes and let users move the pin. Popping the pin out was very easy.

    https://goo.gl/photos/TFDKHk3u81hyCxqcA

  35. nicola January 18th, 2017 11:52 am

    Scarpa does not exactly mean “boot”; rather “shoe”; in Italian boot is either “scarpone” (i.e. big “scarpa”) which is used for ski boot or mountaineering boot or “stivale” (which is used for, for instance, for the horse riding boots and to describe the form of Italy on the map).

  36. Lisa Dawson January 18th, 2017 12:08 pm

    Thanks Nicola!

  37. Anonymous January 18th, 2017 12:13 pm

    Scarpa is clearly RESTING ON LAURELS with regards to their Telemark boot line. We haven’t seen an improvement for over ten years now if I’m not mistaken. Cuff ROM isn’t the best, bellows are too soft both in TX Pro and TX Comp, and weight isn’t getting lighter either.

    Only thing they _did_ to their NTN line is they REMOVED A FEATURE from TX Pro – that is, removed heel TLT fittings. Makes no sense to me, as for example Meidjo has optional Alpin Heel for quite some time, as did some other lesser-known brand (forgot its name). Besides, I used to test some friend’s skis mounted with Dynafits while wearing my old TX Pros; guess when those will fall apart, I’ll continue to do so, only in Crispi plastic. :\

  38. Louie III January 18th, 2017 12:18 pm

    Ted – the middle and top buckles fold out of the way when they are released, so they are low profile when loosened for touring.

    The cuff heights looked the same on both boots, from what I can remember.

    Although the molds are new for the new boots, they use the same overall design, similar buckle configuration, etc. They really are an update to the old Maestrale, where they kept what worked well with the old boots, and improved what they could. This is opposed to starting with an entire new design from the ground up, as some companies are prone to try, when making new gear. It’s tempting to be drawn to entirely new gear, but often the updated designs are more reliable, and don’t have unforeseen problems like entirely new designs sometimes do.

    I prefer the more upright stance in most boots, including the current Maestrale. I find my legs get more tired when I have a more extreme forward lean

    There is a little metal loop for ski leashes attached at the bottom of the tongue. Nice touch. It appears to be repairable and removable as well, since the fasteners holding the tongue on are removable.

    Not sure about the velcro orientation on the power strap. We’ll check that out once we get a pair for testing.

  39. benwls January 18th, 2017 12:20 pm

    Thanks Aaron. I’m going to ski mine for a few more days, but that looks like what I need.

    Pins are simply hammered back into the new hole?

    Please report back after you’ve skied them.

  40. Louie III January 18th, 2017 12:24 pm

    As far as the popularity of Maestrale vs the lighter skimo style touring boots of recent years. Lots of people can make lighter boots work well for everyday skiing, but many can’t. I have TLT 6 boots that I ski quite a bit in the spring, they are stiff, but the flex on those things is so abrupt and weird that I feel like they really affect my skiing on bigger skis and at higher speeds. Many people (including me), especially in north america, enjoy the downhill aspect of backcountry skiing enough to sacrifice a bit of speed on the uphill for more fun on the down.

    I’ve lost count of the amount of people I see flailing in the backseat of their little skimo race boots in the backcountry. However, I’ve also seen people who rip harder than I ever will on big skis and tiny boots. To each their own.

  41. Louie III January 18th, 2017 12:25 pm

    Nice job on the F1 lean lock mod. That looks like it will work really well.

  42. Pete H January 18th, 2017 1:14 pm

    Ha. Thanks Nicole and Lisa for the info. So SCARPA then is quite a clever acronym with a double meaning.

  43. Bob Coleman January 18th, 2017 1:59 pm

    I have the white and black RS’s, and now a new pair of F1s. I see some F1 in the new RS, good on SCARPA. Wildsnow told me the new F1s ski well, and they are right. I was thinking of getting an inbounds set up then realized the RSs can’t be beat anyway. Maybe next year for me and the new RS.

  44. Aaron January 18th, 2017 2:17 pm

    Yes, pins are hammered back in hole but…the head needs a ~half width stepped shoulder wider than the main hole. The pin flares slightly, then the head is slightly wider yet. I used 5/32 for main hole and 11/64 for stepped shoulder. Definitely a drill press job ( I have a cheap one with a fair bit of runout, still was fine). Worth test drilling some scrap aluminum and jigging up the position so it does not change/move.

  45. Aaron January 18th, 2017 2:19 pm

    Should have added: you can see the stepped shoulder in one of the photos.

  46. Lou Dawson 2 January 18th, 2017 2:41 pm

    Nice work Aaron, it’s mystifying as to why boot companies don’t provide more customization in cuff angle. Perhaps most customers simply never think about it or feel they need it. Lou

  47. See January 18th, 2017 6:40 pm

    Given the variation in binding ramp angle, the lack of adjustable lean is beyond mystifying, in my opinion it’s ridiculous. I think I’m pretty adaptable, but the lack of adjustable lean is really annoying, especially when switching among skis with different bindings.

  48. See January 18th, 2017 6:44 pm

    (Oh, and Louie… That’s some fine photography and reviewing. Thanks.)

  49. Drew Tabke January 18th, 2017 7:29 pm

    So which boot will you mainly be skiing this winter, Louie?

    Myself personally, I’m experimenting with some electromagnetic nanotube adhesives allowing my hightop approach shoes to bond to a pair of binding-less skis, both in flat-sole and toe-only orientations, as well as shape memory polymer socks with an appx. 120 flex when activated.

  50. Gustav Olin January 19th, 2017 4:55 am

    101mm last for a womens boot is just insane, WTF! that’s just crazy.
    I don’t like this thing boot manufacturers do now with boots so wide a lot of people don’t need any boot fitting for room any more. But it just means a lot of people have way to much room. I know there are different brands with different lasts but come on.

  51. Brian January 19th, 2017 7:30 am

    Looks like a smart upgrade to the boot line for Scarpa. Would have liked to see a little more attention on boot fitting/adjustments in regards to shell fit (i.e. Technica, atomic, Fischer) but such is life.

    The soles look more low profile then previous generations, maybe less aggressive lugs? Is it the pictures or does the rocker not look as extreme as before? This could be good for those looking for the one boot quiver as I know the rocker/sole was an issue with WTR/MNC type bindings. Maybe an issue with durability if the sole is thinner

  52. benwls January 19th, 2017 9:37 am

    Brian, I had to use a razor blade to trim the lugs under the toe fittings on my older Maestrale RS’s to eliminate interference with Kingpins. Perhaps Scarpa is paying more attention to how their soles interface with a variety of bindings.

  53. Brad Fowler January 19th, 2017 9:43 am

    Thanks Louie for the detailed info! I appreciate that my question was a bit of a detail that can be in due course, so no worries. Looking forward to hearing more about the boot as you ski them!

    On my existing Maestrale RS’ I’ve been debating looking for a power strap from an Arc’teryx Procline, or the newer Dynafits. I like the camming strap with the easy open feature, this would do away with my minor velcro issue. Any leads on where I could get one of these power straps to frankenboot my RS’? Thanks.

  54. Lou Dawson 2 January 19th, 2017 9:47 am

    Personally, for a real ski mountaineering boot I’d rather start with thick soles, and do a bit of trimming to get them perfect for a given binding. Just like with skis, the factory tune might not be the one, and so on… Lou

  55. See January 19th, 2017 9:58 am

    Re. Memory fit, Vacuum fit: I can see how it might work for some people with narrow/low volume feet, but does bake and squeeze shell fitting work well for people with high volume feet who normally require a big first metatarsal/sixth toe/navicular/ankle punch, or for people with narrow feet who need some additional length, without resorting to traditional fitting techniques? Does the plastic in those boots provide good stiffness and durability as well as being easily moldable?

  56. Greg January 19th, 2017 11:31 am

    Brad F. check skimo.com. They have Dynafit boot parts.

  57. See January 19th, 2017 1:20 pm

    Brad, you could also put a piece of loop side velcro over the exposed hook portion, or try these http://boosterstrap.com/ .

  58. Brad Fowler January 19th, 2017 1:27 pm

    Thanks both Greg and See for the suggestions.

  59. Dave E January 19th, 2017 5:26 pm

    Hey Louie(s) and Scott Mellin,

    When you guys are referring to the Alien RS being a little stiffer than the Alien, are you referring to the Alien or the Alien 1.0?

    I’m with Scott on the Alien 1.0 being pretty much the end-all for 90% of my skiing, but something a little stiffer and just as light? Sign me up. So long as it has one-lever transitioning, no fussy power-straps and what looks like – is it really, could it be, a non-bikini liner so that my friends don’t get to laugh at me as I squirm out of my boots at the end of the day? (actually, I drive home in them and take them off in privacy where no one can laugh at me)

  60. Lou Dawson 2 January 19th, 2017 5:37 pm

    Hi Dave, that’s a good suggestion. I’ll see if Louie can go back through and do some edits. I have mixed feelings about naming ski boots like they are software, but some kind of differentiation needs to occur, so I guess Alien 3.34982 will be okay when it comes along (smile). Lou

  61. Louie III January 19th, 2017 6:49 pm

    I was referring to the Alien. I haven’t tried on the Alien 1.0 recently, so I can’t really compare them.

  62. Scott Mellin January 19th, 2017 7:53 pm

    HI Dave E.

    We are kindred spirits. I love my Alien 1.0’s and they are the boot I use 100% of the time. The new Alien RS uses the same lever system to transition from Ski to Walk. Is super easy to get into and out of. Is fully sealed. And uses a more traditional liner, versus the Intuition sock of the 1.0. I feel like it has more friction in the ROM thus feeling a bit stiffer in walk mode. I did not ski it yet, so I cannot speak for the downhill performance.

    I also drive everywhere in my 1.0’s.

  63. James Fuller January 20th, 2017 3:25 am

    No more 33?
    My sasquatchian feet feel left out

  64. Travis January 20th, 2017 9:10 am

    And here I was just going to go buy a new pair of boots most likely the current Maestrale RS or MTN Lab based on what fit better. It sounds like this boot is defiantly enough of an upgrade to wait until they come out in the fall to make my choice.

    I hear the current Maestrale RS compare to the MTN Lab, so what is your opinion on the new model RS vs. the MTN Lab? Plus points for much larger ROM and bigger weight savings?

  65. Louie III January 20th, 2017 4:04 pm

    According to the Scarpa website the current Maestrale only goes to size 32, but size 33 seems to be available at some online stores. The size 32 I quoted up above comes from Scarpas press release about the boots. I’ll ask them to confirm.

    I haven’t skied the MTN Lab, but I have heard they ski a bit better than the Maestrale. Not sure how the stiffness of the new Maestrale will change that. I’ll keep that in mind when I am reviewing them in more detail. Certainly, as you said, less weight and more ROM from the new Maestrale RS. Fit is the most important, as always.

  66. Aaron January 23rd, 2017 11:22 am

    Ski tested the F1 modification yesterday and it worked just fine. My old skiing style came back and I didn’t feel like a flailing intermediate on the breakable crust!

  67. Sam F January 25th, 2017 7:12 am

    Louie how would compare it to the vulcan CF im currently skiing? Frankly I find it very stiff with the toungue to the point that it seems to move the flex point much lower in the boot than is normal. Without the tungue is better but with negative effects to the fit of the boot.

  68. Rob January 28th, 2017 12:42 pm

    I like the ease of entry on my RS, kinda bummed if it’s a bit more difficult now, but I understand if so many people had problems with hinges. Also, I always ski them in the more forward lean mode and all the people I’ve asked do the same. If it has micro adjustment of +/- 2 deg the difference should be only 2 deg, right? 18 vs 20?This is probably my next boot. My RS have had about 150 days and probably another 50 to go.

  69. Louie III January 30th, 2017 4:47 pm

    The max forward lean for the new boots is 18, while the old Maestrale RS had forward lean of 20, so they will be 2 degrees less forward lean if you are used to skiing the current Maestrale RS in the max forward lean mode. Not a big deal probably, if it is, I wouldn’t be surprised if they could be modded for more forward lean.

    Compared to the Vulcan CF the new boot is probably fairly similar. In My opinion the Vulcan was stiffer than the current Maestrale RS More skiing is needed to evaluate the stiffness and how it skis fully.

    As for the sizing, I got a response from Scarpa: For Fall 17, the Maestrale family boots will go to 32. After year one, they will assess market demand for larger (and smaller) sizes. The 33 shell of the previous Maestrale was added a year or two after the boots were introduced.

  70. Matt February 3rd, 2017 6:27 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Will a cuf alignment bolt be included as per the old maestrale rs?

    Yhks,

    Matt

  71. Mike February 6th, 2017 9:22 pm

    the stated weights of the 17-18 Dalbello Lupo Factory is down to 1450g with out the tongue. Thats lighter than the vulcan by a 100ish grams. Pretty much the same as these Maestrales reviewed above. Impressive stuff. To me I’d take a 3 piece boot over the bump stop, on off flex of a boot like the vulcan, maestrale any day. But that is me. Pretty awesome time we live in with so many great choices.

  72. benwls February 6th, 2017 9:31 pm

    ^^^^ Maestrale RS’s are a 3 piece boot, and they don’t have the same on-off feeling as Vulcans.

  73. Lou 2 February 6th, 2017 10:55 pm

    Matt, I made a point of checking up on that here in Munich, nope, no cuff alignment rivet. If you have average to smaller tibia, just glue high density foam to the side of the liner cuff to move your leg over. That’s what I do most of the time now, since most of our test boots don’t have “cant” rivets. That said, the Scarpa cuff pivots are said to be easy to remove, by heating to break the thread locker. An aftermarket solution could perhaps then be easily installed. Lou

  74. Mike February 7th, 2017 12:42 pm

    Benwls – I took a look at the 2018 RS a few months ago and it still has bump stops on the lower that the cuff hits to create stiffness. The vulcan series of boots used the same thing (The vulcan had them bolted to the carbon cuff, the mercury/neo had them molded into the plastic cuff. The current Maestrale also uses this design) . I’ve found it creates a pretty weird flex compared to a true 3 piece (raichle/dalbello). Kind of like a overlap masquerading as a 3 piece.

  75. Jason K February 13th, 2017 3:52 pm

    Regarding the Alien RS, I had a chance to demo it for a few days (have a family connection at SCARPA) , and I’m quite blown away. I skied it on a 178 blizzard zerog 85. Anybody who skied in CO the last few days knows that conditions got a bit funky, and the boot handled everything beautifully. I skied a couple couloirs, a day of awful isothermal mank, some pleasant but variable dust on crust touring, and a skin lap at abasin. For me, it addressed and exceeded expectations on every complaint i had for the alien and alien 1.0.

    Fit: Tight before molding, but now feel good. A bit narrower than A1.0. Fit with the boa direct on liner feels amazing and gives much better heel hold than boa-on-tongue like the previous aliens.

    Liner: Seems like a nice improvement over the regular alien liner. Foam molded well. Walk articulation is well placed.

    Mounting BSL: slightly longer than 27 alien. Closer to F1.

    Walk mode: I notice no significant difference versus the A1.0. I’d say walk mode is less restricted than standard alien with the rubber gasket. Walk mode is correspondingly better than the F1. I have to tape my heels for the A1.0 with sock liner, I felt no hot spots in RS.

    Transition: exactly like A1.0 – i.e. very good.

    Skiing: extremely impressed. It is hard to describe, but they feel more substantial than a A1.0. It might be a fit thing, but they ski much better for me. The flex feels more natural and progressive than A1.0. Overall stiffness is similar to A1.0 and remarkably close to F1. The 4 cords across the cuff do a great job distributing load. The stiffness depends a lot on how tight one gets the cords. This was the case on the regular alien, but less so on the A1.0. I’m not big on flex ratings, so I’ll just base my assessment on how hard I think I can ski a boot relative to my ability. If Freedom SL is 9.5/10, maestrale RS is 9/10, F1 8/10, Alien RS 7.5/10, A1.0 6.5/10, Alien 5/10. RS could move up a bit in this ranking after more time.

    Beyond the skiing and touring ability, the fact that boots end the day totally dry is a major bonus.

    Overall, I’ll probably keep racing in the A1.0 just because of the weight savings, although I want to do some tests on how much water weight the A1.0 liner picks up during a typical race. If that balances out the weight difference to RS, I’d just race the RS on all long courses and maybe even short courses because it skis so well and seems friendlier on my heels. I will ski the RS pretty exclusively for mountaineering and many lighter powder days. I’ll keep the F1 in the rotation on deeper powder days for now, but if RS keeps proving itself, it might steal that slot too.

  76. Scott Mellin February 13th, 2017 4:14 pm

    Nice recap Jason K! I only got one run on a pair at the SIA demo but was equally impressed with skiability and fit of the RS. Cheers.

  77. Jason McNeil February 21st, 2017 2:12 pm

    Hey there, Kind of curious to your thoughts on the new maestrale/gea. My wife currently skis the geas although she is having issues with the one line as the tongue folds upon itself while touring thus creating a hot spot, we are toying between the idea of grabbing some intuition pro tours and putting them in her old boots or just buying the new geas for the start of the next season. We figure that selling the old boots which are in great shape(minus the liner issues, which may not bug some people) for a couple hundred dollars and saving the 250 it would cost for new liners the new boots are a lot easier to justify due to the decreased cost difference. Just deciding if the new range of motion and decreased weight (and the fact that the boots are new) is worth the extra money. Thoughts? Personally I splitboard in tlt6s and love the increased range of motion but I have no experience with pro tour liners myself either. Thanks

  78. Lou Dawson 2 February 21st, 2017 2:40 pm

    Hi Jason, I’d just go for the new boots! Anyone else want to chime in? Lou

  79. FREDERICK J LARKE February 21st, 2017 3:30 pm

    I’d say if the old shells work well, then just change the liner. New boots may have a different set of problems, and used boots are not that easy to sell (my experience).

  80. Bar Barrique February 21st, 2017 9:38 pm

    Personally; I would want to investigate why your (Jason)’s wife is having a “hot spot” related to the boot tongue while touring. The first thing that comes to mind is; is she sufficiently releasing the buckle/strap over the instep when touring. This is a popular boot, and, if there is a design issue, it should show up in reviews online.
    A new liner may not solve the problem, and, new boots of a similar design may not provide a solution.

    Good Luck;

    Bar

  81. Jason McNeil February 21st, 2017 10:39 pm

    Its kind of strange actually, she actually demoed a pair of boots the year that she bought them, when she returned and was going to buy the rentals we noticed that the liners were torn in the ones she was wearing so we bought the Geas in her size that were in the best shape. Little did we know that there is something wrong with the left boot. It is actually visible without her foot in the boot. When you hold both liners not in the boot the one tongue sits about 1.5” lower than the other, no idea why. This has happened for a couple years but her days have gotten longer and longer and increased in frequency so the fact that she has to keep pulling on the tongue loop has become increasingly annoying. The other boot feels perfect apparently as did the original rentals. Shells are still in great shape as she avoids bootpacking at all costs haha. She actually leaves the instep buckles open on the uphill and the downhill. She only uses the two top buckles (the ratchet and the top cuff buckle) as well as the power strap. We were measuring her feet today for a new liner, we are just deciding which liner to get if thats the way we decide to go, her shell fit is just shy of 2” of space barefoot near the heel. Just very torn as the new boots look very nice and come with new liners and new features while these shells are in great shape and new liners if fit properly could go back to almost brand new.

  82. See February 22nd, 2017 7:42 am

    Maybe try rebaking (thermo molding) the bad liner?

  83. Bar Barrique February 22nd, 2017 9:18 pm

    Jason; If you choose to replace the liners, I would advise speaking to the company who’s liners you would use, as, they should have experience with this boot model. Intuition liner folks are very helpful if that is the route that you choose.
    On the other hand Scarpa is updating the Maestrale\Gea model for next year, so a half price sale might be coming soon

  84. Louie III March 11th, 2017 7:11 pm

    Brad,

    Just got our long-term test boots here. The Velcro is indeed the same as the old orientation. The hook surface of the Velcro is facing out, so it will catch on the inside of pants.

    I love booster straps, but they are so darn heavy. I wish someone made a lighter version, similar to what is on TLT6 or Procline boots.

  85. Brad Fowler March 16th, 2017 9:54 am

    Thanks Louie! That’s still a pita then. I’ve been looking at buying a TLT6 strap and will probably pull the trigger on one. My pants are starting to get really thin from the velcro savaging.

  86. AC March 18th, 2017 8:39 am

    Same BSL would be nice. I wonder if I could go from old Maestrale to new RS without remounting.

  87. Lou Dawson 2 March 18th, 2017 8:55 am

    AC, I doubt you’d have to remount the bindings, but it depends on binding model and how the mount interacts with existing boots, whether it’s got some adjustment range remaining or is jammed to max or min boot length adjustment. If the BSL changed for a given size between old Maestrale and new, I’d imagine it’s just a few mm. Lou

  88. AC March 18th, 2017 10:07 am

    Ok. I’m getting some Marker Kingpins soon. Do you know how those could do for slightly different BSL? I like the idea of getting the new, stiffer RS. Maybe remount would be necessary. I guess we’ll see.

  89. Lou Dawson 2 March 18th, 2017 2:49 pm

    AC, no comprendo, if you’re placing different bindings on a ski that’s not a remount and you can put the binding nearly anywhere you want. Are you mounting the bindings yourself? A competent shop can pull your existing bindings and tell you in 5 minutes if your new boot-binding combo has a chance of working. If they’re really good, they can do this without even pulling the older bindings. But they need the skis there to look at, as what’s being examined is how the boot will match up to factory recommended boot position on the ski. Lou

  90. AC March 18th, 2017 11:28 pm

    I meant that I’m getting these Kingpins and I plan to use them for the rest of this year. Then in the future I might want the new RS, so if there is a slightly different BSL, then maybe it would be necessary to remount the Kingpins if they say so. I will have a shop do it.

  91. Lou Dawson 2 March 19th, 2017 7:17 am

    Ok AC, sure, I think you’ll be fine. Lou

  92. Peter March 31st, 2017 7:40 am

    Hi Lou,
    Do you already have an Alien RS? Could you do a detailed review on that boot, and maybe compare it to next season’s Atomic Backland Ultimate, and/or existing race boots?
    Peter

  93. See April 5th, 2017 7:47 am

    Thanks for the preview of the new Maestrales. Any idea if the canting cuff pivot from older Scarpas can be swapped for the new, non-canting pivot?

  94. Derek April 13th, 2017 1:13 pm

    Hi Lou,

    I was speaking to a guide who’s been testing the new Maestrales all season and raves about them – reckons they’ve made some small but really worthwhile improvements. He also felt they were a little wider in fitting which was main interest to me and reason for my post. I’ve small, wide feel with high instep and the only boot I can find that fits comfortably is the Scott cosmos. However, I’m now on my second pair and have just returned from a tour with two broken boots again – both won’t stay in downhill bode and another broken buckle. I’m neither tall nor heavy (75Kg) and at over 60 not hucking cliffs or bombing like a racer. Have you any suggestions for a more reliable boot that fits similar to the Cosmos? Anything suggested would be most helpful as I’m getting desperate.

  95. Lou Dawson 2 April 13th, 2017 6:58 pm

    Derek, I think the Cosmos 3 will have all the bugs worked out. On the other hand, it does sound like the Maestrale will be good, and I’d think you could get a fit. Lou

  96. Derek April 14th, 2017 3:19 am

    Hi Lou …. just read your review on the Cosmos 3 and that eases my mind a lot. Will take on board your comment on new Maestrale though, problem will be finding dealer that has a mondo 25.5 in stock for me to try. At least I know fit and function of Cosmos so can risk buying that off web and getting local dealer to fit.

    Much appreciate your feedback – it’s put my mind at ease re next season. Cheers.

  97. Lou Dawson 2 April 14th, 2017 6:26 am

    Derek, it’s pretty trivial to buy a pair mail order and return if the fit is wrong, is it not? On the other hand, if a brick-mortar retailer can give you a decent deal then please by all means support them — if they have your size, anyway… Lou

  98. Justin April 25th, 2017 4:39 pm

    That’s pretty impressive rearward cuff range of motion… But what about forward range of motion, does the tongue limit that?

  99. Lou Dawson 2 April 26th, 2017 8:27 am

    Justin, the tongue does limit things, depends on how the buckles are configured, the size of your leg, your style of striding. Best is a two piece tongue that hinges in touring mode and somehow locks together in downhill ski mode, but the Maestrale does work, it’s probably the best selling ski touring boot of all time. Lou

  100. benwls April 26th, 2017 8:45 pm

    Anyone know the BSL for a size 27 Alien RS?

  101. Bergschrund September 19th, 2017 11:35 pm

    Any general suggestions on how to choose between the Maestrale and Maestrale RS version based on flex? Seems like most people think stiffer is generally better, but I worry about the comfort aspect around being in the boot all day. I’m looking to get a pair as my quiver-of-one boot. (Upgrading from a Scarpa Spirit 4)

  102. Lou Dawson 2 September 21st, 2017 11:41 am

    Berg, I’d go for the latest, it it fixes some problems with previous Meastrale and Louie told me they toured just fine. He tested the latest last winter, had to send them back due to a pre-production issue, and our real-world use review got delayed. He’s working on a review. They are cool boots — I wish the naming wasn’t so confusing. But I guess a “Ferrari” is sometimes just a “Ferrari.” Lou

  103. Rob Marchetti January 18th, 2018 6:29 am

    186 cm skiis Lou WTH?

  104. Ricardo H March 15th, 2018 3:26 pm

    One of my ski companions bought the new orange Maestrales in late January.

    Yesterday, skiing Courmayeur in mild weather the shell of one boot split from just below the leash attachment rivet, almost to the boot sole. A two inch + gaping hole.

    The boots had done approximately 35 days.

    Luckily the boots were purchased in Chamonix and the shop replaced with brand new and no quibbles. We are due to leave on the Albula tour on Saturday. Had the failure occurred in 3/4 days he would have been buggered.

  105. Lou Dawson 2 March 15th, 2018 4:55 pm

    Sounds like a good ski shop. Go ahead and name names. Lou

  106. Ricardo H March 16th, 2018 12:41 am

    Certainly Lou

    The shop in question was Footworks, directly opposite the Aiguille du Midi lift. No quibble, new boots and molded inners supplied within an hour.





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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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